mattstechel’s review published on Letterboxd:
There's a scene about 45 or so minutes in here where Frederic March meets with the owner of a rival circus that starts with them commiserating leading to some pretty good dialog (i think) and then ends with them staging a slap fight---if there's ever a clip party theme i can think of to insert this scene into, I'm gonna use it! Very good scene! Very strong--definitely the best scene in the movie. This was i thought overall a fairly tight narrative of the owner of a circus in Czech trying to literally sneak his circus out of the communist own Czech Republic once members of the government party start coming down on him and telling him that he doesn't own his circus, the state does! In some ways its kind of like a heist movie, except here the object is to sneak an entire circus across a border under some very watchful border guards.
Reading other people's reviews here, this was Elia Kazan shortly after naming names during the whole Joseph McCarthy debacle and yeah he uses that fear of getting bullied by petty tyrants in the name of the state pretty effectively here, Frederic March figures he'd be better off getting shit done on his own in another place rather than take orders on whom to fire and hire and blah. I liked it as a plotline! It was suspenseful enough as a narrative, tho I wasn't like watching it with suspended breath--but it was pretty solid..would recommend---the climactic break for it escape sequence reminded me a little bit in part of Frankenheimer's The Train which is definitely a compliment (The Train is so great you guys!)....so yeah it was pretty good on the whole tho it lacks that other movie's real slow burning sense of tension throughout which is one of the things that made that movie so great, but this was fine! (tho i feel like i could think of a better title than Man On A Tightrope. Circus Eleven???)
Originally i thought it was written by the guy who would go on to create Gilligan's Island but I was wrong in that it was actually written by Robert E Sherwood who also wrote Rebecca, The Best Years Of Our Lives, and oh there's The Bishop's Wife again! (The guy who created Gilligan's Island was Sherwood Schwartz--Hey he created The Brady Bunch!) (Man that'd be something if that guy had written this!)