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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.
*** 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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of
'Trapped.'" That's Hamlet, part-time movie critic for the Elsinore
Herald-Gazette, writing his review after watching this reverential dud.
Trapped instructs us on the excellence of the U. S. Treasury
Department's Secret Service, as its agents track down the near-perfect
plates for bogus $20 bills, now starting to show up in circulation. The
man who made the plates, Tris Stewart (Lloyd Bridges) is in prison, so
he can't be the mastermind. Someone, Mr. Big, has those plates and is
starting to use them. The Treasury Department works a deal with
Stewart. They'll spring him from prison and make it look like a
jailbreak. In return, he'll track down his former partner and find out
who's responsible for the new stuff. Stewart, however, has a different
idea. He'll go along with the phony jail break, but he plans to hook up
with his old girl friend, Meg Dixon (Barbara Payton), cut a deal of his
own with Mr. Big, then vamoose to Mexico with Meg and as much money,
good or bad, that he can fool everyone out of. Only two things stand in
his way. First are the shrewd, brave and dedicated men (there are no
women in the movie except Payton) of the United States Treasury. Second
is the shrewd, brave and dedicated Secret Service agent John Downey
Trapped is one of those documentary-seeming paeans to the government that Hollywood produced in the late Forties. For the FBI, it was The House on 92nd Street and The Street With No Name. With Trapped, we're given a seven-minute civics lesson on the many praise-worthy activities of the U. S. Treasury, with an emphasis on the reprehensible nature of counterfeiting, At the end of this stentorian, no-nonsense, deeply respectful narration honoring our government at work, I nearly wrote a check to add to my income tax payment.
The real problem with Trapped, however, is that it is dull, with journeyman direction and acting. There are one or two solid scenes, including a tough fist fight in a shadowy hotel room and a chase and shootout in the huge shed housing dozens of Los Angeles' electrified streetcars. In between is just one dull scene after another as Stewart tracks down Mr. Big and the Secret Service stays on Stewart's tail. The Secret Service may be always one step ahead of Stewart, but for most of the movie, once we catch on to how good Hollywood is going to make the Secret Service, not much suspense is left.
This was one of the first movies Richard Fleischer directed. He had a long, successful career that wasn't particularly distinguished. On the one hand he gave us such interesting or pleasurable movies as The Narrow Margin, Fantastic Voyage, 10 Rillington Place and Soylent Green. But then we have things such as Doctor Doolittle, Mandingo and The Jazz Singer.
Poignantly, we can see Barbara Payton and reflect on the lives, if they're unlucky, of lush, blonde, shallow starlets. She managed a handful of movies working with the likes of Gregory Peck, James Cagney and Gary Cooper. Within a couple of years she was enmeshed in scandal. She didn't seem to mind along as she was talked about. Another year or two and her career was over, which seemed to puzzle her. Payton's life was a sad, sordid melodrama, finishing at the age of 39 after alcoholism, public drunkenness and arrests for heroin and prostitution. She loved the attention Hollywood gives starlets, but she had little talent other than her curves.
This one is your basic or average crime film - this time it's
counterfeiters. There's nothing in this film that really grabbed me and
kept me glued to the set. I like the opening where they show the inside
of the actual U.S. Treasury Department and tell us a little bit about
it - that was a neat touch. This film is just a lot of talk with little
action and a crime film like this should have a bit more action going
on in it - at least it should to me.
The acting is fine in this one, the cinematography and direction as well is just fine - it's the story that is average - very talky with very little action going on in most of the film. It's a decent enough movie but not spicy enough to keep my attention long enough for me to really enjoy.
This neat little thriller was directed by Richard Fleischer at the
beginning of his "noir" period. He got better at it after this one--the
terrific "Narrow Margin" and "Armored Car Robbery"--but this is still a
good one, if a bit too slow at times.
Lloyd Bridges is a convicted counterfeiter serving time when he cuts a deal with the Treasury Department. It seems that when he was nabbed, his partner kept the plates and now almost flawless counterfeit currency is flooding Los Angeles. The feds believe it's Bridges' partner, and they'll cut his sentence in exchange for letting him out to find his partner and retrieve the plates. Once he gets out, however, he double-crosses them and plans to get the plates himself. As it turns out, Bridges isn't quite as slick as he thinks he is, and things start to go south rather quickly. Although not quite as fast-paced as Fleischer's better-known thrillers, it benefits tremendously from Bridges' presence. He's very tightly wound in this one, and quite a bit more brutal than you would expect him to be, even playing a bad guy. Tragic figure Barbara Payton actually does quite well as his floozy girlfriend, and the sinister John Hoyt does an excellent job as a somewhat enigmatic character who turns out to be not quite what he seems.
Good atmosphere and some neat plot--and other--twists make this a good companion piece to Fleischer's later noirs, and definitely worth a watch.
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.
****SPOILERS**** Semi-documentary movie about a convicted counterfeiter
Tris Stewart, Lloyd Bridges, allowed to escape from custody as he was
being transferred from Atlanta to Kansas City in order to have him
unwittingly help the FBI and police find the counterfeit ring using the
plates that he had hidden to flood the West cost with fake $20.00
Tris get in touch with his girlfriend Laurie, Barbara Payton, in L.A not knowing that her apartment is being bugged by the FBI. With the police knowing every move that Tris is making they set up a trap for him only after he finds who's printing the phony money and where the fake $20.00 bill plates are. Tris finds out from his former partner Sam Hooker, Douglas Spencer, that he sold the valuable plates to an investment consultant in L.A named Jack Sylvester, James Todd.
