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Man on a Tightrope

(1953 b 105')

En: 6 Ed: 6

A Czech circus rebels against the Communist system imposed on them after World War II by escaping across the border into Bavaria.

         Karel Cernik (Fredric March) runs a circus in 1952 Czechoslovakia. He has a flirtatious second wife Zama (Gloria Grahame) and a daughter Tereza (Terry Moore), who has fallen in love with Joe Vosdek (Cameron Mitchell). Karel leads a plan to take the circus across the border. He makes a deal with his competitor Barovic (Robert Beatty) and manages to get past officials such as Fesker (Adolphe Menjou), but he finds resistance from the Communist worker Krofta (Richard Boone). They manage to break through at the border but not without sacrifices.

         This bittersweet drama portrays the oppression of living under a police state and a heroic struggle to escape to freedom, reflecting the pent-up frustration and desire of those in eastern Europe during the Cold War to regain their independence. It is ironic that this can also be seen as an anti-Communist propaganda film directed by Elia Kazan who cooperated with McCarthy hearings.

Copyright © 2009 by Sanderson Beck

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