Dämon Zirkus
(Devil Circus)

Carl on a Trapeze

Directed by Emil Justitz (1922)


     Carl de Vogt (trapeze artist)

     Cläre Lotto

Only part of this movie remains. I do not know who appeared in the movie other than Carl and his wife and am guessing at the story line as I cannot read the Russian intertitles. Also, I'm not sure which actor is Carl's real life wife, Cläre Lotto.

The opening part of the movie shows Carl, a trapeze artist, angry with the female owner of the circus and another man. Finally he shakes hands with her and leaves. We next see a domestic scene with two women and a baby. Carl arrives and he is extremely agitated. He brushes off the women. The movie cuts to the circus owner and the other man arguing and then to Carl and his wife arguing.

Carl and the Circus Owner

We then see Carl doing his trapeze act and then going home to his wife and baby. They are happy and she gives him a wallet and he looks crestfallen (perhaps her/their life's savings?). Carl goes off to a formal dinner party and is seated next to the circus owner. Carl gambles with money from the wallet and loses heavily. He gets drunk and comes home very late.

Then we see the two women and the baby at home while Carl visits the circus owner. She says something he doesn't like and Carl goes to the dressing room. The female trapeze artist is there and she is Carl's wife's friend (or her sister?) and we see her thinking about Carl's faithful wife. She and Carl appear to be lovers. Under the big top Carl accidentally drops the trapeze artist to her death.

Carl becomes a clown. He drinks and is unable to perform in the circus. The owner yells at him. At home, Carl has left his wife a letter and disappeared. Some time later, Carl returns. He plays with the baby and his wife cries. Carl goes back to the circus, but he keeps reliving his experience of killing his partner. The circus owner fires him. Carl begs for his job back and is thrown out.

Carl and his Movie Wife

Carl finds the costume of his dead partner and is reduced to selling it. He and his wife take off in gypsy-like wagons. Carl gets a pack of dogs and appears with a traveling circus with a trained dog act. Another woman in the circus is attracted to Carl but he rejects her, thinking of his dead partner. He is taunted by a man at dinner who turns out to be the man with whom Carl had an argument in the opening scene with the circus owner. Carl chokes the man but is stopped by the girl he has rejected. Carl is fired again.

Carl leaves his wife a note and leaves the circus. He is followed by one of his dogs whom he carries along with him. Carl stands and looks at majestic mountains in the early sunshine and the picture ends.

This is the only film that Carl made with director Emil Justitz. He appeared with his wife, Cläre Lotto in sixteen films (see her filmography below).

Partial copies of this film are available from the Russian National Film Archive.