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Man on a Tightrope

Man on a Tightrope

Man on a Tightrope is a 1953 American film noir directed by Elia Kazan, starring Fredric March and 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.

Plot

In 1952 Czechoslovakia, circus man Karel Cernik struggles to keep his beloved Cirkus Cernik together, 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, and his young second wife Zama, whom everyone suspects of being unfaithful. Cernik wants to end a budding romance between Tereza and roustabout Joe Vosdek, who has been with the circus for only a year.