Man on a Tightrope (1953) Movie Script

Move those
trucks off the road.
Get them off the road!
Move them off the road!
What's the matter?
Come on. Get off.
What's happening here?
Get off!
Move them! Move, move, move!
Come on. Move them! Let's go!
KONRADIN: Cernik! Cernik!
The tractor's off the road.
It's in the ditch.
Get off the road.
My name's Karel Cernik.
I'm the manager of
this circus.
I have a permit to travel.
Get your wagons in the ditch.
Do as you're told.
That's it.
Get it off the road.
Change your expression. Smile.
Or they'll know
what you're thinking.
Mr. Cernik.
Look at that. Rear axle
on that trailer's broken.
KONRADIN: Guys, come on.
Joe, my father wants you.
Be right with you, sir.
Here. I'll finish.
No. It's finished.
Check it, will you, please?
Check your knots.
The rear axle
on my trailer.
Call all the men in
the circus by their
first names?
If I know them well enough.
Yes. Why?
I don't like it.
You're my daughter, Tereza.
I work in this circus, too.
I earn what I'm paid.
I'll do as I please.
You are my daughter.
That young man is
a stranger to us.
He's been with
the circus for
nearly a year.
He's still a stranger.
Do you know
anything about him?
Where he came from?
Who are his people?
I know that I like him,
I like to be with him,
and I will be with him
just as much as I want.
You will have nothing to do
with Vosdek outside of
your work.
What's that
bandage on Maria?
It's nothing. When we stopped
suddenly, she got kicked.
She'll be all right.
I wish we could take
better care of you, baby.
MAN: Coming through.
Rotten. Rotten.
If that had happened
in a performance,
somebody would
have broken his neck.
Everything's rotten.
You're right.
Everything's falling apart.
Father, I'm sorry that
I flared up.
But you don't need
to be worried about Joe.
He's a good man.
He's decent.
He's clean and...
I'm not worrying
about him.
About you, my darling.
Isn't your fault that
you're as ignorant
as a child.
You haven't anyone
to teach you.
No mother, no school,
except the circus.
No one but me.
I've had no time.
Come on. Come on.
We didn't stop here
just to smoke.
Get moving!
Come on, Max! Get up!
We have a performance
in Volary tomorrow.
We entertain the people.
Get this circus back on
the road. Come on, Max.
Get moving!
Get this circus on the road!
Hurry up back there!
Hurry, hurry, hurry,
hurry, hurry.
Hurry, hurry, hurry.
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry.
Hurry. Hurry.
Police are in the house.
Private or secret?
You sure?
Come on.
I really frightened
them that time,
didn't I?
The police are here.
Police? Where?
Wait! What are you doing?
Police are here.
(WHISPERING) Since when is it
a crime to listen to music?
If you don't mind my asking,
what are you trying to do
with that chalk?
Everybody around
here complains because
I don't work with the circus.
They say
I'm just a piece
of excess baggage.
So, I'm working up an act.
Oh, I see.
A man in Carlsbad
once told me I had the most
beautiful toes in the world.
Yeah, I know.
I was that man
in Carlsbad.
We didn't
have so many other things
to worry about in those days.
Be careful.
What are you doing there?
The canvas is rotten!
I didn't pull hard!
Don't you ever talk
to Mr. Cernik that way!
Who's that? New man?
He's the best I could get.
He's stupid.
All of our canvas is going.
Where's Placek?
He's supposed to
be watching that.
He's gone.
Guess they found
out he was a good man.
They transferred him to work
in a factory in Klatovy.
I see.
Maybe you'll be
the next one
they take.
(SHOUTING) Come on
with those poles!
I hope not, Mr. Cernik.
My whole life is in
this circus.
Yeah. I know that.
We couldn't get along
without you.
Took you long
enough to get here.
Come on with my beer!
Come on!
Mother Cernik, excuse me.
What did the police want?
I don't know.
They didn't talk to anyone.
They came and
they looked at us.
Then they went...
(WHISTLES) Without a word.
They suspect something.
I wouldn't worry if they'd
asked a question or two.
This silence...
MAN: Everybody outside. Move!
It's coming down.
ALL: Ho!
You love your flowers,
don't you, Mrs. Cernik?
Oh, yes. They're beautiful.
I love to work in my garden.
It's good coffee.
I don't make it.
My husband's the cook.
Oh! What's that?
Move those poles!
They're not gonna
move themselves!
Let's go!
Come on, you people!
Are you the manager
of this circus?
No, sir.
He's over by
the horse tent.
come on. Dance.
Get out.
One, two. Dance. Tereza,
make him lift his left foot.
TEREZA: Come on.
You are Karel Cernik?
You are to come with me.
I'm arrested?
You will be taken
to SNB Headquarters
in Plzen for questioning.
What time is it?
Will I be
able to return in time for
the performance this evening?
Perhaps. If your
answers are satisfactory.
May I be permitted to
put my coat on
and necktie?
Do it quickly.
Excuse me.
What's the trouble now?
I don't know.
They're taking me to Plzen.
Have they accused you
of anything?
They didn't tell me.
Did it ever occur to you
to stand up for your rights?
I haven't any rights.
Nobody has.
When will you be back?
They won't keep me long.
It's only the usual routine.
You know,
one of these days,
you may walk in here
and find I've packed
my suitcase and left.
You think
I couldn't get along
on my own, don't you?
What? I didn't say anything.
You look very nice.
Don't lie to me.
No, no.
If I don't get back in
time for the performance,
you know what to do.
I know, Karel.
Just keep an eye on
everything, will you?
Watch her.
You think she cares?
The minute he's out of sight,
she'll head for the
lions' cage.
What do you expect?
She's not of the circus.
I love you more
than you'll ever know.
Always practicing
your tricks, aren't you?
It's a pity you can't
learn to do something.
I know a few tricks, too.
No, women are
not like angels.
Don't place them
so high above.
no matter what I do,
my heart belongs to you.
Now, come, come, Pasha.
You're showing no life.
We must have
life in the act.
Yes. We must have zest.
Otherwise, the people
go to sleep.
They want you to
frighten them. Understand?
Oh, I know, poor fellow.
It isn't easy to show life
when all we can feed you
is slops.
