Man on a Tightrope
Various commentators over the years have pointed out that while the number of movies about the horrors of Naziism is large, as it should be, the number of movies about the horrors of Communism is small, as it shouldn’t be.
Recently, TMC showed a 1953 movie directed by Elia Kazan titled Man on a Tightrope. I recorded it and my wife and I finally watched it last night. I would give it an 8 out of 10. It’s about a circus owner in Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s who wants to escape from Czechoslovakia into Bavaria, Germany and take most of his employees and most of his animals with him.
The screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood was based on a 1952 novel of the same title by Neil Paterson. Paterson based his true story, which first appeared as the magazine novelette International Incident, on the escape of the Circus Brumbach from East Germany in 1950. Members of the Circus Brumbach appeared in the film version in both character roles and as extras.
The plot is slightly goofy in places with some humorous moments. But the humor is badly needed to lighten the mood after some pretty sinister interrogations and threats by Communist officials.
Also the Hayekian insight about central planning is on display in the way some of the officials, one in particular, fail to take account of individuals’ circumstances of time and place.
I don’t want to say much more because I would give it away. But I do recommend it.