The German Manege appears to have been heavily influenced by E. A. Dupont's Variety. Because of a quarrel over a woman, Ralph and Gaston, two brothers who are partnered in a circus tightrope act, have not been civil to one another for years. Ralph, the younger of the two, stirs up even more tension under the Big Top when he tries to rescue a young female aerialist from the cruelties of her stepfather, the circus' ringmaster. For the girl's sake, Ralph urges the other performers to go on strike, earning the undying hatred of the ringmaster. The crisis is ultimately resolved by Gaston, Ralph's estranged brother, who kills the villain in a fistfight. Through this spectacular act of filial loyalty, Gaston is at last reconciled with Ralph.
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