Mash made of sawdust
for the king of beasts.
But the show must go on.
So come on, Pasha.
Come on.
We must have discipline.
Show your teeth.
Claw at me. Ah! Come on.
Ah, come on, Pasha!
Come on! Come on!
Can't you see I'm
busy at the moment?
Why don't you let
Pasha have a rest?
I'm an artist, madam.
I'm never satisfied.
Cernik's going to Plzen.
I told you I was busy.
I have plenty of time.
Everybody's watching.
Come on, Pasha! Strike at me!
Tear me to pieces!
Come on, Pasha!
Strike me. Strike at me.
That day you
say you're mine
For all of
All of time
Some lovely...
Karel Cernik.
You are the owner
of the Circus Cernik?
No, sir.
Bears your name.
Yes, sir. I used to own it
and my father before me,
What happened?
1948, when
the people's Democratic
Republic of Czechoslovakia
won the victory
over fascist imperialism,
my circus was nationalized,
became the property of the
state, like everything else.
I was permitted
to remain as manager.
You have various members
of your family with you
in this circus.
Yes, sir.
My wife and
my daughter.
Your second wife.
Yes, sir.
My first wife died.
She was the mother
of my child, Tereza.
You and your family form
a little clique within
the circus.
I don't know
what you mean, sir.
You have private meetings,
late at night.
Of course.
We get together.
That's the way with
all families, isn't it?
Your circus appears to be
very cosmopolitan in
its personnel.
You have many
foreigners on your rolls.
French woman, for instance,
who calls herself La Duchesse.
She's not French, sir.
She's certainly no duchess.
Years ago, she
married a sword-swallower,
who called himself The Duke.
And when he died,
she went a little
wrong up here.
In a performance in Malacek,
she produced a French flag
and waved it.
That was only in honor
of the memory of her husband.
I confiscated the flag
and burned it.
You have a Chinese.
Yes, sir.
Does he give adherence to
the Chinese people's
democratic republic,
or is he one of the lackeys
of the defeated fascist
I don't think he knows
what he is, sir. He's
a juggler.
You see, sir,
circus people aren't
like other people.
The only nationality we have,
the only religion we have
is the circus.
We have no politics.
We have no home,
the circus.
Two weeks ago
you were ordered by
the Ministerium of Propaganda
to make certain changes
in your performance as
a clown.
Yes, sir.
We made those changes.
That was in the act where
the other clown kicks me
27 times.
Did you continue to do
as you had been ordered?
Well, to tell
the truth, sir...
Answer my question.
No, sir. I didn't.
You went back to doing it
just as you had done before.
Yes, sir.
Well, the way the
propaganda officials
wanted me to clown,
it just wasn't funny.
The people didn't laugh.
And what do you do?
Well, I just stand there.
I flinch on each kick,
but my expression
never changes.
And this is
considered amusing?
The audience thinks so.
Can you show us?
You mean here?
You have to imagine it
in the clown makeup
and costume.
See, he's trying
to make me furious,
so that I'll turn
around and kick him,
but he can't do it.
And then finally,
he's so tired
that he can't lift
his foot to kick
me again.
And then I do turn around...
(KISSING)... and I
give him a big kiss.
The propaganda people
said that in this act,
that's the other clown,
should represent
Wall Street imperialism.
Silk hat, spats,
diamond studs and all that.
And I was to be
an American negro worker.
And we were
told to eliminate
the kiss at the finish.
Well, we tried it that way
and they didn't laugh.
We worked at it
and worked at it,
but they didn't laugh.
I mean, you can
understand that without
the unexpected kiss
at the finish,
it was no good.
You have your
permit with you?
Yes, sir.
You'll hand it
over to the sergeant.
Will it be
given back to me?
Without that permit,
the circus can't
continue to move.
That will depend.
Mr. Chief Inspector,
I am not a political man.
You will do well
to become one.
I've been with the circus
in this country since
I was born.
I was here
when we were ruled
by an emperor in Vienna.
I was a performer under the
Masaryk and Benes republics,
and even under
the Nazi tyranny.
My circus
isn't much anymore,
and heaven knows
there are better
clowns than I.
All I ask is to be allowed
to continue as a performer.
You have
shown disobedience
which approaches treason.
I've never
been a traitor.
In the past month,
I've given seven
shows free
for the soldiers
of our army.
You were ordered to give
those shows, were you not?
Yes, sir, but
I was glad to do it.
I must warn you,
Karel Cernik,
that you will
obey the instructions
that have been given you.
You will obey them
within 48 hours,
or you'll be transferred
to a field of activity
where you can do more
constructive work
and less damage.
But my circus!
Your circus?
You've already forgotten
it's no longer your circus!
It's the property
of the state!
It'll be
subject to liquidation and
its properties turned over
to your competitor,
Vladislav Barovik,
who has been far more
intelligent in his ability
to accommodate himself
and his circus to the
party line.
Now, pay a fine of 100 koruna
for failing to do as you
were told.
You pay the
lieutenant outside,
and then you may go.
But we shall be calling
upon you again within
48 hours.
(WHISPERING) The duchess.
Hmm? Oh!
And when you do,
we expect that you will
have gotten rid
of your La Duchesse.
Yes, sir.
What'll she do?
How will she live?
That's neither
here nor there.
Just throw her out.
Dismiss her. That's all.
Oh, Cernik.
One moment.
What about that
radio receiver?
What about it, sir?
Is it equipped
with a condensator?
I'm afraid I don't
know what that is, sir.
Surely you're
a good mechanic, Cernik.
You know that
a condensator enables you
to bring in
shortwave broadcasts.
I never
listen to them, sir.
I wouldn't think of it.
I'm sure
you wouldn't.
But as long as the radio
is there, others might.
I advise you,
just to be on
the safe side
with the police,
smash your condensator.
Remove temptation.
Just look through it.
Check it.
I know
where the radio
section would be.
If it's in the file,
it would be back here.
Thank you, sir.
May I go now?
You may go.
There we are.
There's nothing in the
dossier here about
a radio set.
Isn't there?
Well, sir,
what did you think?
You made a botch
of the interrogation.
In what way, sir?
I'm not aware
that I had departed
from my instructions.
You told him the circus
belonged to the state.
Don't you realize
there is no state?