Going to Sylvester's office in downtown L.A Tris strikes a deal with him on getting 250 grand in fake money for 25 thousand in real money from him saying that he can have it by the next day. Laurie who works as a cigarette girl at the Chanteclair Night Club knows a big spender named Johny Hackett,John Hoyt, who's ready to lay out the cash for Tris so he can share the 250 thousand in fake money. What Laurie and Trish and Sylvester don't know is that Johnny Hackett is really John Downey Federal Agent.
Everything is going well until one night Laurie overhears at the club one of the costumers who recognizes Johnny as working for the Fed's. Laurie ends up telling Tris about Johnnys real intentions with setting up the deal in order to trap him and Sylvester. Tris instead of telling Sylvester about it kidnaps Johnny and has him drive out to a deserted beach and when he tries to shoot him Johnny turns and knocks Tris out.
With Tris behind bars Johnny now has to think fast to get Sylvester and the plates and his gang apprehended. Johnny then goes to Sylvester's office and tells him that Tris was caught by the police and is talking and not to answer any phone calls; knowing that Laurie will call him and expose him to Sylvester as a Federal Agent.
Johnny talks Sylvester into leaving his office and take him to his hideout where he has his counterfeit operation in order to seal the deal with the 250 thousand fake to 25 thousand real money switch. Sylvester in return plans to take the real money and counterfeit plates and check out of the country to Mexico. Johnny also got in touch with the police to follow him and come to his aid when he's in danger of being found out since he doesn't have the 25 thousand in real money to make the exchange.
Laurie not being able to contact Tris, in her not knowing that he's in police custody, gets it touch with one of Sylvester's hoods and they both head for his hideout. Johnny taking his time counting the money he's getting in the switch gives the police and FBI time to get there and rescue him. When Laurie arrives and tells Sylvester what Johnny is really all about all hell breaks loose and just in the nick of time the police arrive.
For what I still can't understand Sylvester shoots and kills Laurie and then makes a run for it along the railroad tracks outside his hideout. Getting on top of a train car Sylvester sees that he's trapped and puts his hands up to give himself up but there's a live wire over his head that he doesn't see and when his hands touch it Sylvester gets electrocuted.
Pretty good Film Noir movie but with one major flaw; Why did Sylvester shoot Laurie who did nothing to set him up to be caught by the police at the end of the film and not shoot Johnny who did? Lloyd Bridges and Barbara Payton really had sparks flying and electricity surging in all their scenes together and I guess the motto of the movie "Trapped" is "Crime does not pay; Even in counterfeit money!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For the most part, this is a fairly interesting crime drama involving a
counterfeit money racket, but it loses steam when the principal
character Tris Stewart (Lloyd Bridges) is put away about two thirds of
the way through. Stewart's contact Sylvester (James Todd) didn't have
the charisma to carry the picture to it's ultimate conclusion, and if
anyone deserved to be 'trapped' at the finale, it should have been the
guy at the top of the credits. Speaking of which, and I hate to nitpick
the flaws here, but what happened to Sylvester's henchmen after they
brought Laurie (Barbara Payton) in to expose agent Downey (John Hoyt)?
They just oddly disappeared before the cops made their entrance for the
shootout with Sylvester.
It's cool though when a picture manages to get clever with itself like this one did. When Hackett/Downey brings in Stewart after his arrest, he tells the desk cop to book him under another name. The cop's response - "How's the name of Bridges do"? I replayed that line just to be sure I got it right.
Anyway, there's enough of the old cross and double cross here to keep most viewers interested. Bridges and Hoyt make for an attractive couple, maybe even too attractive to be a couple of cons. As the government agent, John Hoyt appears to be on the wrong side of the badge most of the time, and one might wonder why his and Bridges' role weren't reversed. Then again, having Hoyt's character hook up with the gorgeous Barbara Payton wouldn't have worked at all.
Some good lines of dialog in the picture, my summary quote by Laurie is one of the better ones. But I also got a kick out of Sylvester's snarl at Agent Downey - "You're all washed up Copper"! It sounded like something Bugs Bunny said to a gangster once in one of those old Warner Brothers cartoons.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An excellent thriller on the slimy subject of counterfeiting.
Lloyd Bridges, 36 at the time, is as sexy as he is scary in the role of a violent, gum-chewing con who thinks he's two steps ahead of the feds while being drawn into their clutches.
Barbara Payton is gorgeous as Tris's cigarette-girl moll in her first leading film role. I looked Payton up on Wikipedia and was surprised to learn she wound up as a prostitute who had to sleep on park benches. What a fall from glory...
This taut drama takes us back to the days when $20 was considered a large bill and people played the rumba on their phonographs. The film crackles with hard-bitten dialog, and, with Kansas City as its sometime locale, features a lovely jazz soundtrack.
The stentorian, documentary-like voice-over's a little trite, but this film is quite gripping.
"These are my old-age pension: The only thing better than money are the plates that make 'em!"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
she really doesn't have a heck of a lot to do and this movie is kind of
gauche with its ridiculous opening in newsreel style, stretching the
film out to feature length with an "in the news" documentary bit that
segues to a silly bank scene in which a struggling lady restaurateur is
held accountable for a phony 20 passed at her eatery.
Lloyd Bridges is good but the weakness of the film is such that one gets tired of him along with the whole shebang, quite honestly!
Have to concede that the very ending is quite... elaborate a veritable
Rube Goldberg contraption. What a way to go!
The review needs another line, gee that's fine!
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