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 <email@example.com>
"The Bribe" is a somewhat slow noir drama starring Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton, John Hodiak, and Vincent Price. With a cast like that, nothing is all bad. Though the story drags in spots and the bad guys are somewhat obvious, it still makes for good viewing. Taylor is Rigby, a fed investigating war surplus violations involving the sale of airplane motors in a place called Carlotta in South America. The suspects have been narrowed down to two Americans, Tug Hintten (Hodiak) and his wife, Elizabeth, a singer (Gardner). Once in Carlotta, Rigby meets J.J. Bealer, portrayed by Charles Laughton, and Carwood (Vincent Price). They're worth watching, too, though Rigby becomes instantly distracted by Elizabeth. Their love story develops overnight, which might seem strange, but it's Ava at her most gorgeous and Taylor at his most ruggedly handsome. You can hardly blame either one of them. The questions for Rigby are: Where are the motors being hidden, who's the head guy, who's involved...and how involved is Elizabeth? The movie, with the exception of the finale, is fairly routine stuff. Laughton and Price have the best roles. Laughton is fabulous as a slovenly loser whose feet hurt, and Price is excellent. Everyone else is good, including Hodiak, his career in major nosedive as he appears in a supporting role, though a showy one as a drunk with a weak heart. The big action takes place at the finale, which is exciting and visually marvelous. We could have used a little more of that type of thing throughout the film.
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