The circus and everything,
but everything, belongs
to the people.
That's how you
should have said it.
Ah-ha, yes, sir.
I can see my error now, sir.
Thank you for pointing it
out to me.
I'm not going
to worry about
this man Cernik.
He seems to me a dull,
uncomplicated clown.
Is that what you think,
Commissar Sergeant?
And what do you think,
Comrade Fesker?
I think
that this man Cernik
is far from uncomplicated.
Granted that he
has never known anything
but the life of the circus.
he's an imbecile.
I have
a feeling that beneath
the deceptive exterior,
he is profoundly
shrewd, subtle.
There's something in the back
of his mind that might
make me...
He's a dedicated man
with an exalted sense
of individuality.
He deserves to be watched.
Where will that circus
be tomorrow?
Still in Volary.
I'll have a look at it.
The Ministerium of Propaganda
and their perversities of
human nature.
All of those
superior gentlemen
end up in treason
to the party.
He'd like nothing better
than to make fools of us.
Well, Comrade, if he's
going to be watching that
flea-bitten little circus,
I'll see to it
somebody's watching him.
M. 4-2.
He's here.
God be praised.
Get into your own outfit.
I'll be ready in time.
There's no doubt
about it now.
The police have had
a spy in this outfit.
We'll find out.
Tell the others to meet in
the ticket wagon right
after the show.
Come on.
Come on, Pasha. Come on.
Come on. Come on, Caesar.
Good evening, Mr. Cernik.
Mr. Cernik.
What's the trouble, Rudolf?
I know they're
all telling you...
Telling me what?
But it isn't my fault.
I can swear to that.
Please, Mr. Cernik. Please.
Keep her away from me.
Rudolf Hubmann, you're the
last good lion tamer left
in this country.
If it weren't for that fact,
I should take great pleasure
in killing you.
Mr. Cernik,
the curse of my life is
that I'm a handsome man.
There's your cue.
Get on with your act.
LA DUCHESSE: Who is it?
It's me, Cernik.
I must speak to you.
I am occupied
at the moment.
Even so,
I have to speak to you.
I can hear you
quite distinctly
from where you are, Cernik.
I've been to
the police in Plzen.
I hope you spat in
their faces.
No. They were the big police,
the SNB.
There was an official there
from the Propaganda
Ministerium in Prague.
Swine. Every one of them.
They told me
I must dismiss
you from the circus.
I am informing you
that you're dismissed
as of tomorrow.
You will have
two weeks' pay.
Haven't you anything to say?
Go away.
KAREL: Madame.
Go away.
Madame, the dismissal
is canceled.
Maybe they'll
forget about it,
or maybe I'll think of
something to tell them.
But you're not
gonna leave my circus.
Not as long as I'm manager.
Will you please burn
that flag?
TEREZA: Joe. Joe,
let's go for a walk.
No, I can't.
I got work to do.
Joe, come on.
Joe, come on.
There's your father.
There's your father.
Let's go for a walk.
What do you...
What do you know
about this Joe Vosdek?
Not much.
He's one of those
displaced people.
I think the Gestapo
killed his father.
You ever talk to him?
Not much. Only about work.
Keeps to himself.
Got any friends
that you know of?
You know yourself.
Miss Tereza seems to
be friends with him.
Uncle! Kalka! Kalka!
What's he been up to now?
Kalka stole something,
and Konradin wants to
kill him.
Give it back to me,
or I'll kill you!
Get the fire hose.
That'll bring him down.
Get the hose.
No, no, no!
Never mind the hose.
What was stolen,
My crucifix.
He stole it.
I saw him with it.
It's my crucifix.
I didn't steal it.
I believe you, Kalka!
You believe him.
I'll cut him in half!
KAREL: Get off that rope!
Come down off that!
Come down here!
Come down here!
Come down.
Come on, Konradin.
Get down off of that rope.
Get off that rope!
Come down!
Now, get out of here,
all of you. You go to bed.
You'll get it back from him.
Mr. Cernik?
Yes, yes.
You'll get it back?
And I'll see you in
the ticket wagon later.
Now, Kalka, come down.
Come down!
Come on down, Kalka.
He won't beat you.
He can get a job
with Barovik's circus.
Mr. Barovik himself
offered him a job.
When did you
see Barovik?
Mr. Barovik
has a real circus.
He has four elephants.
Come down!
You won't be beaten.
You promise?
Do you swear that?
Come on down, Kalka.
He won't beat you.
All right. Come on.
Give me the crucifix.
Now you can pack your little
bag and go to Barovik and
his four elephants.
You can't do that, Karel.
This circus is
bad enough already.
If you lose Kalka...
Here. Now, get out.
If you lose Kalka...
Come on! Get out!
At last you found
someone you're not
afraid of, a dwarf.
How'd they find out?
That's what I've
been wondering. How?
No one who knows about it
except the six of us here,
my wife and daughter.
Whenever it's turned on,
it's so low that
no one outside the trailer
could possibly hear it.
No, I...
I just
cannot suspect
any one of you.
Perhaps I should,
but I can't do it.
What about Zama?
My wife is my wife.
We leave her out
of this discussion.
Our lives
are at stake, Cernik.
We can't leave anybody out.
If she could
betray you in one way...
I can forgive you
for that only because
you don't know what
you're talking about.
So that disposes of everyone
except my daughter.
Tereza? That's impossible.
Thank you, Jaromir,
and you're right.
But she's a child.
She may have
talked to someone.
She may
have innocently told
someone what we listen to.
And who is that someone?
She talks to
that silent young man
who handles the horses.
Joe Vosdek?
Joe Vosdek.
So he's the spy.
Who'd be more likely?
We don't know anything
about him.
Where he came from,
who are his friends.
As far as I know, he never
sends a letter or
receives one.
But there are lots of people
we don't know anything about.
That's always the way
with the circus.
They come and they go,
and we don't ask
any questions.
Do you think he's learned
anything definite?
No, I don't think so.
But I have a feeling that
everything's closing in
around us.
You know that I've never been
backward in my loyalty to you.
I'd go along with you
wherever you'd lead.
But now,
you look at that
map and you dream.
You seem to have
lost the power of action.
You've let that woman
take the heart out...
That's enough, Konradin!
Now, get out!
