Trapeze (1956) Script

(# "The Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss)


Ladies and gentlemen - Mike Ribble, the only man alive today to attempt a triple.

Three complete somersaults before reaching the arms of his catcher.

(drum roll)

(audience gasps)

(elephant trumpets)

(man) Halt! Halt!

(elephant trumpets)

(lion roars)

You see, Achille, here I am 46 years old, and suddenly I start to grow.

Before, the lowest bar on the lion's cage was two inches above my head.

Now it is only one. Maybe they shifted the bar.

You know a fella named Mike Ribble? No.

(woman shouts instructions)

- Ce n'est pas si mal que ça, monsieur. - Où sont les gueules?

- Vous voulez des tigres? - Et mon nom?

"Monsieur Bouglione".

Chaque année, il est de plus en plus minuscule. Refaites-moi cette affiche. Monsieur Bouglione, you like? Beautiful, yes? By opening night, magnificent. I...

What they do, I see. What do you do? Me? I show you.





Parlez Anglais? Yeah.

Do you know Mike Ribble? Never heard of him.

Want a snake act? Three of the sweetest performers that ever circled a torso.

He's got the build for it, hasn't he? He don't look like a snake lover.

Anybody know Mike Ribble? Say hello to the gentleman.

American. A great flier. You know, the trapeze.

He's got a job here. I knew a man named Gribble.

Did an act with a python of uncertain temper and extraordinary big jaws.

Who are you? Tino Orsini.

Guido Orsini your father? Yeah.

Cheap due to unforeseen circumstances. That's Ribble.

Above the plane, tightening the rigging.

Baby, wake up. She's a bit sluggish since her dinner last week.

Mr. Ribble! Say, Mr. Ribble!

You! In my circus, when I put together a show I have silence.

I just wanna see Mr. Ribble. See him on his time, not mine.

Monsieur, you said you'd find a buyer. I find no buyer.

Everybody knows the snake killed your brother.

She's high-spirited, that's all. If she's warm it's safe. My brother let her get cold.

If you did not already have a snake act, would you buy a snake act?

Now watch. Off the bars, a double forward twist.

We do business, monsieur? I see these boys work before.

Where'd they find you? They're lucky, no?

Where you find her? We don't find her. She finds us.


I pay you what you got before, and I check what you got before.

But the Cirque d'Hiver is more important than where we were.

The Cirque d'Hiver, yes. Your act, no.

Look, I take the act as it is. All right.

Same pay.


He likes us? What did he say?

Come on, say it.

What's the matter, Lola? Whatever he said, say it.

Come on. Speak, Lola.

Bouglione... Yeah?

He will not buy the act as it is. Why?

He wants me to do more. More for you? Already there is too much!

I do not say it's my idea that I do more. It's Bouglione. He insist.

Otherwise, we don't work.

You're always trying to do more. It's our act.

(both speak Arabic)

Ali, if you feel this way about me, I will leave the act.

(arguing in Arabic)

Oh, shut up. (elephant trumpets)

Mr. Ribble? Hey, Mr. Ribble?

Hey, get down out of there before you fall down.

But I'm a flier. I don't care what you are. Get down.

I came all the way from Brooklyn to see you. My old man is Guido Orsini.

That buzzard still flyin'?

He taught me all he knew. You're the only man who can teach me more.

Tell him I'm not a coach. I'm a rigger. And tell him in person, back in Brooklyn.

Look, Mr. Ribble... Go on, beat it, son. I'm busy.

I want something only you can give me.

You're the only man in the world that can teach me the triple.

The triple? Are you crazy? Don't you know why I'm a rigger?

I throw a double somersault. I need a little help on the third.

Just a little help on the third, huh? I know it's not easy...

You come out of that third somersault like an express train. And you come out blind.

A split second to reach for your catcher, and a split second for him to grab you.

That's all there is to it. All I want...

How many wet-eared kids have come to me tryin' to suck me back in?

But you top 'em all. You wanna do a triple.

All I ask is one look. If you don't think I got it, I'll go back to Brooklyn.

Well, start packin'.

How am I doing?

How about this?

You tryin' to leave your fingerprints on the bar? Grip it lightly.

Get your hands closer together. They're too far apart.

Closer still. Shoulder width.

When you do a roll over the bar that way, shoot way up in the air.

You know, I modeled my style after yours.

Then you'll always be a second-rater. Make your own style.

You don't force out high enough.

You'll never reach your catcher unless you kick for the ceiling. Watch my swing.

There. This is where your catcher would be for any big trick.

Here I come. Catch me!

You fool! Without a net? Who needs a net?

I should have dropped you on your head. But you didn't.

You! I told you before, get down.

A dead flier becomes a live catcher.

You've got great hands. Be a catcher. Catch me.

I'm no catcher, not for you or anybody else.

Come back in the business. We'll make a team.

The only act to do a triple - Ribble and Orsini.

You want my advice? Well, here it is. Fly back to Brooklyn while you can still fly.

From flier to rigger in one accident. New York to Paris. He's fallen a long way.

He's not smashed up as bad as I heard. It's his heart that's smashed.

He used to be a flier. Now he can't even get on the pedestal.

What good is life to a bird if he can't fly? You can understand.

Sure I can. Mr. Bouglione? How'd you like my act?

What act? Ribble and Orsini.

You come here, do two flips on the bar, make one pass, right away you got an act.

Congratulations. One of you runs before he can walk, the other a cripple.

Ribble wants to work with me. Are you interested or do I go somewhere else?

I'm interested, but I know this man better than you do. Remember, I warned you.

