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Review: Trapeze (1956)

Directed by: | 105 minutes | | Actors: , , , , , , , , ,

Due to an unfortunate fall after a failed trapeze jump, the great Mike Ribble goes through life disillusioned. No longer on the trapeze, but as a handyman he works in the circus of director Bouglione (Thomas Gomez). And he also drinks a lot, a lot. When Tino Orsini travels all the way from Brooklyn to Paris to ask Mike to teach him the triple somersault, the pinnacle of a trapeze artist and something few have been given, Mike adamantly refuses. The fact that he himself has become crippled is up to that point, he does not want to contribute to it happening to someone else. But the artist’s blood creeps where it cannot go and Mike allows himself to be persuaded by Tino. Everything goes well, until the beautiful but unscrupulous Lola penetrates their act with a lot of manipulation. First she hooks up with Mike and when he turns out to be insensitive to her beauty and charms, she hooks up with Tino. Due to her intrigues, tensions increase further and further, especially when the great circus director John Ringling North (Minor Watson) visits the Bouglione circus. He has always been a big fan of Mike and he wants to bring the act that Mike has with Tino to New York. He gives them three weeks to show him the triple somersault and then they are offered a lucrative contract. Lola feels left out and won’t let it go. He has always been a big fan of Mike and he wants to bring the act that Mike has with Tino to New York. He gives them three weeks to show him the triple somersault and then they are offered a lucrative contract. Lola feels left out and won’t let it go. He has always been a big fan of Mike and he wants to bring the act that Mike has with Tino to New York. He gives them three weeks to show him the triple somersault and then they are offered a lucrative contract. Lola feels left out and won’t let it go.

Even for a Saturday afternoon movie this is a tough sit or you have to be very fond of trapeze work, and even then the question is whether this is a subject that lends itself to the silver screen. The acrobatics are nice, but not exciting enough to hold attention for a whole movie. Too often you get the feeling that you are always looking at the same trick and it doesn’t get any more exciting. With each new repetition it becomes more difficult to suppress the tendency to peek into the program booklet to see if the next act will offer more entertainment. The complications in the love area are also meager, they are predictable and if they are not, they are dragged with their hair, which is the other extreme. One of the few nice things is the marriage between Rosa (Katy Jurado) and Chikki (Gérard Landry). Rosa was once in love with Mike, but because of the lack of response, she married Chikki. Chikki knows only too well that he’s only second choice and they bicker a bit and they break up and they get back together. But when Rosa wants to comfort Mike, while Mike doesn’t need it, Chikki puts his hand on hers with a small loving gesture. He knows how his wife is and they will keep arguing, but he loves her and she loves him despite everything. All of this is beautifully enclosed in that one, minimal gesture. while Mike doesn’t need it, Chikki puts his hand on hers with a small loving gesture. He knows how his wife is and they will keep arguing, but he loves her and she loves him despite everything. All of this is beautifully enclosed in that one, minimal gesture. while Mike doesn’t need it, Chikki puts his hand on hers with a small loving gesture. He knows how his wife is and they will keep arguing, but he loves her and she loves him despite everything. All of this is beautifully enclosed in that one, minimal gesture.

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