Sog.: da International Incident di Neil Paterson; Scen.: Robert E. Sherwood; F.: Georg Krause; Mo.: Dorothy Spencer; Scgf.: Hans Kuhnert, Theo Zwirsky; Mu.: Franz Waxman; Su.: Carl Becker, Roger Heman Sr., Martin Müller, Karl Becker, Roger Heman; Int.: Fredric March (Karel Cernik), Terry Moore (Tereza Cernik), Gloria Grahame (Zama Cernik), Cameron Mitchell (Joe Vosdek), Adolphe Menjou (Fesker), Robert Beatty (Barovik), Alexander D’Arcy (Rudolph), Richard Boone (Krofta), Pat Henning (Konradin), Paul Hartman (Jaremir), John Dehner (il capo), Gert Froebe; Prod.: Robert L. Jacks per 20th Century Fox; Pri. pro.: 29 giugno 1953. 35mm. D.: 105′
Man on a Tightrope recounts the story of a third-rate Czech circus and of the po- litical interference that nally prompts its manager, Karel Cernik (Fredrich March), to take the company on a dash to cross into the American zone of Germany. The key relationships are those between Cernik and his second wife Zama (Gloria Grahame), and his daughter Teresa and a young man who also wants to reach West Germany to search for his father. These relationships are never very convincing, and were further weakened when Zanuck subsequently cut twenty minutes from the early part of the picture. Kazan does try to stress the individuality, eccentric- ity and cosmopolitanism of the itinerant performers while the use of a real circus – the circus Brumbach – contributes a reasonable sense of surface realism. (…)
Zanuck’s fear of heaving the lm branded by critics as political or historical, as- sumed to be box of ce poison in 1953, led to it lacking any signi cant context relating to the politics of Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia. More than ever, Zanuck argued, people are “going to the theatre to escape lectures, propaganda, politics and the constant talk-talk-talk which they get on TV and the radio”. (…) A rare al- lusion to the political context comes with Cernik’s reference to both Nazi and Soviet occupations and to Jan Masaryk and Ed- vard Beneš, symbols of the lost tradition of Czech democracy.
Brian Neve, Elia Kazan. The Cinema of an American Outsider, I.B. Tauris, London 2009