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Ordinarily you'd expect Lloyd Bridges to be tracking down perennial
villain John Hoyt. But here the usual roles are reversed-- Hoyt's the
government agent and Bridges the small time hood. The movie itself is
pretty typical of the docu-dramas of the period. It's the Treasury
Department's turn to get the Hollywood treatment with the usual glowing
introduction and stentorian narration. Though, like the stellar
docu-drama T-Men (1947), the docu part soon gives way to big city noir.
However, this film lacks importantly the former's grotesque air of
Director Fleischer and the writers manage a couple of nice twists, particularly at the beginning. Nonetheless, the script makes a basic error in switching the action from Stewart (Bridges) to Sylvester (James Todd) in the climactic part. (Was Bridges taken ill or otherwise made unavailable.) Unfortunately, Todd simply lacks the screen presence to intimidate an audience or make us loathe him, whereas Bridges can snarl and menace with the best of them. Thus the last third fails to generate the kind of mounting dread required of an A-grade suspenser. Then too, Hoyt's basically cold demeanor and cruel looks don't arouse much natural sympathy that would encourage you to identify with him. Thus, the suspense is further weakened by what should be an emotional interest in the treasury agent's fate. The casting here really is a departure from the expected and to the movie's detriment.
Note how the culminating shootout takes place at an industrial site-- the overnight barn for LA's late, lamented trolley system, where we get a look at what could have eased LA's horrendous traffic problem. Actually, industrial sites crop up in the climax of a number of crime dramas of the period-- White Heat (1949), 7-11 Ocean Drive (1950), Union Station (1950), et al. I guess producers of the time figured running around big machines and shooting at each other would make for colorful audience excitement. Of course, the movie's also notable for the presence of notorious Hollywood bad-girl Barbara Payton, who was involved in several tawdry Hollywood scrapes and apparently ended her brief life as something of a cut-rate call girl ("Hollywood Babylon"). Whatever the direction of her private life, she's quite good here as Bridges' shapely blonde moll.
Anyway, for its type, the movie's average at best.
This is a fine, dark, nasty little movie. It's very well directed by
Richard Fleischer. It takes place in a scary night town version of San
Lloyd Bridges plays a character with the unusual first name Tris. Short for Tristan, I suppose. Real-life bad-girl Barbara Payton is no Isolde. Payton is good as his romantic interest, though.
The film begins with a scene in which someone is discovered to have counterfeit money. Bridges is in prison but is tapped by the Feds to help break up the counterfeiting ring. And it takes off from there.
There are double-crosses, confused identities. The supporting cast is excellent. Crime may not pay but we have some pretty interesting criminals in this story.
TRAPPED is a very good example of the documentary- styled noir film.
Bridges gives an energetic performance as a greedy and cunning
whose brains are not equal to his ambitions. The film also features
sex bomb Barbara Payton in her first major role and she also scores as a
somewhat naive, yet ruthless, partner to Bridges. Richard Fleischer
with his usual stylishness and the look of the film will satisfy the
noir fan. Very enjoyable.
This was a good movie. Considering that it was probably made on a
shoestring budget, it was a very good movie. Personally, I enjoy a good
plot and storyline and this picture had it; it was interesting and
absorbing throughout. Pacing was good and the picture moved along at a
brisk pace. There was very little if any padding material.
Good job by Lloyd Bridges, who had not yet made it big. It had a good cast of dependable character actors. I did not know the sad story of Barbara Payton until I read it on the website, and she was very good as Bridges' girlfriend. It must have been Director Richard Fleischer's first solid hit, as he went on to have a pretty distinguished career in Hollywood.
If it ever comes on one of the movie channels do yourself a favor and see it, even if you're not a cops-and-robbers fan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lloyd Bridges stars, and is slightly miscast(he's too good looking), in a tale of forger on the run. Bridges is a counterfeiter doing a stretch of time who is confronted by the reemergence of the bank notes he had been passing that got him put in jail. The Treasury department comes to ask his help and he at first refuses. Later he agrees and is set free in a staged escape. Bridges takes it on the lam and tries to run down the plates he had entrusted with a friend. Dark complex tale is a very good B crime drama. If it has any real flaws its that Bridges is not gritty enough as the lead. He doesn't feel like a tough felon in with a bunch of bad guys. Its far from a fatal flaw, but it's the difference between this being a great drama and a very good one. I also need to point out that the great and long running character actor John Hoyt has a large and very important role as an undercover T-man. Hoyt is a guy who usually plays a villain and usually has tiny roles, but here he gets what amounts to the second lead and he shines. Worth a bag of popcorn and a soda.