I'm going with you.
No, you're not.
You don't know
where I'm going.
You don't even know who I am.
I don't care.
I know you're the only man
I've ever loved, ever wanted.
And after today,
I know that you
love me, too.
You've got to love me, Joe,
and take me with you.
Terez. The first night
that it's cloudy and
no moon,
I'm gonna try to
slip across the frontier
into the American zone.
Where's the frontier?
We're very near it right now.
We'll be near it for the
next few days.
Why do you
want to do this?
Look at that, Terez.
You know what that is.
It's what is
known as a dog tag.
When my outfit was stationed
near Plymouth in England,
some of us had these things
tattooed on us.
We always felt
it was a great joke.
We said, "Unless
this arm gets blown off,
"they'll always be
able to identify
my grave."
Oh, stop.
What were you
doing in England?
I was in the American army.
You're an American. A spy.
Be a lot better than
what I am, a deserter.
A lousy deserter.
I'm a Czech, Terez. I was
born and brought up here.
Here. And when I was 14,
my father, he saw what
was coming.
Munich. The Nazis.
He got my mother and me
and my little sister
out of the country.
He got us to America.
And he stayed behind
to close up his business.
It was a little
factory near Deroun.
He never got out.
Anyway, while
I was in America,
I learned to think
like an American,
to be an American.
But I was still a Czech.
And I always thought
the day might come
when I could do something
to help liberate my country
and find my father.
The day of liberation did
come, Terez, and I was here.
I asked for a pass to go to
Deroun to look for my father.
They couldn't give it to me
because Deroun was beyond
the Russian lines.
So I thought,
"Why not go AWOL
for just a few days?"
It was easy to get
civilian clothes then.
Everything was confused.
When I got to Deroun,
it was nothing but ruins.
So I walked to another town
just beyond it.
And I knew I wasn't
any longer just AWOL.
I was a deserter.
I couldn't get
back to the Americans.
They'd already
left Czechoslovakia.
But the Russians didn't leave.
My darling Joe.
I worked at all kind of jobs.
I even worked for the
Red Army for a while.
Can you imagine?
I took care of their horses,
and I repaired their vehicles.
And when the circus came along
and your father offered me
this job,
I jumped at the opportunity,
because this
was the chance
I was waiting for.
See, this way
I could keep on traveling
and keep on hoping
I'd find what I was
looking for.
Did you?
A man who'd been in the
same concentration camp,
he knew my father was dead.
But he didn't
know how he died.
Maybe the gas chamber.
Anyway, I'm glad
he didn't know.
Look, Terez.
I want you to
know just one thing.
One of these
mornings you'll wake up,
you'll find that I'm gone.
TEREZA: I'm going with you.
But I want you to
know that I'll always...
I'll never forget you.
I'm going with
you wherever you go
I'll go with you.
I'll always be
grateful for this.
Tereza, come here.
I love him.
And nothing on God's earth
will take me away from him.
Go with your father, Terez.
I don't want to
cause you any unhappiness,
but you're making a mistake.
Much bigger than
you could possibly know.
You're my child,
and I've loved you since
the instant you were born.
You've got
to believe me.
And you think
I'm still the same
sweet little bundle
of innocence I was then.
Well, I've grown up.
I'm a woman and I'm
going to act like one.
Perhaps it would be
a good idea for you
to pay more
attention to your wife
and see what she's up to.
Wait a minute, Kalka.
I want to
wish you good luck.
Are you
gonna have breakfast,
or am I gonna practice?
Keep your eye
on the target.
Send Cernik here.
Mr. Barovik wants
to see him.
(GASPS) Huh?
What do you want,
I have one or two
business matters
to discuss.
I'm busy.
And I think
it advisable
to talk in private.
Step into my office.
Never mind your bodyguards.
Nobody's gonna attack you.
Good. 'Cause it
would be a mistake.
I'm not armed.
I don't need to be.
Now, Barovik... Incidentally,
where'd you get that outfit?
What do you do, change
your clothes with
the regime?
A man's got to live.
What possible business
could you have with
me, Barovik?
Plenty, my friend. Plenty.
Don't insult me by
calling me your friend.
What skullduggery
are you up to now?
Listen to the master.
Now what
I want to know, Cernik,
is how much of your show
do you really think
that you can take
with you?
With me? Where?
Over the border,
into the American zone.
Into paradise.
What are you talking about?
I'm talking about your plan.
Your wild, crazy,
but I must admit,
amusing plan
to break through
the Iron Curtain
as that railroad
train did last year.
You discussed it last night.
Had a meeting right here
in this ticket wagon.
Present were your
fellow conspirators,
your cousin
Jaromir and the rest.
I know all the names.
You told them about
your visit to Plzen.
You said that
you thought there must be
a police spy in your troupe.
You suspect the young man,
Joe somebody or other.
Your plan is to
filter across the border by
degrees, in the dead of night,
somewhere in
the wild country
between Tachov and Moravsky.
You'll send
an elephant here,
an acrobat there,
sneaking through the woods
where the sentries can't
cover every inch.
You figure on some losses,
but you think that within
three nights,
you'll have the bulk
of your circus across.
Where'd you get
this information?
Not that you'd tell me.
Your floorboards
are old and loose.
Sound seeps
through the cracks,
and a little man crouching
under the wagon...
I asked him why he brought
the information to me
rather than to the police.
Fortunately for you,
the little dwarf
is even more terrified
of the police than you are.
I locked him up.
You needn't be afraid of him
talking for the time being.
In fact, you have nothing
to be afraid of except me.
Got a match?
What do you want
out of me, Barovik?
Nothing whatsoever.
I merely came to
warn an old friend.
For God's sake, Barovik.
Tell me what you want.
No more than
the leavings, Cernik.
Certainly you don't imagine
to get your whole show across.
No. I shall be
leaving the tents.
All of them.
Are they in
good condition?
Is anything in good
condition these days?
Very well.
I accept the tents.
The seating.
You can have the seating.
The equipment?
You can have all
the heavy equipment.
The lions?
Think I'd leave any
of my performers behind?
You can
have the wolves.
They don't perform.
But you'll have
to round them up.
I'm gonna release them
at the frontier to
create a diversion.
You've worked this
down to the last detail,
haven't you, my friend?