You still here? Up all night, huh? Look, Mr. Ribble...

That's why there are no more performers. Nobody trains.


That's the lousiest full twist...

Look what you did.

Mr. Ribble?

How about this?

It's not like workin' with my own bars, but tell me what you think anyway.

Hands close enough together, Mr. Ribble?

What do you think, Mr. Ribble?

How's that, Mr. Ribble? Lousy.


Who is it? Mike, it is Rosa.


Where'd you come from? I thought you were in Australia.

And Africa. Three years. I am back, Mike.

We are opening here. What are you doing now?

Come here, let's have a look at you. (man) Rosa!

You want my horses to catch a cold? Well, if it ain't old Chikki.

The horses first, always the horses, eh, Chikki?

I thought you were dead. She's Mrs. Chikki Fauchon now. I married her last year.

Well, congratulations. You're a lucky man.

(Chikki) You should know.

Rosa, come on. Come on, Rosa!

Lady? Oh, lady, excuse me.

Would you do me a favor? Can I talk to you? You seem to know Mr. Ribble...

Hey, rigger, come here. We want to talk to you.

Have a drink? What? Yeah, sure. Bottle of beer.

We make some changes in the act. The rigging will have to be different.

We need a third bar and another set of wires eight feet from the centre bar.

I want the apron extended another four feet.

And the platform should be dropped six inches.

Of course, the tension will have to be checked for my takeoff.

I'd like it to be ready first thing in the morning, so if you'll get to it...

Did you hear what I said? Sure.

You said the spotlight will be on you when you do a flyaway at the finish.

Oh, shut up. Shut up!

Is there something better to put it on? That depends. What are you selling?

Hey, there's a picture of you. Don't just stand there. Order something.

Beer. Make it two.

Clark, Segrist, Concello, Codona, Amadori and... and Ribble.

The only six men in the world that ever threw a triple.

There'll never be a seventh. When circus was real, flying was a religion.

Now what have you got? Pink lights, ballet girls, blue sawdust. A lot of hoopla.

You'll never throw a triple. You know why? Because you drink too much. after I got 'em, I thought about the snakeskin-shoe business.

But how many pairs of shoes can you get from a trio of pythons?

Are you happy with Chikki? I'm not unhappy. Eat the soup.

Stop mothering me. Why? Isn't that what all loves come to?

Mike, why don't you shave at least every other day?

Shave, eat... I'm getting a regular life since you came back.

That boy. Is he trapeze?

He wants to be a flier.

Has he talent?

Could be great. Just great.

You know, Mike, I often wondered why you never became a catcher.

When did you start wondering? About three minutes ago?

You got to learn to tumble, my boy. Like me.

Mike, you like that boy. Team up with him. Catch him. Nobody can do it better.

Before he becomes this great catcher he might change the rigging for my act.

Don't let your partners hear it's your act. You said he could be great.

He could be the seventh man in the world to do a triple.

Oh, Mike, Mike...

You spent years on the triple. Look what it did to you!

Now you can have a good flying act without it. Don't let the triple kill it.

It's in him. Why shouldn't he do it? For what?

To pull a shoulder? Break his back?

I'll show him what I did wrong. We'll be the greatest in the business.

For how long? You want him to swing on a single bar?

Not with that kind of talent. I'd rather see him cutting hair in a barber's shop.

Now, tomorrow we'll...

Now, tomorrow you'll get down to business. You'll do no more drinkin'.

Watch. The man that photographed my fall was your best friend.

He can keep you from making the same mistake.

I'm breaking from the bar too late. First somersault OK. Second OK.

Third somersault - short.

That's the boner that cost me the triple. Not big, but fatal.

So we'll start at the beginning and make each move perfect before we try the next.

I'll run it again for you.

Take a natural set now. That's it. Hold it, hold it. Break! Break full!

Keep your head up. Don't bend those legs. What are they made of, rubber?

That's it. Down the hill. Right, back up. Now hold it. Now break!


Hold it. Hold it. Now take a natural set. Natural.

Good. Great!


No, no, no! Too late. Too late.

You'll bust your neck. It always happens when you break too late. Let's try it again.

Hit it.

You got to learn to miss a trick as well as catch it.

Landing in the net that way, you'll break your neck just as easy as hitting the floor.

Now you watch that.

Bring those knees up more. Hug your chest.

When you do a triple you gotta be a tight little ball. Let's do it again.

That's better.

You're late again. If you can't make those easy ones, we'll never get to a triple.


Hit it!

Next time you try a double, get that time right.

The clock inside you always knows what time it is. Keep it tickin' alongside mine.

We'll never get a triple until we keep the same time. Let's try it again.

Have the confidence that I'll be there to take you. Here's what you're doin'.

You got your legs here. Here's your body. That's the position you come in to me in.

When I take you by the legs, fine, but you get that whip in the end and I lose you.

Now, if you come in to me like this, we get that beautiful smooth rideaway. Got it?

The double cutaway to the stick, that's a different story entirely.

Good, good, good! You're beginning to look like a flier.

How about the triple? I'll tell you when you're ready.

Monsieur Bouglione! You're in, Mike. I buy this act!

Monsieur? Yes?

Everybody wants me to do more in the act, so I must have a new costume.

Do you like it? Uh-huh.

I'm glad you like it. My partners will need a little advance to pay for it.

I have to sell tickets, not buy costumes.

Costumes sell tickets, don't they? Costumes like this?

That we'll never know. The bill is already full. Your act is out.

We're out? But we had an agreement. Perhaps you'd like to show it to me?

