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Bait (1954)

Approved | | Drama | 24 February 1954 (USA)
A beautiful blonde leads a man down the road to ruin.



(story and screenplay), (additional dialogue)

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Cast overview:
Cleo Moore ...
Hugo Haas ...
Ray Brighton
Emmett Lynn ...
Bruno VeSota ...
Jan Englund ...
George Keymas ...
Prologue Speaker (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)


Another in the long line of the Trials-and-Tribulations (compounded by Misery and Irony) offerings from Hugo Haas. This time out his character, Marko (Hugo Haas, is searching for a lost gold mine with his young partner Ray Brighton ('John Agar' )qv)) and, despite the fact that Haas appears no more at home playing a prospector than Raymond Hatton would playing a Bulgarian diplomat, they find the mine. But Marko decides he doesn't want to share with his partner and figures out a devious and complicated scheme to get rid of him. (Shooting him in the head and burying him in the desert is far too simple a solution in a Haas film.) So, Marko ups and marries buxom young Peggy (Cleo Moore) as a marriage of convenience, even though past experience would indicate any involvement with a character played by Cleo Moore would not be described as anything close to convenience. Rikor figures that after the three of them spend the winter together in a shack far from civilization, he will sooner or ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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24 February 1954 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Hugo Haas has a roundabout scheme to get the gold due his partner, John Agar
16 April 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There is A-noir, B-noir and then there is C-noir, which isn't disaster but does leave you shaking your head. "Bait" is C-noir. The films of Hugo Haas are not always this problematic, not at all. I rated "Hit and Run" 6.0, and the "Girl on the Bridge" got a 5 from me. "The Other Woman" and "One Girl's Confession" I remember as being pretty good, but I have to see them again before reviewing them. "Bait" has the central problem of not being believable. There are three main players, Haas, John Agar and Cleo Moore, all of whom give the old college try to sell the scenario. But it's extremely hard to buy into the scenario. Haas is a gold prospector who found a big strike but then lost track of where it was. He corrals Agar into becoming his partner to hunt for it, 50-50. Moore is a widowed mother, her very young son in a boarding school while she toils and fends off the lecherous men who think she's easy. In a prologue in which Cedric Hardwicke plays Lucifer, we get the idea that evil is afoot. Haas marries Moore, whom Agar is crazy about, so as to push the two of them together so that he can commit a justifiable homicide and get all the gold. Each actor has scenes where they are convincing, but these are undermined by stretches where the evil planning, the romance and the awkwardness of the three of them living in a small cabin, in separate bunk beds, strain all credulity. Moore calls her husband "Mr. Marco" continually and he refuses even to kiss her, much less sleep with her. There is almost no tension in the directing of Haas in this one. The final sequence and resolution also doesn't rope us in emotionally or rationally. The picture is a misfire. What saves it from utter disaster is the likability of all concerned, their humanity and a certain feeling we have of pity at their predicaments and traps. Its noir character is slight, residing mainly in the plot hatched by Haas, which reminds one of an inverted "Postman Always Rings Twice".

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