For three years,
I've been thinking
about nothing else.
I told the police in Plzen
that I'm not political,
and that's the truth.
But when they try to force
their politics on my circus,
on my show,
then I must fight them.
If I'm
not able to fight them,
I must escape from them.
And I'll make that attempt,
whatever the cost.
Cernik, I've always given you
credit for being a good
circus man.
And all circus men are fools,
otherwise we wouldn't be
in the business.
But, you know, you're
the biggest fool of us all.
Don't you realize that
your plan is now impossible?
They've cut down every tree.
They've demolished every house
for the depth of a mile
all along the border.
They've mined every field.
They've put up three rows
of barbed wire fences,
one of them electrified.
I learned
all that yesterday on
my way back from Plzen.
I'm not gonna
try to filter across.
I'm going
the direct route,
right down the road.
And all at once.
It's impossible.
The very fact
that it's impossible
could work to our advantage.
When are you gonna try it?
Tomorrow? Friday?
Today? Are you ready?
No. But with
you in possession of
the secret and Kalka,
I couldn't run
the risk of any delay.
I know I couldn't trust you
any further than I could see.
We'll make the dash
this afternoon.
Yeah, I got to do
it in broad daylight.
That's the one thing
they'd never expect.
Life won't seem
nearly as interesting with
you in your grave, Cernik.
Everything's changing.
You know that
wonderful rope act
I used to do?
Oh! That one.
No, no. The one I
used to do personally.
You know what they've done?
They made me take it out.
No. Why?
They said it was western.
Oh, shh!
What's worse, American.
Oh, I know. I know.
No. No, thanks.
Well, I'll be sorry
to lose you, Cernik.
Well, who knows?
A miracle might happen
and a few of you
might get through alive.
Wait a minute.
You and I better
have a fight.
A fight?
Yes. You hit me. I hit you.
We roll on the floor,
knock over furniture,
break things,
make an uproar.
But why?
The spies in
the circus will report
to the police that
you and I have had
another of our
little disagreements.
you'll be suspected, too.
What are you smiling at?
Are you sure you're
in condition for a fight?
Never mind that.
Never mind that.
The police will
be alerted for trouble,
but not the real trouble.
Come on.
Come on, Barovik.
Don't just stand there
laughing out of your
ugly mouth.
Why, you couldn't even
get through a mock fight.
We'll see about that.
Come on.
With pleasure.
Wait a minute, Barovik.
First I have to ask
you a question.
For as long as we've
known each other...
Out of breath already.
...which is quite
a number of years,
you've been hoping
and praying I'd fall off
that tightrope
and break my neck.
That's correct.
Now you know
enough about me to have
me arrested and tortured
and hanged,
thrown in the lion pit.
That's correct, too.
Then why'd you come here
and go through
all this rigmarole of
making a business deal?
Why didn't you just
turn me in to the police
and take all of my
circus for nothing?
You mean to say you couldn't
answer that question yourself?
You'd do exactly
the same thing if you
put yourself in my place.
I don't want to
put myself in your place,
Barovik. Answer the question.
Why are you
suddenly acting
like a decent person?
Cernik, it's true.
I have no more love
for you than you have for me.
We would both cheerfully
rob each other or cut
each other's throats.
But we are
together on one thing.
We're both circus men.
First, last, and always.
We hate the government,
and we hate the police.
And when it
comes to a question of
the circus against the law,
you know which side I'm on.
Mmm, that's right.
I see that.
That makes sense.
Well, you ready?
Hmm? Oh, yeah. Fight.
All right. Hit me.
No. You gotta start.
No, no, no. Please.
Please. You hit me.
It was your suggestion.
No, but just hit me, please.
As a matter of fact,
I sprained my hand
last week.
I'm terribly sorry.
Then push me. Push me.
Wait a minute.
Not my window.
I just said
break the furniture.
Oh, you didn't need to
do that. Not on my face.
Cernik, open the door.
Cernik. Cernik!
Open the door!
Cernik, open the door!
Cernik, open the door!
Take that, Cernik!
The great Barovik.
The greatest rope act
of all time!
So you didn't
like my rope act, eh?
No! That's a present.
My 25th jubilee.
Cernik. Cernik.
Open the door.
Cernik. Cernik!
Cernik. Open it.
Open it. Cernik.
Cernik, Cernik.
Open the door.
You think that's enough?
I think that
should be about enough.
Little statue all right?
Yeah, it's intact.
And I think you'd better...
A little more. Yeah, yeah.
Give me some of that.
Sure. Help yourself.
How's that look? Yeah?
That looks pretty good.
You better take
your coat off.
Be more convincing.
Yeah, yeah.
What about your
collar and your tie?
Yeah. Thanks.
And I'll send
the trucks to Mikulov.
All right.
I'll pick them up there.
Wait a minute.
Here we are.
Yeah. Yeah.
That's a good touch.
Yeah. Yeah, that's good.
That's good. Thanks.
Good luck, Cernik.
Same to you. Same to you.
Don't forget your revolver.
My revolver.
Here it is. Here.
Would you kindly
return my matches?
I forgot all about them.
It's perfectly all right.
But, you know,
I feel much better.
Do you?
Much. Let's go.
KAREL: Get out. Get out.
If you ever come around
my circus again, Barovik,
I'll feed you to the wolves!
You haven't heard the
last of this, Cernik!
Not by a long shot!
Leave him alone.
Don't lay a hand on him.
Let him go.
They won't
trouble us again.
Karel, are you hurt?
Of course I'm hurt.
Jaromir, Konradin.
TEREZA: Are you all right?
Yeah. Vosdek.
Excuse me, please. We move.
As fast as possible.
We haven't got enough
gas to get to Yudice.
We got enough to
get to the frontier.
But you're sentencing
every one of us to death.
We're dead now.
This is our last chance
to be alive again.
Now get to work.
What about the others?
Should we assemble and
tell them?
No, no.
If we get across
and any are foolish enough
to want to come back,
they're free to do so.
They'll all get killed.
That's liberation, too.
Vosdek. Go on. Go on.
Yes, sir.
Vosdek, the tent wagons
move out two hours ahead
of the rest of the circus.
I want you to go with them,
take charge of them.
I have other
work for Krofta.