Ingrato mascalzone! Non te la caverai, sai?

Lo ti faccio causa, capito? Disgraziato!

Non sei degno di avere un'artista come me. Vigliacco, brutto mascalzone!

Don't shout. Ask yourself which is the better act.

Trapeze is always good business.

Chikki, where are the flames? I was promised I would have fire on that hoop.

It will take time. "Time"?

Is opening night next year? I want flames now.

Last year it was jumping through knives. Now you want fire.

You must go back to Mike. I will kill Chikki for you.

Mr. Bouglione, you will have the act I promised. If I say flames, it will be flames.

Even if I was crazy enough, the horse is not.

That's your affair. I am offered flames, I expect flames.

(Chikki) Rosa, you are not watching the horse.

Now, gently.

(Mike) Late time. (Tino) I got off late?

Too late off the board.

How was the kip? You're kipping too early.

I had a bad grip on the bar.

Monsieur Bouglione? Eh? What? Yes?

I apologize, monsieur. You are right. It is a skilful act.

(Mike) Don't put your head down.

But is skill enough? Can the people appreciate it?

(Tino) Kip still wrong? You're too late.

People like spangles, you know, monsieur?

They are good for the imagination. You think about this act?

You already have an act. Not at the Cirque d'Hiver.

What about your partners? Don't you mind losing them?

Let them show me the agreement, monsieur.

No. Mike Ribble always has a two act. A two act is what he wants. Nothing else.

And you, monsieur. Do you care what the act is so long as they look?

That act might be great. But the great ones are not easy to keep.

(Tino) How was my head? Keep your head up.

They are always moving on. With you in it, I could keep this act, eh?

If I were a part of it, I would be very loyal to you, monsieur.

If you can become part of it, I would appreciate your loyalty, mademoiselle.

(Tino) Was I slow on the break? (Mike) You broke too late.

(speaking Arabic)

What did he say to the costume? New ones for all of us?

He never looked at it. He's dropping our act. We are fired.

Fired? It can't be.

The bill is full. We are out. Where is Bouglione? He can't do this.

I talked to him. It's a waste of breath. Then what do we do?

I was thinking, if we act quick we might get a booking in Marseille.

It's her fault. Wanting more in the act. Lola's right. Marseille is our best bet.

I wanted to go there in the first place.

Maybe it would be better if you went ahead, then I could join you.

In case we don't get a booking, it would save money.

We have no time to waste here. Let's get the rigging together.


How are the hands?


Throw me a triple and we'll call it quits.

You mean it? There's always gotta be a first time.

OK, you're the boss.

Heads up down there. Clear the ring for a minute. Heads up.

Now remember, don't fight that bar.

Your natural break will give you all the height you need.

The beautiful women love brave boys. Ta gueule!

And the great Chikki.

Tu peux pas faire attention, espèce d'imbécile?


(Mike) Hup!

What's he up to? They're trying for a triple.


What happened? I dunno, I... I froze.

You can't quit now, man. Swallow the lump and let's go.

Mike? You all right? I'm all right. I'm all right.

You almost had it, kid. You almost made it. Your first triple.

Yeah, but what was wrong?

You broke too soon. That's why you barreled into me.

But the triple itself was perfect.

That one moment up there, I knew what you were talkin' about.

Now you know why I've been drivin' you so hard, huh?

We're gonna give 'em that triple on opening night.

Wanna try it again? No, no.

Tomorrow, the next day, you can do all you want. But now let's take the night off.

It's the young Orsini all right. And the great old Ribble.

Give him a rubdown, Max. And remember you're workin' on pure gold. Alley-oop!

Come, Tino. We put a good shine on the gold.

The boy's good, huh?

At least it's good to see you smile again.

How do you like my costume? That's an awful lot of spangles.

It's for opening night. I wanted to make sure it wouldn't split.

It would be terrible if something happened in front of all those people.

It's a good idea to try it out on a fast spin. If it'll stand that, it'll stand anything.

Take a deep breath. Give it all you got.

The costume will split! Let me worry about the costume.

Sure wouldn't worry about that costume. My style is OK?

On a rope there's nothing I can teach you.

I want to learn all I can.

Maybe we should... talk about it.

Give me time to get out of this.

Asleep? Shh.

Paul, a small bottle of brandy. Brandy?

And a couple of cups.

400 francs. Shh. I'll pay you tomorrow.

Maybe I'm dead tomorrow. I'll put the money in your coffin.

I was dreaming I had a box at the Folies Bergère.

There were all these beautiful girls, and one kept looking at me.

A little blonde with blue eyes? Take no notice. I know her. She's not sympathetic.

Go on back to sleep and dream about the triple.

Where you going? Around.

Wait, I'll come with you. Stay there. You need rest.

I feel great. I know how you feel better than you do.

I'll see you around.

Go back to sleep. Your little blonde has a friend waiting.

She'll probably look like Mike.

Come in.

Whatever kept you?

I hear the boy was very good today.

Good? He was great. He missed the triple by an inch.

You should congratulate him. You'll find him in the menagerie.

Let's drink to Ribble and Orsini, the first pure act in years.

Let's hope the public like it. They never asked for purity before.

It's so long since they saw it, they forgot. No, Mike. Things have changed.

Why stick to a two act? People want light, sparkle, something pleasing to the eye.

A bit of feminine beauty like Lola here.

Think it over, Mike, while I go congratulate your boy.

I have great hopes for this act.

I watched you work.

Bouglione's wrong. Your way is right.

He knows box office. That's all he knows.

