Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Man On A Tightrope (1953)

Set in 1952 Soviet occupied Czechoslovakia, the manager (Fredric March) of a circus plots a daring escape across the border to Bavaria and to freedom. Perhaps only a coincidence but this well done piece of restrained anti-communist propaganda was director Elia Kazan's first film after his infamous testimony before the House On Un-American Activities in 1952. Fortunately the film isn't heavy handed but more a well crafted thriller. Kazan builds layers of tension and the entire "will they make it?" escape sequence is a real nail biter. Not surprising considering Kazan's adept hand with actors, the performances are uniformly good. March, in one of his best pieces of work, eschews the ham and gives a subtly controlled performance. Filmed on location in Germany, the film is based on an actual incident in 1950 where a circus escaped from East Germany into the West. In fact, one of the members of that circus plays March's aging mother. Co-starring Gloria Grahame as March's slutty wife, who in true 1950s fashion, becomes a devoted wife after March slaps her around. With Terry Moore, Cameron Mitchell, Adolphe Menjou, Richard Boone, Gert Frobe (GOLDFINGER), John Dehner, Alexander D'Arcy and Robert Beatty.

No comments:

Post a Comment