We'll meet in Mikulov.
Yes, sir.
I'm going with you, Joe.
No, you're not.
I'm scared, Joe.
I'm scared you'll
try to make
your escape before the
rest of us catch up
with you.
In daylight? No, Terez.
Joe, I'm going with you.
What did Barovik
want of you?
Your hide?
He came as a friend.
Ha! A friend.
He gave you a good beating,
all right.
What made you decide
to stop being a man
and turn into
a crawling little worm?
When I first met you,
you were a great man.
Circus Cernik was
famous all over Europe.
Kings and queens asked you
to perform at their courts.
The greatest
circus people came to you.
Ringling, Hagenback, Krone.
They wanted to
study at Circus Cernik,
and maybe steal from it.
And now look at you.
You let Barovik beat you.
You let the police beat you.
Why don't
you stand up to them
like a man? Why? Why?
You haven't even got
enough spirit to answer me.
Those tent wagons have
gotta move out by 10:00.
Tell them to put
every man they can on it.
Speed up the loading.
All right.
You know why I did that.
You should have
done it a long time ago.
And swings. He connects.
There it goes.
It's still going.
A long, hard-hit ball.
It's in there.
It's a home run.
SOLDIER: What happened?
I wonder what that is
they're drinking up there.
Every day the same rations.
Let me take a look.
Here comes scooter
Rizzuto to the plate.
Roe shakes his
head at Campanella.
He seems a little
jittery out there now.
I don't know what it is.
Some kind of Schnapps.
I wonder what it is
they're drinking.
Hello. Hello.
Hello. Three men. Civilians.
Yes? Yes.
All right. Captain, sir.
Three men, civilians,
in a jeep at Sentry
Point 152.
Tell them to find out
who they are.
Yes, sir.
SOLDIER: All right.
What was that?
Must mean they've seen us
from the watchtower.
Hello? Sentry Point 152.
Sentry Point 152.
I must remember that.
They are circus people.
Name is Circus Cernik.
Their papers are in order.
Yes. Yes.
Their papers
are in order.
Their circus will pass later
today along the road from
Volary to Mikulov.
They must always
reconnoiter travel routes
to find suitable places for
resting and watering
the animals.
That's their problem.
Let me eat.
It's all right.
Just stand facing me
so you can see
down the hill.
Don't keep
looking in one direction.
Give me a cigarette, Jaromir.
We're being
watched from above.
Just chat casually.
That river
is the frontier.
The moment
we go over this crest,
we'll be
plainly visible
from down there.
Those long, low
buildings are
the barracks.
All along the river,
there are rows of
barbed wire,
electrified wire as well.
Mines, too.
The road's clear.
The bridge is clear.
There's a ditch
across the road.
They know it's
utterly impossible
for anyone to
escape at this point.
That's to our advantage.
There's Bavaria.
Good day to you, sir.
I want you to
release the wolves
when you approach
the command post
at the frontier.
Right, sir.
That'll be
the signal for the bomb,
and full speed ahead.
We'll abandon
every vehicle we can.
All the animals
except the cats.
We'll proceed the last stage
of the way on foot.
What's this?
What's this?
Why aren't they busy loading?
Because I don't like it.
You don't like...
This is
a fine time to find out
you don't like the work
you've been doing
with me for 20 years.
May I have a word
with you, Mr. Cernik?
Are we moving? Good.
We're moving.
Make it quick, Krofta.
We're in a hurry.
Mr. Cernik,
what's the meaning
of all these changes?
We're heading for Mikulov.
We should be
going to Yudice in
the opposite direction.
I have orders to
give a show for troops.
Well, then why isn't Jaromir
going ahead to pick out
the lot,
the way he usually does?
Why aren't I with the
tent wagons where I belong?
Why have you put
Vosdek in my place?
What does he know
about canvas?
No, Mr. Cernik, there's
something going on around
here, and I don't like it.
I haven't time
to explain the whole
thing to you, Krofta.
I made a deal
with Barovik.
A very satisfactory deal.
I have to keep it quiet
for the time being.
So, get on
with your work.
Do the police
know about this?
This is of no interest
to the police.
Have you got a permit
for Mikulov?
Of course I have.
You think I'd be...
Let me see it.
Let me see it.
Krofta, have you forgotten
who's the boss of this troupe?
No, Mr. Cernik.
But I'm afraid you've
forgotten something,
something very important.
These aren't the old days.
You don't own this
circus anymore.
You don't own me.
I'm the leader
of the tent men,
the real workers
in this circus.
And I'm telling you for
your own good, Mr. Cernik.
You're headed for serious
trouble if you don't change
these orders you've give...
Get some cord.
Tie him up. Gag him.
So he's the one.
Of course he is.
He said the tent men are
the only real workers in
this circus.
That means the rest
of us are parasites.
All we do is
entertain the people.
Poor unhappy people.
My old friend.
Twenty years.
He'd have turned me in.
Shove him
under the tool bench.
Put some canvas over him.
Get these men working.
I want this whole thing
loaded by the time
I get back.
Be about an hour.
MAN: Where's Krofta?
Vosdek takes
charge of the tent wagons.
That means I get rid of him.
Krofta did me a good turn.
Reminded me I haven't
a travel permit for Mikulov.
I'm going to the district
police station to get it.
So, while I'm away...
Good morning, sir.
I hear you had a visit
from your old friend Barovik.
Not an entirely
friendly visit either.
It was
merely a little argument.
What can I do for you, sir?
Nothing, really.
I just wanted to
have a look around.
Isn't that your mother?
I seem to recall she
was a performer, too.
She was once known
as the strongest
woman in Europe.
Didn't she work with lions?
Oh, yes, 18 male lions.
Oh, yes.
I'd really like to
look around a little.
we're just about to move.
It's all interesting.
I'll get someone
to show you around.
I'm very sorry, but I have
to go to the district
police station.
Why, it's merely a matter of
making out the usual forms
for a travel permit.
Haven't you
a travel permit yet?
Yes. Yes,
but there's been
a change of plan.
We're going
to Mikulov today.
I see.
I'll accompany you
to the police station.
So, good-bye.
Bring him up.
Bring that
circus man up here.
MAN: Cernik.
I was right.
