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Man on a Tightrope

This is a movie about a Czech circus, and it kinda feels like it’s been financed by the CIA? Was it?

It also feels like Kazan was thinking “now I’m finally gonna make one of those European masterworks” — some scenes are like Herzog 20 years later, or Lang 20 years earlier.

But it’s let down by some really bad performances.

I mean really bad.



A knife thrower practising with his wife, of coures.

Such expressionism.

But then there’s the less fun parts, like this scene, where his bitchy wife is being bitchy, as usual, and he slaps her around, and she goes, Ooooh, you should have done that a long time ago, and then they fuck and live happily ever after.

(Well. SORT OF.)

Somebody’s getting suspicious!

It’s a super duper mega pandering propaganda movie — it was made after he snitched on all his friends to the House Un-American Activities Committee, and I’m guessing this was made to show them he’s really really really Un-Un-American — but the thing is, it works. It’s gross and manipulative, but that final scene is 100% gripping and moving. And the rest is pretty entertaining, too.

Man on a Tightrope. Elia Kazan. 1953.

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