That's all he cares. The work itself he thinks nothing of.

That bothers you? Why not? He throws out my partners.

They are not bad workers. They're good.

All right. But they are not in the same class as you.

I've got a great flier. Always the flier gets credit.

What he does makes a flash.

Your partner is nothing without you.

My partners, they can find work without me.

But your Tino, he had to come halfway round the world to find you.

Does Bouglione appreciate it?

He sure appreciates you. Oh, me.

He wants me to be like a bit of window-dressing in some other act.

You don't like that?

All my life I wanted to get better and better.

To be the best of all.

Like you.

Our act's pretty dangerous.

I don't care how dangerous, so long as I am with the best.

With you, for example.

You think we could work well together? I know we could.

Can you stand heights? The higher the better.

How are your wrists? Strong enough.


I was always strong in the legs.

How about your hocks? What?



You'll really fly high?

Because I'm not afraid of anything.

But I am afraid. That's why I'm stickin' to a two act.

(door opens and closes)

Ma chi ti credi di essere! Ma chi ti cerca!

Egoista che non sei altro! Nemmeno se mi dai un milione ci vengo nel numero tuo!

Brutto pallone gonfiato. Ti credi un artista, ti credi. Lo sai cosa sei? Un pagliaccio!

(Tino hums "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by Sousa)

Good morning, uncle. What makes you so tall?

Max, what are you doin'? Keepin' banking hours?

My alarm clock was late going off.

You like that, don't you, baby? She's a proper woman.

Hey, take it easy.

You had a good time last night, eh? You know everything, don't you?

Brandy, two cups. You drink by yourself?

You feel good, eh? I feel great.

Who are you trying to fool? Otto!

I know you. You used to be a catcher for Mike.

Misser, you mean. He couldn't catch a baby in a basket.

That night your timing was so bad I needed arms ten feet long.

You're so right. Mike...

This boy, Orsini. Hm? He's good?

Too good for you. Go get your own flier. There are no fliers today.

Harry, he needs an act. Sell him a snake. One? And break up the family?

Snakes are affectionate, especially girl snakes. They all go together.

Look, Mike, I do you a favor. You can't work with that leg for long, that I know.

So I catch him and I give you a pension. How about it?

Max, wanna fly to him? I'm too heavy. I'd break his arms.

I stick around, Mike. Do that. I'll buy you a beer later.

Here, how about a snake act up in the air?

Clean and unusual family show. Snakes are natural climbers.

When your snakes can fly like this Tino, then I'm interested.

Hup. Hup.

(Tino) Still worried about the height? (Lola) Not when we're swinging together.

You'd be good if you wanted to be a flier. I'm glad I asked you to take me up.

Let the weight of your body carry you out. Remember the trampoline. Same idea.

The way you're catching on... Tino! What's she doing up there?

She's all right, Mike. Watch her. She's good.

Get her down.

Don't get excited, Mike. I just happened to run into her.

There's no room for more than two up there. Now get her down.

Take it easy, Mike. The girl looks good, eh?

Great, but not in my act. Let her do a simple trick.

Just drop the bar. What harm? Plenty. She'll ruin the act. Tino...

I give you my word, the act will be improved.

Improved? By a dame? I'm tryin' to give you a pure trapeze act...

I know your act, its purity, its perfection. I also know what the public wants.

Money, money, always the money! You can eat for nothing?

What's Bouglione getting excited about? Don't argue over me.

Oh, no. I'll just go down... Tino, I hate quarrels. Stay, please.

It's unique in history, the greatest act since Léotard invented trapeze in this circus 100 years ago. And you talk about box office and spangles.

I buy the acts here, Mike. I throw out what I don't like.

We haven't got time. We'd lose the triple opening night!

I buy the acts here. That's all I want. No arguments.

You think they'll pay more to see her than to see a triple?

I fill my circus in my way or I empty it in my way.

In my circus there's room for only my way.

Either the three of you are up there opening night, or you're not there at all.

I don't understand.

You're in the act. You're part of the act.

You wanna be in the act? Come on over to me.

Fly?! Just a simple straight jump.

I'll call your time from the board and call you off the bar.

It's too soon. I can't.

Don't worry. He'll catch you. He's got great hands.


Use the bar, it'll give you a better swing. Come on.

Now don't worry.


Higher. Get higher. All of it.

Come on.


I did it! You caught me!


Let's try it again. This time get it up higher. All of it.

Mike, I wanna talk to you. Mike, you gotta listen to me. We were just horsing around.

How did she get up there? I didn't mean to give Bouglione ideas.

She had the ideas. Now we've lost the triple opening night.

Mike, you don't know her. She's had a rough life.

Listen, you idiot. She gave me the treatment before she got around to you.

Why do you think I always wanted a two act?

Because one flies and one catches, and no one comes between.

Nobody's gonna come between.

Is he still angry? Are you worried?

I was thinking of his hands. They give you so much confidence.

Looks like you've had enough of that already.

Now you are angry too. Why?

Why didn't you say you already spoke to Mike?

I? He must have misunderstood. It was Bouglione who was talking.


I came over here to learn the triple. And I'm gonna learn it.

And you think I'd interfere with that? Mike thinks so.

We gotta think alike. Neither one of us is good without the other.

I knew nothing about these things, or I'd never have let Bouglione persuade me.

I'm frightened I will not be good for you.

I'm frightened I will hurt the act.

Goodbye, Tino.


Tomorrow I should leave. My only chance for an engagement is in Marseille.

With your old act? Of course.

My partners have great plans for me. It is just...

