Trapeze is a 1956 circus film directed by Carol Reed and starred Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, and Gina Lollobrigida, making her debut in American films. The film is based on Max Catto's novel The Killing Frost, with the adapted screenplay written by Liam O'Brien.
The film did well at the box office, returning $7.5 million in North American rentals and placing in the top three among the year's top earners.
The plot: Crippled trapeze aerialist and former star Mike Ribble (Burt Lancaster) sees great promise in young, brash Tino Orsini (Tony Curtis). Ribble—only the sixth man to have completed the dangerous triple somersault—thinks his protégé is capable of matching the same feat, but only if he gives him rigorous training. However, Orsini is distracted by the new third member of their circus act, the manipulative Lola (Gina Lollobrigida). Tensions rise as a love triangle forms.
Burt Lancaster, was a circus acrobat in his younger years. He performed many of his own stunts, except for the most dangerous ones (including the climactic triple somersault). The most dangerous one was performed by technical consultant Eddie Ward from the Ringling Brothers Circus.
Trapeze was filmed entirely in Paris: at the Cirque d'Hiver, and at the nearby Billancourt studios.