I saw this film tonight on Youtube.com as although I am normally a fan
of 1940s film movies, I had never seen "Trapped" (1949).The minute I
was informed by the sonorous tones of the male voice-over giving his
propaganda paean of praise to those "Boys in the US Treasury Dept", I
knew the "moral film code" prevailing at this time would soon start to
apply(can't give Joe Doe ideas above his station!).Nevertheless I stuck
to it until the end partly because I love seeing actors using the old
two piece telephone equipment in Hollywood films of this period and I
get a perverse pleasure out of seeing actors lighting up on screen and
ruining their livers with excessive pretence of drinking alcohol.It was
a new twist seeing a team of counterfeiters at work, instead of a
routine robbery.Of course there are none of your politically correct
police here, they start banging away at the baddies a.s.a.p.,after all
it is supposed to be entertainment.
It was a pity the glamorous blond girlfriend of Tris Stewart was shot dead by the chief "baddy" but after all she did tip Lloyd Bridges off that a government agent had infiltrated the gang and so "the moral code" decreed she must perish.I rated it 5/10 because if Lloyd Bridges was the star, the other actors were distinctly second rate in this low budget film directed by Richard Fleischer.
The film begins with a rather heavy-handed and hokey introduction
extolling the virtues of Secret Service in their dealing with forged
American dollars. Then, the actual story begins. It seems that a
counterfeit $20 has turned up--and it's an awful lot like one passed by
a man who has now been in prison several years (Lloyd Bridges). When
he's questioned, he refuses to cooperate. However, when he does seem to
be cooperating, it's a ruse--and soon he's escaped from custody.
Eventually he makes his way back to his old gang--and he wants in for
some of the action. Along the way, he meets up with a sharp character
(John Hoyt) who wants to bankroll Bridges' scheme to make a killing
with counterfeit bills. How all this works out is something you should
see for yourself--and I really don't want to spoil the suspense by
When this fame debuted in 1949, Bridges and Hoyt were hardly household names. Bridges went on to great fame in the 1950s and 60s but here he plays a guy very much unlike his later roles--in "Trapped", he's just a nasty little hood. As for Hoyt, he's a face many will recognize though his name would escape most. He generally played cranky guys who were not the least bit macho or heroic, yet here he plays a man definitely against this type! In fact, it might just be one of Hoyt's best roles--if not his best. It's a shame, really, as he MIGHT have become a household name, as he was the original Doctor in the pilot episode of "Star Trek".
Overall, the film has a dandy script, is very entertaining and is a nice example of a lesser film noir movie that deserves to be seen. While not great, it certainly is very good and quite watchable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lloyd Bridges had a face made for the camera, full of smooth, bony
planes, a clean forehead, all dominated by a couple of deep-set eyes
that seemed to glimmer in the shadows of his brows. And he had,
throughout his career, the quick, nervous energy of a small predator,
maybe a ferret. Even in the ripeness of his age, in the Hot Shot movies
where he was a comic admiral.
He made some decent movies but never achieved major stardom. Even here, in a relatively low-budget drama about counterfeiting and the Secret Service, he is a central figure but only a quasi-star.
The police deliberately allow Bridges to escape from the slams in hopes that he will lead the Secret Service, personified mostly by John Hoyt, to the people who now are beginning to grind out money that is "queer" on plates that Bridges used to own. The escape was engineered because the Secret Service knows that Bridges has no place to go except to his ex girl friend in L.A. They have accordingly bugged her apartment and insinuated an undercover agent into her life. Hoyt is the undercover agent who allows himself to be sucked into funding a plan to produce the queer money. The specific idea to to capture Bridges and his accomplices the moment the money changes hands.
