The Juggler
Theatrical poster
Directed byEdward Dmytryk
Written byMichael Blankfort (novel and screenplay)
Produced byStanley Kramer
StarringKirk Douglas
CinematographyJ. Roy Hunt
Edited byAaron Stell
Music byGeorge Antheil
Stanley Kramer Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • May 5, 1953 (1953-05-05) (New York City)
  • September 11, 1953 (1953-09-11) (United States)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Juggler is a 1953 drama film starring Kirk Douglas as a survivor of the Holocaust.[1][2] The screenplay was adapted by Michael Blankfort from his novel of the same name.[3][4]


After World War II, German Hans Müller is one of a shipload of Jewish refugees who disembark at Haifa in 1949 and are placed in a refugee camp. Like many other concentration camp survivors, Hans has psychological problems, including survivor guilt. At one point, he mistakes a woman and some children for his murdered family.

At the first opportunity, he sneaks out of the refugee camp and goes into the city. When he spots a policeman, Hans panics and reacts by fleeing. The policeman chases him down and begins questioning him. Hans becomes very agitated and attacks, leaving the man unconscious in the street. Hans flees and ends up sleeping in the countryside, where he is found by a teenage orphan Sabra, Yehoshua "Josh" Bresler. Hans pretends to be an eccentric American, out to see Israel firsthand. Josh offers to be his guide. During their journey, Hans reveals that he was a professional juggler; Josh persuades him to pass on his knowledge. Meanwhile, police detective Karni sets out to track the fugitive down.

On their journey, Josh is injured when they wander into a minefield near the kibbutz. He is taken to the medical centre in the kibbutz; he has only broken his leg. While Josh recovers, Hans becomes acquainted with Ya'el, one of the residents. They are attracted to each other, but he at first strongly resists her attempt to persuade him to remain at the kibbutz. He reveals to her that he had ignored warnings from friends to flee Nazi Germany before it was too late, making the fatal mistake of counting on his fame and popularity to protect his family. Gradually, however, he begins to settle in.

Karni finally tracks Hans down and tries to take him into custody. Hans panics again and barricades himself in Ya'el's room with her rifle, but Ya'el and Karni get him to admit he needs help and to give himself up.



  1. ^ "The Juggler (1953) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies.
  2. ^ "The Juggler (1953)". BFI.
  3. ^ "The Juggler (1953) - Edward Dmytryk | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related". AllMovie.
  4. ^ Goble, Alan (September 8, 2011). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110951943 – via Google Books.