We looked here
and they looked at
headquarters in Plzen.
We can't find anything
about a change in
route for this circus.
Why do you want
to go to Mikulov?
Circus Barovik
is in that region.
You want to set
up in competition?
No, sir, nothing like that.
Barovik and I are
making some trades.
I have some...
Have you and Barovik
agreed on this?
Yes, sir,
we've agreed
on everything.
But you said you
had a disagreement.
Yes, sir, I know, but...
Why did you
fight with him?
We always fight,
just for old time's sake.
Even when
there's no cause for it.
Why are you
so nervous, Cernik?
Well, sir, it's difficult to
be completely at ease in the
presence of the police.
It's so easy to imagine
all sorts of crimes
that do not exist.
You are right, Cernik.
It is easy to imagine.
What is not easy is arriving
at the precise facts.
But you need not worry.
We wish no harm to you
or your circus.
We are fully aware that
you are performing a service
to the party by
promoting morale.
We are not as rigid
as we seem to be.
We know that
there must be a place
in the system for circuses,
as well as doctrines.
You will go outside and wait.
But I've got to
have that permit,
sir, and right away.
If we don't get
on the road soon...
You were told to
go outside and wait.
A highly unskilled liar.
In fact, he's what used
to be known as an honest man.
Do you agree?
Yes, Comrade Fesker.
An honest man.
And therefore dangerous.
I am now convinced
that this Cernik
is on the verge
of making a serious,
perhaps fatal mistake.
The thing to do is
to let him make it,
and then we can take
appropriate measures.
So give him his permit.
But I'm not sure, sir,
that I have authority
for that.
Don't worry, Captain.
I'll take full responsibility.
Get me the Commissar
Sergeant at 42-M, Plzen.
Margaret, take the baby.
Thank God he's there.
Come on.
Give you the permit?
They gave it to me.
I don't know why.
Did they question you?
They questioned me
for the last time.
Do they suspect something?
Yes, but I don't think
they're sure just what
it is they suspect.
Get a little gas put in this,
and have it coupled
to my trailer.
Krofta all right?
Conscious but helpless.
I hope
he has a safe
journey to Bavaria.
Isn't that
overdoing it a little?
Get into your other outfit.
Rudolf. Why aren't you ready?
We're about to roll.
I'm ready, sir.
Leo, the cages.
All right, Rudolf.
By the way,
we must be prepared
for some trouble today.
I swear to you
there is nothing between
Madam Cernik and me. Nothing.
I know there isn't.
That isn't what
I'm talking about.
We're going to cross the path
of the Circus Barovik today.
I want you to put live
ammunition in your pistol.
There may be shooting.
If any of Barovik's men
should take a shot at you,
threaten to open the cage
and let the cats out.
But don't, under any
circumstances, do it.
We can't afford to
lose them, or you either.
Don't worry, Mr. Cernik.
I haven't learnt
to use the whip for nothing.
Just stay in the cage
with the lions.
You'll be safe in there.
I know you're
a miserable coward, Rudolf.
Outside of the lions' cage,
of course.
What's the matter, Karel?
You look happy.
I look that way because
that's the way I feel.
I want some coffee.
I'm starving.
You sit down.
I'll make it for you.
Where's Tereza?
Somewhere about.
I saw her a few minutes ago.
What are all the flags for?
Is it some kind of holiday?
That's what it is.
Give me some bread, Zama.
There's something
going on here,
and you're very
pleased about it.
What is it?
I'm disobeying
my own orders.
You remember
how I'd listen
to the broadcasts?
About all those
people who've escaped?
About that railroad train
that broke through?
I knew that was what
you had in your mind.
I've known it
for a long time.
But I never dreamed
you'd ever have
the courage to do it.
Karel, when do we go?
Few minutes.
I'll be ready.
The tent wagons
left two hours ago.
I know.
You'll never see them again.
I know, I know.
I couldn't risk the frontier
with all that heavy stuff.
Of course you couldn't.
I sent Vosdek with them
so he'd be out of
our lives forever.
He's gone for good.
Tereza went with him
on the tent wagon.
You told me
you'd just seen her.
I know I did. I was lying.
She went with Vosdek?
Oh, boy.
Oh, my God.
Karel. Karel,
how could she know?
How could I know?
Get out. Get out.
Don't be cruel to her.
Understand her.
KONRADIN: We're ready.
Are you giving the
signal to roll?
KAREL: Roll. Roll.
Roll. Roll.
Where are you going?
Going to go over
the Mikulov road
to the tent wagons.
Why in the name of...
Tereza. She went with Vosdek.
KONRADIN: Let's go.
Come on. Let's roll.
You'll proceed as planned
to the bivouac point.
Wait there.
What is this?
Tereza. She went with Vosdek.
Water the horses, feed them.
Do anything to
make it look normal.
You can't leave us now.
I'll be back in time.
We're rolling.
I'll be back in time.
Let the girl go.
What did you say?
Take your hands off me.
We're rolling.
Let them roll. Come on.
Roll them.
Roll them.
Let them roll.
Let them roll. Come on.
Where is she?
She's not here.
Don't play jokes
with me, Vosdek.
Where is she?
She's not here, Mr. Cernik.
Not here, eh?
Mr. Cernik, I didn't know.
I didn't...
Joe. Joe. Joe,
are you all right?
Are you all right?
Joe, I'm never
gonna leave you.
You're coming with me now.
He'd have given us
all to the police.
He's an American soldier.
He's hiding from the police.
You don't know what
you're talking about.
He's an American. Look.
There's the proof.
He's going
across the frontier.
He's going
back to the Americans,
and I'm going with him.
Is that true?
I'm going to try.
Then get into the jeep.
I told you,
get into that jeep.
I can use you.
I'm gonna try it myself.
TEREZA: Come on. Come on.
We're going.
I'll be ready.
Don't gather.
Keep at your work.
I'll talk to you
one at a time.
Everything in order?
I hope so.
Have you decided if
the situation's right?
The road down there is clear.
We're going.
But what are we going
to do about this guard?
Would you
take a chance
on firing a shot?
Talk to Vosdek.
He'll attend to it.
It's starting.
Don't seem to
be watching.
He's trained in
this kind of thing.
Here, Heidi. Come, Heidi.
