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Deathtrap (1982)

 -  Comedy | Crime | Mystery  -  19 March 1982 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 7,532 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 47 user | 38 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

A Broadway playwright puts murder in his plan to take credit for a student's script.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Irene Worth ...
...
Joe Silver ...
Tony DiBenedetto ...
Burt - the Bartender
Al LeBreton ...
Handsome Actor
Francis B. Creamer Jr. ...
The Minister (as Rev. Francis B. Creamer Jr.)
Stewart Klein ...
Himself
Jeffrey Lyons ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Stage Newsboy
Jayne Heller ...
Stage Actress
George Peck ...
Stage Actor
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Storyline

To make Sidney's slump all the more painful, Clifford Anderson, a student of one of Sidney's writing seminars, has recently sent his mentor a copy of his first attempt at playwrighting for Sidney's review and advice. The play, "Deathtrap," is a five character, two act thriller so perfect in its construction that, as Sidney says, "A gifted director couldn't even hurt it." Using his penchant for plot, and out of his desperate desire to once again be the toast of Broadway, Sidney, along with Myra, cook up an almost unthinkable scheme: They'll lure the would-be playwright to the Bruhl home, kill him, and market the sure-fire script as Sidney's own. But shortly after Clifford arrives, it's clear that things are not what they seem! Indeed, even Helga Ten Dorp, a nosey psychic from next door, and Porter Milgram, Sidney's observant attorney, can only speculate where the line between truth and deception lies. Written by Craig C. Bailey

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When a man has murder on his mind be sure you don't fall into a...Deathtrap. [Video] See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 March 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ira Levin's Deathtrap  »

Box Office

Gross:

$17,385,291 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the book 'It's a Hit!: The Backstage Book of Longest-running Broadway Shows, 1884 to Present' by David Sheward, the central character of Sidney Bruhl in Ira Levin's play was loosely based on Levin himself. Though Levin had written successful thriller novels which had frequently been filmed (See: A Kiss Before Dying (1956); Rosemary's Baby (1968); The Boys from Brazil (1978); The Stepford Wives (1975); A Kiss Before Dying (1991); Sliver (1993) and The Stepford Wives (2004)), his success as a playwright was only modest. Levin, like Sidney Bruhl, only ever had one hit Broadway play, and 'Deathtrap' was it. See more »

Goofs

When Sidney has the Deathtrap script and threatens to throw it into the fireplace, the fire isn't lit. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[the actor on stage delivers an unintelligible line]
First Audience Member: It's the worst play I've ever seen.
Second Audience Member: I can't believe Sidney Bruhl wrote it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Murderous weapons by Eoin Sprott. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Hellcats (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sleuth slayers
24 September 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Enjoyable if forced murder mystery whodunit kind of thing played to the max and beyond pretty much as a two-hander by Caine and Reeve. "Deathtrap" seems to try to send up every Agatha Christie - type concoction there's ever been, throwing in more twists than a Chubby Checker revival show, but seems to forget that Peter Schaffer's "Sleuth" got there before it a decade earlier.

Caine's in on this of course, he now playing the Olivier role as the ageing dominating schemer of the two, with Reeve as the initially submissive but later resistant junior partner in the former's nefarious, ingenious if somewhat far-fetched plan to bump off ailing wife Dyan Cannon (who couldn't look healthier, as a matter of fact) and get his hands on her massive fortune.

The initial twist is well staged and does come as a big surprise but subsequent events fail to repeat the trick and the insertion of the ludicrous Scandanavian medium Helga Ten Dorp (there must be an in-joke anagram in her name I've not yet deciphered) to sweep up the pieces with her thick-as-Nordic-snow accent takes it just too far over the top.

For all that, it's directed at pace with no let up on the camp factor from the normally straight-arrow Sydney Lumet and features a slightly awkward full-on kiss between the leads with a complete lack of conviction on either side. It's one of perhaps too many unintentional comical scenes in this play within a play within...you get the idea, but you sense that no-one minds too much in any case, so irreverent is the whole concept and execution here.


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