The Bribe (1949)

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Reviews: 26 user | 7 critic

Federal agent Rigby, in Central America to trace stolen plane engines, falls for the gorgeous wife of the chief suspect.



(screenplay), (short story)
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Stars: Hedy Lamarr, John Hodiak, James Craig


Complete credited cast:
Tugwell 'Tug' Hintten
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Tito Renaldo ...
Emilio Gomez
Martin Garralaga ...
Pablo Gomez


In pursuit of stolen aircraft engines on a Central American island, federal agent Rigby meets chief suspect Hintten and his wife Elizabeth, a sultry cafe singer; and is watched by Bealer, a "pie-shaped man" with sore feet. Rigby knows he's on the right track when Bealer offers him money to leave Carlota. When Rigby and Elizabeth are drawn to each other, the gang realizes there's more than one kind of bribe. Everybody sweats. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


5 Great Stars in a Daring Drama of Love and Adventure !


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Release Date:

25 August 1949 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Geheimaktion Carlotta  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 10, 1949 with Ava Gardner reprising her film role. See more »


Rigby: Look, why don't you stop acting like you're alone in the jungle?
Elizabeth: I'm not?
Rigby: OK, so you are, but you'd be surprised how nice the birds and the beasts can be if you'll only give them a chance.
Elizabeth: Tell me, Rigby, do you fly, walk on all fours...or crawl?
See more »


Edited into Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) See more »


Music by Miklós Rózsa
Lyrics by William Katz
Sung by extras in fiesta scenes
See more »

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User Reviews

THE BRIBE (Robert Z. Leonard, 1949) **1/2
2 June 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

To begin with, I had always been intrigued by this Noir in view of the compact but strong cast: Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner (their first of 2 teamings, the other being the Western RIDE, VAQUERO! {1953}), Charles Laughton (his second film with Taylor after the 1942 WWII naval drama, based on an idea by Luis Bunuel{!}, STAND BY FOR ACTION), Vincent Price and John Hodiak.

Frankly, being an MGM production, I was afraid it would be merely glossy and with the emphasis squarely focused on the central romance (given its dynamite star combo, this was inevitable). However, the result was visually more arresting (moodily-lit against an overpowering South American backdrop by Joseph Ruttenberg) and, in view of the satisfying participation of its villainous pair (favorites Laughton and Price), more personally gratifying than I had anticipated! It is unfortunate, then, that all this is done in the service of a rather weak storyline: federal agent Taylor tracks down a gang of scrap-metal smugglers(!), with whom down-on-their luck couple Gardner (making ends meet as a chanteuse) and Hodiak (drowning his sorrows in booze) are also involved – in fact, the hero had been specifically asked to tail them in the hope that they will lead him to the mysterious ring-leaders!

Price starts out innocuously enough but, after accepting Taylor's invitation to a fishing-boat outing, things take a tragic turn: through Price's machinations (feigning ineptness at the controls of the vessel), the protagonist ends up in the water and, when the local guide jumps in to save him (Taylor is harnessed to his fishing-rod and is being pulled away from the boat by the large swordfish he has managed to hook!), he is attacked and killed by a shark; incidentally, both this scene and the storm-beset hotel setting seem to be evoking two superior Humphrey Bogart vehicles, namely TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1944) and KEY LARGO (1948) respectively. Laughton has a more ambivalent – and showy – part as a would-be drifter, continuously complaining of sore feet, but whom Taylor (who supplies typical grave narration throughout) instantly suspects of being 'in on it'; indeed, his powers of intimidation are such that he has Gardner drug the hero, which gives the latter the wrong notion that she was really one of them. However, it transpires that Price is the real force behind the rogues' gallery and he even contrives to murder Hodiak himself!; still, Laughton's greed allows him no scruples and he eventually 'sells' his associate to the cop!

The climax, too, is an unsung gem as Price flees out of the hotel – with Taylor in hot pursuit – and lands smack in the middle of an elaborate fireworks display (being the highlight of a local fiesta) whose noise and smoke obfuscates the action while heightening the suspense of the situation, thus rendering the denouement a memorable one. In hindsight, Taylor's genre work (also comprising JOHNNY EAGER {1941}, Vincente Minnelli's UNDERCURRENT {1946}, HIGH WALL {1947}, the as-yet-unwatched CONSPIRATOR {1949}, ROGUE COP {1954}, TIP ON A DEAD JOCKEY {1957}, Nicholas Ray's remarkable PARTY GIRL {1958} and HOUSE OF THE SEVEN HAWKS {1959}) seems to me to have been greatly undervalued by Noir buffs.

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