Here, Heidi. Come.
Get away. Get away.
Get this dog away.
JOE: Yes, sir.
Right away, sir.
Come on. Come, Heidi.
Get out. Get this dog away.
Take this dog away.
Take the...
into his uniform.
On your horses. Help her up.
Tereza, why aren't you
dressed? Hurry.
Bratislav, load them in.
Give the instructions about
taking cover behind
the sandbags.
If there's shooting,
they must keep down,
even if they're piled
on top of each other.
Tell them to make
the children keep down.
Konradin, have you got
my trailer at the end
of the line?
It's there, Cernik.
We're not taking
the commissary.
We're not taking
any of the trailers
except the animals.
Ditch the others.
You know you won't
be able to take that.
I know, sir.
Vosdek. Vosdek.
You ride on top
of the first car.
Try to look official,
as if you were escorting us.
If they ask any questions,
you don't know anything
except that
you're obeying orders
that came though from Plzen.
Yes, sir.
Watch out for Tereza.
Jaromir, give Joe the bomb
and his instructions.
All right, Karel,
but the chances are...
It's homemade,
so be careful with it.
Chances are...
it may not work at all,
or it may go off too soon.
Hey, you look pretty good.
Yeah. Real sharp.
You ready?
Yes, sir. Yes.
Vosdek will
give you the signal.
When the Chinaman
releases the wolves
at the command post,
Step on it.
Hit that barrier as hard
as you can and keep going.
Don't leave any block
for Tereza and the ponies.
Yes, sir.
But at the start,
the pace is slow.
Slow, yeah.
When they see us
creeping down that hill
at the pace of the elephants,
they'll be certain
we can't be trying
anything desperate.
You see? Kalka's back.
I've noticed.
I am back, Mr. Cernik.
So I see.
Let me come with you.
They travel
at a very slow pace
because of the elephants.
I'll have some men from
the Volary station with me,
and I want you to
alert the Mikulov
Can I count on you? Good.
I guess we're ready.
You all know
your responsibilities.
I'll give the command
to roll from the back.
Listen, Cernik.
I still say you should be
at the head of the procession.
You should
lead us across.
He thinks if anybody
gets left behind,
it should be him.
You know how it is on the sea.
The captain's always the last.
But the elephants
should be last.
They're the slowest.
But he wants
to be the last one
to cross the frontier.
We'll see.
Sentry Point 152.
Krofta. I thought you were
down with the tent wagon.
Still here.
They say
they have orders
to give a free show.
Yes, sir. Right.
Cut the wire.
Good afternoon,
Commissar Sergeant.
I'm going after that circus.
You're coming with me.
Possibly beyond Plzen.
Have you a warrant
for my arrest?
And the charges? Of course,
you've been ordered not to
tell me anything.
Don't worry. There'll
be plenty of charges.
I know.
I was sure that sooner or
later you'd exceed your
authority. You have.
You ordered the granting of
an illegal permit to that
circus. Get in the car.
Will you send some
men after that circus?
We'll take care
of it in due time.
It's got to be now.
They're planning an escape.
Where did you
get that idea from?
Where did I get it?
From my fertile
imagination, Sergeant.
I tried to think
like a circus man.
Tell my superiors
all about it in Prague.
From now on, Fesker, you need
not worry about anything,
except yourself.
I understand.
Sooner or later,
it happens to all of us.
We're going, Zama.
All I have to do
is give the word.
Give the word, Karel.
I'm ready.
It's one of two things.
It's the end for us,
or it's the beginning.
Now, Cernik,
give the order to stop.
Give the order to stop
this criminal escape.
Give the order.
It's too late, Krofta.
No, it's not too late.
Give the order.
Just stop and think
what you're doing.
I've heard enough, Cernik.
I've heard enough
in that trailer to...
Traitor. Traitor. Traitor!
Krofta, you've got to be
reasonable about this thing.
You're a traitor!
Then why don't you
shoot me?
Because it's my duty
to turn you over
to the police,
so they can get out of you
all the details of this plot.
Now, give the order!
Well, if you can
convince me...
you're asking for death.
I've done that already.
I can get you mercy.
Did you think what could
happen to your wife?
Give the order.
Your daughter...
You give the order.
Your circus...
ZAMA: Get out!
Jaromir. Jaromir.
KAREL: Konradin. Konradin.
Yes, sir? What is it?
Get the circus rolling.
I will. I will.
Get them rolling.
Roll. He said to roll.
This is the Circus Cernik.
This is the Circus Cernik.
KAREL: Slowly.
This is the Circus Cernik.
Look at what they
get for entertainment.
A circus, for Pete's sake.
This is the Circus Cernik.
Tower reports an SNB man
on lead vehicle of circus,
traveling at slow rate.
Followed by horses and
vehicles which appear
to be animal cages.
Two elephants.
Headquarters. Why couldn't
they have given me notice?
Put through a call to Plzen.
Yes, sir.
Now, what am I supposed
to do with a circus?
Morale show.
Will somebody please tell me
where I am to find a place
for them?
This is the Circus Cernik.
Did you get headquarters?
The line seems to be dead.
I can't raise anything.
Send a man to question
the guard with the circus.
Do it yourself.
And find out
what his orders are.
Holy cow.
What are your orders?
To escort this outfit here.
They're giving a performance
for the personnel.
This is the Circus Cernik.
Your hat, sir.
Sound the alarm!
Take it easy.
Don't get itchy.
Macht nichts to us.
Come! Fast!
Hold your fire!
Hold your fire!
No shooting
across the river!
No shooting across the river!
No shooting across the river!
Stop firing!
SOLDIER: Get that away.
Yes, sir?
Straighten out the picture.
Yes, sir.
Two men here.
Are we over?
Yes. Yes, we're over.
She's all right.
And the elephants?
The lions?
Then we've done it.
We've done it.
You've done it, Karel.
You've won.
You're gonna be well,
and you're gonna be happy.
I'm gonna die, my darling.
Start the parade.
We give
a performance tonight.
We celebrate.
We're free, Zama,
you and I,
the circus.
JOE: It's all right.
It's all right.
Is he dead?
Yes, he's dead.
He got us across,
and he paid for it.
He was glad to pay.
Don't just stand there.
You heard what she said.
Go on.