Caught (1949)

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It was Leonora Eames' childhood dream come true. She had married Smith Ohlrig, a man worth millions. But her innocent dream became a nightmare once she realizes the truth about her husband ... See full summary »


(as Max Opuls)


(screenplay), (novel)
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Complete credited cast:
Larry Quinada
Smith Ohlrig
Dr. Hoffman
Curt Bois ...
Franzi Kartos
Ruth Brady ...
Dorothy Dale
Art Smith ...


It was Leonora Eames' childhood dream come true. She had married Smith Ohlrig, a man worth millions. But her innocent dream became a nightmare once she realizes the truth about her husband - he is power mad and insane! Since he will not grant her a divorce, she leaves her life of luxury on Long Island and goes to work as a receptionist in an impoverished doctor's office in NYC's lower east side. After Smith deceives her into a temporary reconciliation, Leonora becomes pregnant. By the time she realizes she is expecting, she and one of the doctors, Larry Quinada (James Mason), have fallen in love. But she is again lured backed to her wealthy husband to give her child financial security. Her sadistic husband is hell-bent on keeping her and her child prisoner. What will happen to Leonora? Written by Fiona Kelleghan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


James Mason in his first American motion picture. (One-sheet poster). See more »


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Release Date:

17 February 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gefangen  »

Box Office


$1,574,422 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Both John Berry and Robert Aldrich directed additional scenes, uncredited. See more »


Leonora Eames: Look at me! Look at what you bought!
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User Reviews

Bel Geddes finest hour in Ophul's melodrama about paranoia of unshackled capitalism
14 January 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Of the many European emigres who helped shape American cinema, especially film noir, Max Ophuls brought one of the subtlest, most elusive sensibilities. Caught reflects this elusiveness: Part melodrama, part romance, part film noir, it's an unsettling film that burrows into complacent assumptions about freedom and success.

Department-store model Barbara Bel Geddes buys the notion that snagging a rich husband is the key to happiness. Once wed to disgustingly wealthy tycoon Smith Ohlrig (Robert Ryan), however, she finds herself a bird in a gilded cage whose owner is increasingly jealous, abusive and frightening. (The rumors are that Ohlrig was modelled on Howard Hughes, much as Charles Foster Kane was on William Randolph Hearst.) Finally she leaves him to work in the office of a poor pediatrician (James Mason), with whom she falls in love. But she and Ryan keep drifting back together, in a love-hate relationship that grows ever more doomed and desperate (there's a virtuoso scene in Mason's offices, at night, centering on her ominously empty desk)....

This is certainly Bel Geddes' most complex and fleshed-out screen performance, but the script suggests dimensions that she only hints at; though the part wouldn't work with a tigress like that other Barbara, Stanwyck, taking on Ryan in an equal grudge-match, an actress with a mite more edge might have shown how the caged wife came to draw courage and defiance precisely from her position as a powerful man's wife. (Bel Geddes is just too wholesome and likeable to bring off this ambiguity.) And the heavy paw of the studio descends as Caught comes to a close: The conclusion is too quick, loose ends flap in the breeze, and satisfaction remains incomplete. Ryan's dynamo performance -- he could really make the flesh crawl -- and Ophul's elegant direction compensate for a half-baked denouement imposed by a craven studio, lest anybody take personal or political offense.

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