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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 - 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 <email@example.com>
Barbara Bel Geddes is perfect as a starry-eyes young woman who wants to make something of herself. She goes to charm school. Who would ever dream that a young lady in such a cloistered setting would meet and be wooed by a fabulously wealthy eccentric!
"Caught" is cast in a unique manner. Maybe it was the director's lack of familiarity with American performers. More likely, these are the people who were most eager to work under him. Whatever the reason for his choosing Robert Ryan to play the millionaire, it was brilliant casting: Ryan was a superb actor. He was tall and intense. In his most famous noirs, he plays cops or military men. Yet the character he plays here is withdrawn, well-spoken, and even a bit effete. He's in analysis, to boot! It's an exceptionally good performance that today would win an actor all sorts of awards.
James Mason is also cast very much against type: He plays a doctor who treats poor people for little or no pay. (Light years, not just a bit more than a decade, away from his Humbert Humbert!) And Ryan has a manservant who plays piano and calls everyone, male or female, "darling!" He is played to perfection by Curt Bois.
"Letter from an Unknown Woman" is a lovely film and probably Ophuls' most famous American work. It'd dreamy, romantic, heartbreaking. "Caught" is very different -- I would place it squarely as film noir. However, it does not lack for his famous shots of people ascending staircases and doing other graceful things beautifully.
If only for Ryan's performance, "Caught" is a must. And there is far more to it than that one performance.
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