I would rather have been a tiny part of a great act than the star of an ordinary one.

Please, Tino, we don't talk about it... Oh, Lola.

Lola, stay. Don't go.

When he was swinging me, he made me feel I could do anything up there.

You'll have to be happy with a couple of simple tricks.

How could I ever dream of more?

Want me to tell you your fortune? Only 100 francs for young lovers...

Shall we? I wonder if she sees me with you on opening night.

Digli che saremo felici, eh?

(speaking Arabic)

What is this we hear about Lola? Can't you see I'm busy?

Don't bother me. It's not my business.

Good house tonight, Mr. Bouglione.

Ah, Mr. Ringling North. How can New York spare you so often?

Doesn't it worry you to have others run your big circus?

Always looking for something good. Takes a lot of acts to fill my three rings.

Takes a lot of looking to find the best. I'm afraid we can't surprise you.

I heard Mike Ribble has an act again. Ordinary, very ordinary.

He must have found a good flier to tempt Mike out of the rafters.

An eager boy but without experience. You wouldn't be interested.

If the new act's as classic as the old, I'll be very interested.

Mr. Bouglione... Don't bother me. Talk to her.

Yeah. (speaks Arabic)

I feel as young as my first opening night. I have the same ball in my stomach.

The hoop? Why do I hate fire so much?

You go so fast, you never feel it. It only looks dangerous.

Lola, look what I got for you.

It's pretty. My father wears one like it.

He always says "Fear no trick, for we are in strong hands. "

It's for luck. Thank you.

You will need it, Lola. For all your tricks.

(Chikki) Rosa, allez, dépêche-toi. Qu'est-ce que tu attends?

Allez, ouvrez.

You promised to join us when we got a booking.

We have one in Marseille. I'm happy for you.

The booking is for the act. All four. Get someone else.

Impossible. (shouting in Arabic)


Get out. I said get out.

She will leave you too. She will spit on you just like she spit on us.

(shouting in Arabic)

The costume's split.

Mike... you didn't do that for the act.

I can remember when those boys had a good act.

Quiet, with no screaming, no fighting. Mike...

Then you came. The routines and quality went, but the spotlight stayed on you.

Why must you hate me? Why always hate?

When this engagement ends, you're out. Tino and me work alone, as we planned.

With that stick you walk, but with Tino you fly. You think you can live through Tino?

Ask Tino who makes him live. No more tricks, Lola. You're out.

I could mean more to Tino than you. I can take him whenever I want.

That trick I've still got.

For your own sake, Lola, get out.

Or one night these hands won't be there to catch you.


(Chikki) Allez-y doucement, bon Dieu! Dégagez le passage, espèce d'idiot. Appelez-moi le vétérinaire immédiatement. What happened? The flames. The horse shied.

Pepe! Bobo! Max! In the ring! Make plenty of noise! Allez!

All right. We follow with the bears. Why aren't the bears ready? Forget the bears.

Mike, your act goes on next. Tino. Lola.

Put out that net for the flying act. Get this horse out. Girls, don't stand there! Places!

Avance, Lucien. Foutez-moi le camp de là-dedans!

What happened? All that hurry, I slipped on the stairs.

Let me look. It's nothing. It's nothing!

Why are you getting so excited? You must do...

Tino. (fanfare)

(drum roll)

(# "The Blue Danube")


You did that. You killed him.

Chikki, it was the flames. I told you before.

Why should I waste my talent, my horse and my life on such a woman?

Why should you?

I leave. Right now, I leave.

How many more years you gonna keep on watching him, Otto?

Not much longer. The boy flies in like a cannonball.

He needs two good legs.


Hear them? That's for you.

Shall I go again? You know Mike.

Better stick to what we rehearsed.

Nice style, the boy. Not bad.

The last time I saw Mike work was the night he fell. Good to see him back again.

(loud applause and cheering)

Gee, Mike, that was great. Just like old times.

Hey, that ain't in the act.

You shouldn't have done that. It was worth it. Listen to them.

Just one photograph, please.

Quite still.

Is this how you spell Orsini?

Tomorrow we sign a contract. All three. I count on your loyalty.

Hey, Mr. North. Look here, remember me?

(plays tune on harmonica)

Sure I remember you. Madison Square Garden.

America has everything so big, you must be short of dwarfs.

Dwarf acts are well liked in America.

Times change, but you're a born professional.

That's what I like. Certainly.

Professionals can always come back, like Mike Ribble.

Mr. John! I was hoping you'd be here tonight.

Well, you look in good shape, boy.

Fine, fine. Tell me, how did you like the boy?

I was watching the girl after I found out I wasn't gonna see a triple.

You would have if the act wasn't overcrowded.

Knowing you, Mike, how did she ever get there?

Tino! Come here. I want you to meet someone. Mr. John Ringling North.

A pleasure, Mr. North. Hello, Tino.

Mike says you've got a triple in you. We'd like to show it to you.

Show me in the next three weeks, and I'll take it to New York.

Ribble and Orsini. I've kept that contract on ice a long time for you, Mike.

Hello, Monsieur North. Comment allez-vous?

I didn't hear my name mentioned.

Can you do a triple?

Can you?

Tino, the parade's starting!

I'll be right back. Lola... Oh, don't touch me now. Don't touch me!

I'll talk to Mike. I'm sure we can work out something. Lola, please...

Go with Mike to New York. That's what you want.

Lola... Parade!


I'll talk to Mike.

It doesn't matter what anyone says to Mike. Can't you see?

He's jealous.

He knows I... I love you.

The fortune-teller was right.


