The Love Trap (1929)
A conventional drama but intensely well made, and a great plot filled with honest sympathy
14 September 2012
The Love Trap (1929)

I wouldn't have troubled with this film except that it's by the most decorated and honored of Hollywood's directors, William Wyler. And the short answer on the film is that it's very good, worth watching.

It surprised me by being silent. Twice. That is, it begins with some scenes that involve music and there is a soundtrack synched to the movie--but not recorded when the visuals were shot. So the dialog is all silent with an occasional intertitle card. The reason for this is just that Universal Studios hadn't yet switched to doing sound. This was released in 1929, and "The Jazz Singer" was 1927, so this shows how it took some time for the smaller studios to switch over.

Further--like "The Jazz Singer" this one has a few sections with actual synched sound. It comes as a huge surprise, and it raises the movie to another level in its entirety. You can almost apply their voices by extension to the rest of the movie.

Even so, it's a sophisticated film--including the sound that is used, both music and some sound effects. The filming is excellent, but what really stands out is the superb acting--which of course is what Wyler would in part become famous for. The story is a simple one but a pre-code risqué one. A woman who needs money to pay her rent goes to a rich man's party to make a few bucks. And she's expected, somehow, to be available to one of the men, who tricks her, in all her innocence, to a bedroom.

So then it becomes a tale of morality versus money. And told almost entirely with gesture and expression. And filmed beautifully, with some absolute surprising turns in the plot. The last thirty seconds will seem a little convenient, but the rest of it--a real treat!
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