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Man on a Tightrope

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Director  Elia Kazan
Music director  Franz Waxman
Language  English
7/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
Cinematography  Georg Krause
Country  United States
Man on a Tightrope movie poster
Release date  June 29, 1953 (1953-06-29) (West Germany)
Based on  Man on a Tightrope: The Short Novel (1953)  by Neil Paterson
Writer  Neil Paterson (story), Robert E. Sherwood
Cast  Fredric March (Karel Cernik), Terry Moore (Tereza Cernik), Gloria Grahame (Zama Cernik), Cameron Mitchell (Joe Vosdek), Adolphe Menjou (Fesker)
Similar movies  Related Elia Kazan movies

Man on a tightrope 1953 full movie

Man on a Tightrope is a 1953 American film directed by Elia Kazan, starring Fredric March, Terry Moore and Gloria Grahame. It was entered into the 3rd Berlin International Film Festival. The screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood was based on a 1952 novel of the same title by Neil Paterson. Paterson based his true story, which first appeared as the magazine novelette International Incident, on the escape of the Circus Brumbach from East Germany in 1950. Members of the Circus Brumbach appeared in the film version in both character roles and as extras.


Man on a Tightrope movie scenes

Gloria grahame in man on a tightrope 1953


Man on a Tightrope wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters6160p6160p

In 1952 Czechoslovakia, circus man Karel Cernik (Fredric March) struggles to keep together his beloved Cirkus Cernik, which belonged to his family before being nationalized by the Communist government. The government allows Cernik to manage the circus, but he grapples with deteriorating conditions in the circus, loss of his workers to the state, and tension with his willful daughter Tereza (Terry Moore) and his young second wife Zama (Gloria Grahame), whom everyone suspects of being unfaithful. Cernik wants to end a budding romance between Tereza and roustabout Joe Vosdek (Cameron Mitchell), who has been with the circus for only a year.

Man on a Tightrope Man on a Tightrope Wikipedia

Cernik is interrogated at the headquarters of the S.N.B. state security in Pilzen on why he is not performing the Marxist propaganda acts dictated by the government. Cernik explains that the skits were not funny, and that audiences prefer his usual act. The S.N.B. chief (John Dehner) orders him to resume the required act, and to dismiss a longtime trouper who calls herself "The Duchess." Propaganda minister Fesker (Adolphe Menjou) casually asks him about a radio in his trailer, alerting Cernik to a spy in his midst. Cernik is fined and released, although Fesker believes that he is a threat to the state.

Man on a Tightrope Man on a Tightrope 1953 Elia Kazan Lasso The Movies

Cernik, inspired by a recent spate of escapes from behind the Iron Curtain, has decided to escape over the border to Bavaria. Cernik suspects that Joe is the spy, but unknown to him, Tereza has learned that Joe is actually a deserter from the American Army who is planning an escape attempt of his own. Cernik's longtime rival Barovik visits and reveals that he knows of the escape plan. Barovik assures Cernik that because they are both circus men, that he will not betray him. Cernik agrees to leave behind most of his equipment for Barovik. Realizing that he must act swiftly, Cernik discovers that Krofta (Richard Boone), who has worked for Cernik for twenty years, is actually the spy. Cernik ties up Krofta but is confronted by Fesker about a travel permit, which he issues to catch Cernik in the act of trying to escape. Fesker is about to pursue the circus when he is arrested by a commissar sergeant for issuing the travel permit.

Man on a Tightrope Man on a Tightrope 1953

Joe reveals himself to Cernik, who incorporates him into the plan. At the border crossing, Krofta escapes, but is stopped by Cernik from warning the border guards. In the fracas Krofta mortally wounds him. Using an audacious and violent dash across the only bridge, most of the circus safely escape only to be told that Cernik has paid with his life. Obeying his dying wish, Zama orders the troupe to march on to their next performance.


Man on a Tightrope Man On A Tightrope movie posters at movie poster warehouse
  • Fredric March as Karel Cernik
  • Terry Moore as Tereza Cernik
  • Gloria Grahame as Zama Cernik
  • Cameron Mitchell as Joe Vosdek
  • Adolphe Menjou as Fesker
  • Robert Beatty as Barovic
  • Alexander D'Arcy as Rudolph
  • Richard Boone as Krofta
  • Pat Henning as Konradin
  • Paul Hartman as Jaromir
  • John Dehner as the SNB chief
  • Production

    Man on a Tightrope Man on a Tightrope 1953 Elia Kazan Lasso The Movies

    Shot on location in Bavaria, Germany, authentic acts were used, and the entire Brumbach Circus was employed for the production. The original plot to escape in small increments across the border was the actual means used by the Circus Brumbach in their escape.


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