Oh, Tino.

He saw it from the start.

Right from the start he saw he might lose the only life he has.

The life you give him.

It frightens me to think what he could do to us, Tino.

You are the flier.

You make the act.

You must make the decisions.

Goodbye, Mr. John. Parade!

Where's Tino? I don't know. I didn't see him.

Tino! Tino!

Where is that boy?

Tino! Tino!


(band plays march)

Tino! Lola!

Tino! Lola!

Ribble! Get your chariot out of the way.

Take it out of the parade, Mike. When you get your act together, join in at the rear.

Everybody in position!

Hurry up. Hurry up.

Back. Back.

(Bouglione) Two by two. Right and left.

All the acts together, right and left.

Try 'em anytime. Take 'em home for the weekend.

(Mike) I think you should.

I'm sorry about the horse, Rosa.

Mike is trying to sell me on the snakes. She'd be great with a snake act.

What about our act? Why are you so anxious to get rid of Lola?

It's easy to get rid of Lola. Look, Mike...

I've decided... Ribble and Orsini.

We teamed up right here. What...

Or Orsini and Ribble. However you put it, it's the same. Till she came along.

She didn't change anything for me. You?

She's not interested in you, me or the act. Just Lola, that's all.

The more you give, the more she'll want. She's ruined acts before.

You can't even begin to see her clearly! I can see you, though.

I see you forgetting to check the rigging, missing parades.

Next, you'll duck practice. You'll think of her in the middle of a triple and lose it.

I think about her all the time. Just like I think about the triple.

Tino, listen to me. You're the only man living who can get the triple.

But her, Tino. Anybody can get her. Can't you understand? Anybody can get her!

Shut up!

I'll work with you, Mike. I'll work for the triple until my hands burn off.

But you force me to choose and I'll leave you.

I want Lola most of all, because I love her.

And she loves me.

Mike, you can't keep that boy locked to the trapeze.

Let him dream a little.

There goes the triple. He'll come back to it.

Give him time. It's too late. You heard him.

Oh, how blind can you be?

It is not Tino she wants to fly to. It is you.

What did you say? It is not Tino she loves.

It is you.

How do you know?

Mike, haven't I been through the whole trick myself?

Shouldn't I know?

I hope you're right, Rosa. I know I'm right.

Because if you are, you've just given me the triple.

Three eight. I checked it.

My passport says three foot seven and a half. Now three eight?

Maybe the tape is short. Bouglione saves money on everything.

I can't understand it. None of my family is over three foot six. It embarrassed me.

Now three foot eight? Bend at the knees. No one will know.

Good morning. Mademoiselle.

For five days a contract has been on my desk. Nobody comes to sign it. Why?

You should speak to Mike Ribble.

You suppose I did not see him with Ringling North?

Then speak to Tino. I am very unimportant.

Do not play games with me. I put you in the act. I count on you to keep it for me.

I owe you nothing. Someday I send you a postcard from New York.

Mike takes you to New York? You have a lot to learn about him.

So? I think he has already learned much about me, and now we get on very well.

For an ambitious girl you surprise me. Tino is the act. Tino is your meal ticket.

Without Tino you have nothing.

Remember that.

I will not forget, monsieur.

Otto, I think maybe you'd better catch the boy.

Mike and I, we are friends. I wait until his leg drops off.

Had enough, Mike? North's due any day, Tino.

We've got to show him that triple. Now, let's give it another try.

Tino, has Mike said any more about New York?

No, but he said he's got a new trick for you.

Are you gonna show me a triple or not?

Sorry, Mike. Next swing.

Your timing's way off. Your mind's not on your work.

Take the day off. Figure out what you did wrong. Tomorrow we make it perfect.

Come on, we'll work on a new trick.

What we try? A pirouette back to the bar.

You are joking. I am not ready for a pirouette.

Why not? You wanna be a flier, don't you? A bird's nest across and a pirouette back.

All right.

(Mike) Hup!

Mike, be fair. Let them alone.

You brought it up. Mike...

Mind your business.

All night long, you hardly talked. Is something wrong?

There's nothing wrong. I talked. We talked a lot about the act.

When we're together, I want to talk about you.

Oh, Lola, I don't wanna t...

It's getting late.

It's so good to be alone with you. Just the two of us.

Three shows today, three shows tomorrow. I am tired.

You must be tired too.

We work hard.

Suddenly you're so tired. Oh, don't be angry, Tino.

Let things happen in their own time.

When could there be a better time? Lola, we're in love with each other.

Oh, not now, Tino. Please.

Please, you must let me go.

Good night now. Let me kiss you good night.

Lola... you did mean everything you said?

Didn't you?

You haven't changed?

I haven't changed.

This is over before it begins.

You didn't come down here to tell me that.

We see each other on the bars. Nowhere else.

Is that what you want? You want a triple. I know what I want.

You don't love Tino. You never did.

Suppose I tell him that. He would never believe you.

He'd believe you. Why don't you tell him?

I like working in the act.

Sooner or later he has to know. Tell him before he finds out.

Have you ever worked in an Italian carnival?

Two cars and a tent with holes in it.

Where sometimes you eat, but not if it rains or a tire blows out or the lion dies.

Where you are never paid, because if you had bus fare you might leave.

All my life...

You think I don't remember it? You think I am fool enough to take chances now?

Tell him.

Stop. I want you to stop.

Tell him. You've got to tell him.

This has to finish. It has to.

I don't want to love you.

You must let it finish.

I can't.

Please. Let it all finish now.

You know it can't finish like this.

