Trapeze

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TRAPEZE—-you’ll be trapped easily (sorry) by this high-flying, three-way 1956 melodrama, set against the backdrop of the Cirque d’hiver in Paris.  Brooklyn aerial stud comes to Europe to have gimpy ex-master of the art teach him a ‘triple’ somersault.

Burt Lancaster’s acrobatic expertise gets legitimate airing (again, sorry) here and it’s a pleasure to watch him fly.  Tony Curtis looks in the best physical condition of his career as the upstart.

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How much you’ll be focused on these two is debatable, since Gina Lollobrigida is at the point of the triangle.  In her international debut, clad scantily, breathing heavily, pouting hungrily and spitting fire in outbursts of irate Italian, she makes quite an impression.

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The story is cornball, the passage of time has rendered the dramatics trivial, but it moves well under Carol Reed’s direction, the color is pretty, and the high-style exercising keeps you looking. Nice score from Malcolm Arnold, though there is a recurring zither bit,  supposed to be haunting–it gets old after a batch of refrains.

Using Burt’s prowess, Tony’s rising star and Gina’s allure, it easily covered its $4,000,000 stamp by raking in $16,000,000.

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With Katy Jurado, Thomas Gomez, Johnny Puleo, Minor Watson, Gerard Landry, J.M. Kerrigan. Several sources claim a stunt woman, doubling for Gina, died as result of broken back after a fall, but this seems difficult to verify.

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