An escape from East Germany in a balloon, which made headlines in 1979, falls short as an adventure film in Disney Productions' "Night Crossing." Instead of being cryptic in the genre of the best spy movies, this is a "Sound of Music" without the songs. Jane Alexander lends her concerned support to her role as the wife of Hans-Peter Strelzik, played by John Hurt of "Elephant Man," who builds a hot-air balloon in secret in his spare time. There are some poignant hugging scenes with their two adorable boys. But intellect as well as emotion needs to be involved in creating suspense. Much is made of the balloon-building; yet, simple details are lacking. What exactly was it made of? How much did they have to pay for all the yards of material? When Strelzik's first attempt fails, his family is tracked by Volkspoliz you would love to hate -- if you could tell the villains apart. Strelzik sets to piecing together another balloon for eight, to include the Wetzel family, who had cancelled out on the first flight. The movie has it that Petra Wetzel harbors a fear of flying with children and after much whining persuades her husband Gunter to quit sewing the first balloon with Strelzik. Beau Bridges plays Gunter as an all- American boy; Glynnis O'Connor makes Petra into a tense wench who decides to go on the second flight because her mother is sick in West Germany. Petra commits the parental faux pas of misrepresenting the impending flight to her two young sons even as the balloon is filling: "What's Papa doing?" "We built a big tent," she says. "We want to see if it works." A torch is lit to heat the gas: "Why is Papa making a fire?" "It's cold out there." Especially in the World of Disney, it's not nice to fool little children. The PG rating was probably earned by an early scene where a teen-age boy dies trying to cross the border, a device which shows how dangerous the forthcoming task will be. The ambiguous scene may give the initial impression that he survived -- though any adult would rightly surmise that no one could live through the barrage of gunfire. By the time we learn of his death, we are engaged in other parts of the plot; this softens the blow. Like most simplistic stories, "Night Crossing" has a happy ending. In this case the Disney fairy tale happens to be true.