You're wise to remember that it is the flier who's important.

"Wise". Always I've had to be wise.

You're not pleased with my offer?

When you can give me Madison Square Garden, then I'll be pleased.

Meanwhile I'll accept because our act cannot go on as it is.

There are personal reasons.

Perfect. A split second sooner and you'd have a triple. We'll give it to them tonight.

I have seen the personal reasons.

It is not good that it happened this way. You want the boy, Otto. Don't complain.

You're sure that Tino will break with Ribble?

Tino chose me before. He will again.

Chikki, you're back. Is that the new horse?

Just arrived. Got a surprise for Rosa.

Beautiful. Perfect. I wouldn't part with them if I wasn't allergic to snakes.

What about me? If you don't come out in spots in a day, you've got a lovely new act. Gotta hand it to Mike, it was a great idea.

I bring you a magnificent horse.

He feels nothing. Not knives, not flames, nothing. And I find you with snakes.

Always you want me to do more. Now a new horse to break my back.

I stay with the snakes. You don't fool me.

You stay with Mike Ribble. Where is he? When I was away you went back to him!

Where's Tino? You decided to tell him about last night?

I just made my decision. I leave the act.

What are you gonna do? Go back to your old act?

No. To my new one, with Tino.

Lola. You make a fool of me with my wife.

You can't do that. Nobody can do it.

What did you say? You hear me?

Where's my cane?

Get the first-aid box. Quick.

I will make up my own mind about the act.

Mr. Bouglione, you speak to her. I can do nothing. She refuses to work with me.

That's right, order me to do it.

You turn lions loose, you ruin my reputation, then ask me for favors.

Escaped lions give him pleasure. He loves danger.

He enjoys bending iron bars with his beautiful body.

Mr. Bouglione, you sent for me. Was Mike badly hurt? Is he all right?

A scratch, nothing more. In your act, nobody is necessary except the flier.

It's your signature I want on the contract. You lose nothing if you get rid of Ribble.

Get rid of Mike? You and she are a beautiful act.

You need nobody else. Didn't Lola tell you our plan?

Mike looks after business. You talk to Mike about your plans.

Mike is too busy to speak. Your other, beautiful partner is with him.

Leave him to her. Lola's with him?

Sure she's with him.

She can handle him. She can handle all of us.


Where are they? First you worry for Mike, now for Lola.

Don't worry.

What have I got to be worried about? Exactly.

Let us be discreet and forget them.

You'd say anything to make me sign. Even put me against Mike.

My dear young man, if I wished to put you against Mike I would tell you, follow the old woman with his cane.

But I don't. I say let us be discreet, and businesslike.

I understand. You wish to leave all your business to Mike, eh?

Well, please yourself.

I'm sure he's looking after it very well. Very well indeed.

Pierre, leave word with Mike Ribble I'll be here tonight.

Allez, ma jolie, un kilo de mes carottes. De la carotte, bien fraîche. Approchez! Voyez nos belles poires. Belles, juteuses, à emporter, tout de suite, allez. Elle est belle, elle est belle, ma tomate. Les bananes. 100 francs le kilo de bananes. Achetez mes belles bananes.

Voyez les beaux melons de Cavaillon, mesdames. Beaux melons de Cavaillon. Achetez un kilo de pêches, 100 francs le kilo.


Alors, vous l'avez trouvée cette canne? II vous attend là-haut. Hé bien, qu'est-ce qu'on vous sert?

Monsieur? Qu'est-ce qu'on vous sert?

A beer.

We must tell Tino.

Not yet. Not yet.

We must. You know we must. You said we must.

Last night.

How do I explain last night?

What are you trying to tell me?

I thought we met, but we hadn't.

I thought I knew you, but I didn't know you.

I'm trying to tell you that...

I'm trying to tell you how much I love you.

I want you to know, in this one moment, if only for this one moment, that for the first time in a long time, I feel alive.

Oh, Mike.

Tino will forgive you. Maybe he'll never forgive me, but in time he will you.

Not now, he wouldn't.

Maybe once, but not now.

Elle est belle, eh? C'est moi. Ne soyez pas triste, c'est pas si important.

(footsteps and cane tapping)

L'addition, s'il vous plaît.

Hello, Mike.

You know this place?

It's got a machine I've never beaten.

How's the arm? It's OK, it's OK.

Did you have somebody to look after it for you?

Make that one behind the gate, and you got it.

Toughest ones are always behind the gate. You gotta be cagey to make 'em.

Tilt it a little, maybe it'll...

Yeah, you can cheat it.

Then you lose the game.

Let's shove off. I'll get my jacket. Let me see if I can win... before we go.

You can't beat it, kid.


You had to prove it, didn't you?

You just had to win.

I'm sorry it happened this way. I wanted to tell you...

We meant to tell you, but...

All right, tell me. Go ahead and tell me. Tell me what?

Not now, Tino. Then let me tell you what he said.

"Tino" he said. "You're the only man in the world that can get a triple. "

"But her? Anybody can get her. " That's what he said.

No, it's not true, Tino. Go ahead, deny it!

He never wanted you in the act. He swore he'd get you out any way he could.

Even if he had to take you away from me.

What's he trying to say, Mike? Tell her!

Tell her! Don't you want her to hear it?

You shouted it loud enough. Not now, Tino.

I'm up to here with your words about a two act, a triple and its purity.

I'm chokin' at the way you made her look lousy in my eyes.

But you said it could be done, didn't you?

Tell her the price you put on her. Tell her how you said anybody could have her.

Anybody, because she was a cheap... Lola...

