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Home » The Vine

The Vine: April 9, 2014

Submitted by on April 9, 2014 – 3:02 PM16 Comments


I'm trying to find the name of a movie I saw as a kid and Vine readers are usually able to figure out anything. This has stumped my Facebook friends and my Google skills, including searching IMDB for soundtracks with specific music on it (see my description).

Here's what I know:

1) The plot revolves around a trapeze artist (he might be a tightrope walker, but I'm 99% sure it's trapeze) whose wife used to perform with him until she died during the act. I think he missed a catch and dropped her. He has flashbacks or dreams about her death all the time. (I guess it's possible the woman he dropped was just his performing partner or sister or something, but I'm almost positive it's his wife.)

2) The song "Greensleeves" plays a few times in the movie. It might be a trigger for his flashbacks; I'm not sure. Because of this movie, I have never liked that song (or "What Child Is This") because it makes me think of death. The movie might be set at Christmas, but I might just think that because "Greensleeves" is on a lot of classical Christmas albums.

3) I did not see this movie in a theater; it could have been on Lifetime or something. I'm fairly certain I saw it more than once and despite my negative association with the music, I think I liked the movie.

4) I probably saw it between the ages of 9 and 13, which means it was between 1989 and 1993. I think it was made fairly soon before I saw it; I was a kid who hated any "old" movies, and I remember the clothing and hair seeming fairly contemporary. Could have been made in the '70s, I guess. It's also possible my memory is bad and it was older than that.

5) I do not think it is SET at a circus or that it's really a movie about the circus. That just happens to be what the guy's job was. I don't remember any scenes having anything to do with the circus other than the flashbacks of the wife dying. I don't think you actually see the death. You just see a trapeze and hear screaming. I can't remember exactly how she dies except that she fell. (Why wouldn't they have a safety net? If they did, why didn't it work?) It's not The Greatest Show on Earth, and it's not the made-for-TV movie about the Wallendas.

Every year at Christmas when I start to hear Greensleeves, I think of this movie and get annoyed that it had such an effect on me but I can't remember what it is. Here's hoping you or the Vine readers know what it is.


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  • Katie says:

    Could it be Fun in Acapulco, starring Elvis? It sounds more light-hearted than what you describe, but from descriptions, his character is an ex-trapeze artist who, in the opening scene, is involved in an accident where his partner is seriously injured. I can't find anything about Greensleeves being in it, though.

  • Jobiska says:

    I don't remember hearing Greensleeves in this, but there is a Quantum Leap episode (the run of Quantum Leap is the exact timespan you give) that involves a trapeze artist who feels responsible for his partner's death (because the main character, Sam, "leaps" into different people's lives, it's hard to assign who is what relationship to whom, if you know what I mean). There's a synopsis at IMDB:

  • Jo says:

    Letter writer here. It's not the first one — I would remember if it was an Elvis movie — but that one sounds good. I'll look it up. :)

    Definitely not Quantum Leap. I watched that show religiously and recently rewatched most of the series on Netflix.

    It could be the one Georgia suggested, but I'm fairly certain the main male character was the one performing with his wife when she died.

    It's possible the movie is actually older than I thought it was when I wrote this letter months ago. I might have been talked into watching an old movie if my parents didn't tell me it was old. I know it was in color.

  • Wehaf says:

    I don't know this one, but wikipedia has a page listing movies set in circuses – maybe you film is on it.

  • courtney says:

    hey, Sars, FYI–this isn't tagged with "Vine" so it's not showing up with the other columns. (not that I religiously check the archive page or anything…)

  • Maria says:

    No idea, but it made me think of the movie "Elvira Madigan" and now I want to see it again.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Weird, I'll fix. Thanks!

  • Georgia says:

    I think I found it! (The Juggler of Notre Dame)

  • Jen says:

    I think TN needs a tomato reward system. If there was one, I'd give Georgia a golden tomato, because DAMN!

  • Maria says:

    Holy crap, the movie is even on YouTube.

  • Jo says:

    Nice! I'm not 100% sure it's The Juggler of Notre Dame, but I'm watching on YouTube now and this is very promising. I recognize the opening juggling montage and the dream sequence with the woman falling is definitely what I was picturing. Although I still think the movie I saw was about a trapeze artist. Maybe I saw this but also saw something about a trapeze accident. But this looks super familiar.


  • Sophie says:

    @Jo… This may sound strange, but was your movie by chance a comedy of the "Airplane!" or "Mafia!" or "Hot Shots" persuasion? This sounds really familiar to me, too, and I kind of think it was a B storyline in a silly movie. I can't think of which one, but hoping this comedy angle might ring some bells for someone..

  • Jo says:

    Sophie: Definitely not a comedy. I've watched the whole Juggler of Notre Dame on YouTube and I'm about 99% sure that's it, especially after I saw a scene where they sing "What Child is This," which was what I most strongly associated with the memory of this movie. I sing in church choir every year and hate that song because it always makes me think of the lady dying in the circus. So I know it was sad. But you're not the first person to suggest that of all the people I've asked, so it's not that weird!

    Georgia did well, for sure. I'm impressed.

  • Mic says:

    I was sure it was going to be this one : but I guess not!

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