That may be a little confusing, I know, but the plot is a little complicated. And besides, my mind couldn't quite wrap itself around John Hoyt as a serious undercover agent of social control. I kept seeing him as the three-armed Martian in a "Twilight Zone" episode. That image sometimes became a bit blurry and Hoyt would appear in a toga as one of the conspiratorial Senators from MGM's "Julius Caesar." Anyway, the plot zooms forward as if self propelled. There are fist fights, shoot outs. Before the end, Bridges is back in the slams. Hoyt tells the desk sergeant, "Let's keep this quiet. Book him under another name." Desk Sergeant: "How does 'Briggs' sound"? Hoyt: "As good as any." Desk Sergeant: "It's my mother-in-law's name. I just wanted to see what it looks like on a police blotter." That's about the only example of witty dialog in the movie. Almost all the rest is spare and functional, along the lines of Bridges', "If anybody gets hurt, it ain't gonna be me cause I got the gun. Just remember to get this heap started when you see me comin'." It's not a bad movie, just a routine one. Richard Fleischer directed a number of small-budget dramas like this before going on to bigger and better things like "Doctor Doolittle." Well -- bigger, anyway.
Want to see a funny movie about counterfeiting? Try "Mister 880." A more sophisticated movie about counterfeiting? "To Live and Die in L.A."
"Trapped" is a typical late '40s B movie. This one concerns a sting
organized by the Treasury Department in order to track down some
The beginning is told in documentary style, which was done quite a bit during that period. In the story, the Department enables Tris Stewart (Lloyd Bridges) to escape from prison to lead them to counterfeit plates, funny money which has again surfaced after a period of several years. They bug the apartment of his old girlfriend Meg (Barbara Payton) and ultimately send in an agent (John Hoyt) who is supposed to be one of the gang. He's established an identity in the club where Meg works. Once Stewart tracks down the plates, he learns they've been sold, and it will cost him $25,000 to buy them back.
It's fun to see the actors driving around old Los Angeles, though this is a fairly routine drama with very over the top music. When Bridges makes his entrance, it's almost Superman music. He was certainly a hunky young man as well as a handsome older one.
Barbara Payton, whose career at this time was actually on the way up, does a good job as Meg. A few years later, she hit the skids, due to a series of unfortunate romances. She was juggling the abusive Tom Neal and Franchot Tone at the same time; Neal and Tone got into a huge fight during which Tone was badly injured and hospitalized. This hurt her reputation, and the rest is a sad story of abuse at the hands of Neal, drunkenness, prostitution, and bad checks.
Despite this being formulaic, it will hold your interest.
This is not a film noir per se, though it has some nourish undercurrents and atmosphere. It is a bit of a downer because the lead is a scoundrel, his girl friend is a dolt, and there is not really anyone to admire. Lloyd Bridges plays the lead, and is more or less convincing, though hardly brilliant. But then the part gave him little scope anyway. The dame is Barbara Payton, who is not particularly enthralling. Payton had a terribly tragic life, dying at the age of only 39, after episodes of drug addiction, shop-lifting, and other symptoms of someone who was pretty totally messed-up. This film contains two remarkable and interesting film sequences, both shot on location. The first is inside the US Treasury in Washington, showing money being designed, processed and printed. (No mention of the Federal Reserve, so this is a bit puzzling.) The other is inside the large Los Angeles streetcar depot, where a dramatic chase and shootout take place. Streetcars must have been phased out not long afterwards, so this is rare footage. Bridges plays a jailed counterfeiter who is let out on condition that he exposes the people who are now 'using his plates' to print twenty dollar bills. A bewildering series of double-crosses and turning of tables takes place, all keeping one's attention, what with cops pretending to be crooks, and no one really knowing who is straight and who is not. John Hoyt is in this picture, as he was in so many others. He was a very nice man and did me a big favour when I was young. I was introduced to him by my very good aged friend of those days, Homer Croy, who wrote the Will Rogers movies, as Homer and Hoyt were old chums. Hoyt really did go out of his way to help people and was such a personable and pleasant person. I remember he wore a bow tie and was concerned to look smartly dressed. When I met him I had no idea of his film career, since there were no videos or DVDs in those days and hence no way to see old movies. Homer told me he was a well-known actor, but I had never heard of him at that time, since once a movie was out of the cinemas, it was gone gone gone. Even the stars rarely had cans of 35 mm of their finest work. Everything just disappeared into the vaults of the majors. I'm glad this film is no longer trapped in the vaults, despite its title. It was ably directed by Dick Fleischer and belongs in the canon along with the others.
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