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Snakes in Movies
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Snakes in Movies
Trapeze (1956)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
Trapeze Trapeze Trapeze
Trapeze Trapeze Trapeze
Trapeze Trapeze Trapeze
This is a wide-screen technicolor circus movie based on a book and directed by Carol Reed who directed the noir classic - The Third Man. This one doesn't have an evil Orson Welles riding on a ferris wheel, but it does have Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, and Gina Lollobridiga swinging on trapezes in a Parisian circus. The three are involved in a love triangle and a competitive circus act.

When a trapeze artist (Tony Curtis) first comes to the circus he asks some of the many performers where he can find Burt Lancaster's character. He meets a man who takes a python out of a box marked "snakes" who tries to sell him three snakes: "Wanna buy a snake act? Three of the sweetest performers that ever circled a torso." The boss of the circus enters and tells the man he hasn't found a buyer for the snakes because "everybody knows this snake killed your brother doing exactly what he's doing now" (it's wrapped around the man's neck and shoulders.) The snake man tells him that the snake is only high spirited. It needs to be keep it warm but his brother let it get too cold. (This is all just more of the usual ridiculous movie information about snakes.)

The man tells someone in a bar that when he first got the snakes he thought about making snakeskin shoes but realized he wouldn't get many out of only three pythons. Later he tells someone that snakes are affectionate animals, especially girl snakes, so he could not sell the snakes individually, only as a group.

Finally it looks like the woman who stands on a horse and jumps through a flaming hoop (Katy Jurado) is going to buy the snakes to start a snake act, but that fizzles out when her husband convinces her to get back on the horse. We never see what happens to the snakes or any part of the snake act. But throughout the movie we keep seeing the man with the snakes or with the snake box. Typically in a movie, when snakes keep reappearing like this, there will be a climactic scene where the snake kills someone or something dramatic happens, but not this time. The snakes and the man were only used as the occasional bit of diversion from the main plot.

The snakes are Burmese pythons and a boa constrictor.