Trapeze (1956)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Showbiz Drama  |   Release Date - May 30, 1956 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The story is nothing to write home about, but Trapeze is an entertaining way to pass a couple of hours, thanks in no small part to its director, cast and cinematographer. The setting is a help, too -- the exciting world of the circus, and especially that section of the circus dedicated to aerial artists. Again, you're not going to watch Trapeze for the originality of its story or for crackling good dialogue; the plot is a typical triangle (although there's a hidden undercurrent of homosexuality that threatens to break through now and then) and the dialogue is on the predictable side. But the story does provide characters with just enough meat on them for Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis and Gina Lollabrigida to get some acting dust stirred up along the way. More importantly, the story provides plenty of excuses for some impressive trapeze action. Even when doubles are used (as is obviously the case in several instances, especially where Lollabrigida is concerned), it's still exciting to watch -- and beautiful, to boot. Director Carol Reed is not at the top of his form in terms of the storytelling, but he and cinematographer Robert Krasker use the camera to excellent effect throughout, not merely in the trapeze sections. Compositions are lovely, and there's a sense of drama to the manner in which the scenes are laid out. Not great, Trapeze is still a fine sawdust-filled way to pass the afternoon.