I love you.


You know why I don't kill you? Because I wanna see you a rigger again.

I want you watching me up there with Otto. I've forgotten you, rigger.

Try to forget me!

Chikki and Rosa on yet?

Ah, Monsieur North. We're always pleased to see you.

You need not have brought a pen. The boy will be mine.

You'll see no triple tonight. You've signed him?

I sent Otto, not Mike, up there tonight. Tino will sign with me.

You had a good dinner? I don't want your evening to be a complete failure.

Most kind of you, but an evening in Paris is always a pleasure.

You said he was not coming. Don't worry, I'll handle him.

You go in and change.

The boy wants Otto, he's got Otto. You're through, you're finished. Understand?

You can't do that. Mr. North is coming.

What are you doing here while the show is on? Get back to the stables. Vite. I can remember when you were interested only in circus. Think back, Bouglione.

Give me this night. Just this one night.

I warned you before. I'm only interested in the public, not in Ringling North.

Now get out of those skins.

That's the way we'll keep it for tonight. I'll tell her.

After tonight, make your own plans. We keep the routine simple.

You do the somersault and we do the passing trick.

He's coming, Tino. Ringling North. You've got to work with me...

I'll go check the rigging. Tino...

I did this to him.

We did. You and I.

But it's not Tino you think of now, it's yourself.

You'd like to make up for the time you fell.

You don't care who you hurt, who you destroy, as long as you make that good at last.

That was true once, but not after today.

Maybe I was in love with you all the time and never knew it.

But suddenly I knew it.

And it was too late. Oh, please. I listened to you before.

Forget me, but not Tino.

Speak to Bouglione. Get him to talk to the boy. He'll do it for you, you know that.

I know you promised me love, and gave me a twisted moment.

You promised Tino greatness and gave him empty words.

So leave me alone, and leave Tino to Otto.

We can't. Not like this. For Tino... Let Otto catch him.

I told you. A magnificent horse. What a judge I am.

Yes, Chikki. You know everything about horses.


(drum roll)

(# "The Blue Danube")

Otto will never give you that triple. You've got to give yourself this chance.

Get off that bar.

Ribble and Orsini. Remember, Tino?

Please, Tino. Let's go down.

Get off that bar before I knock you off.

All right. Try and do it.

You asked for it.

John Ringling North's down there.

Let's show him some real circus. Let's give him a triple. Come on.

You're not giving up, are you? I thought you had nerve. What's happened to it?

Stop, Tino. He's not sane. Shut up.


Stop that act. Turn off the spotlight. Take down the net.

Quick, quick! Take it down, take it down!

No net, Tino. But that should be right down your alley.

When you first came to me there was no net. That's when I first figured you had it.


Quick. Ballet! Ballet!

Vite. (music abruptly changes)

This is the night we've been working for.

Your night. The biggest night of your life.

You have to get them down! You must! They won't fly without a net.

(Mike) I guess I had you all wrong. I guess you're only brave on the ground.

We can go down, or stay up here and see how much nerve you've really got.

Are you scared, Tino? Are your hands wet? Are they sweating?

Maybe you're too scared to go down. Does the height bother you? Is that it?

You said I was the only man in the world could teach you a triple.

Well, there's nothing more I can give you. It's up to you now.

Come on, kid. Get up. Pull yourself together. Give it a try.

Take the rosin.

That's it, that's it. Get plenty on those wrists.

(music falters)

(music peters out)

Make sure you force out above those connecting wires.

Take a natural set. When you ride down the hill, break full and strong.

Watch my swing. Let me know when it's right.

And remember, kid, you can do it.

(triumphant music)

Mr. Ribble, can I get you to hold it right there?

You boys made the circus circus for me tonight. Get a picture of 'em.

(man) How about a smile?

Get some pictures. OK.

Can I take one smiling? Hands up high. How about a smile?

How about a smile? (photographers shouting)

How about it? Make a smile.

I can't get over it, seeing a triple again. How about it, Mike?

Tino made it easy for me.

How's it feel, boy, throwing your first one?

It feels like you should go on throwing them, to a great catcher.

When you can fly like Tino, anybody can catch you.

You fly in my circus, you fly with a net. No nonsense like tonight.

Now one of the three hands together. That's right. You two. You too, Miss Lola.

Mademoiselle, how do you feel about going to America?

You're all having dinner with me. And the way I feel, anything you want, name it.

I just wanna keep the act together.

That's what I want. That's how it'll be.

How about one of the boy and the girl together?

What's the secret of the triple, Mr. Orsini?

Knowing when to come out of that third somersault. Your timing's gotta be perfect.

It's like a little clock inside of you that's got the right time.

It's gotta tick alongside your partner's. You only get a triple when it's the same.

When did you first know you had it? Mike knew before I did.

I didn't think I was ready, but he did. Were you scared?

If not for Mike, I'd have quit. The first time I did it, I froze.

But he made me try again. And he caught that one?

Not quite. But suddenly I knew when I did I'd have the world in the palm of my hand.

That's the kind of feeling it gives you. There's nothing else like it...

When you get to New York, Otto, don't push him too fast.

Let him feel it out.

And remember he's lofty, so don't stay back in the hole. Swing up to him.

Don't ever try to snatch him, cos he'll overturn.

The act is still yours, Mike.

Still Ribble and Orsini.

There's too much between us, Otto.

Keep him breaking full and strong.

Make him drive that break, drive it hard.

Now that he's got it, don't let him lose it.


Visiontext Subtitles: Rob Colling

Ripped by: SkyFury