Before emerging as an actor, Burt Lancaster had spent almost a decade as half of “Lang and Cravat,” an acrobatic duo in the circus. Who better then to walk the tightrope between art and just plain fun? Director Carol Reed's American debut drama is staged inside the Cirque d'hiver, a colossal coliseum in the midst of Paris, adding a bouquet of Big Top to the proceedings. Physically lithe, Lancaster plays Mike Ribble, a bitter circus hand who had once been at the literal top as star of a high-wire act. A fall has brought him down to earth. When the talented newbie Tino Orsini (Tony Curtis in the first of several pairings with Lancaster) requests coaching for the triple somersault, Ribble reluctantly dons his tights. Off to a flying start, the twosome soon attracts the attention of a real trampolinist, Lola, the much-sequined Gina Lollobrigida. But as Ribble's rule states: “one flies and one catches and nobody comes between.” Love is in the air.

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