A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption. However, he soon discovers that he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.
A TV producer who is the mistress of her boss, tries to have him make their relationship more permanent, and begins a relationship with a younger man. When her boss hears of this, he tries ... See full summary »
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
The last two "Ten Dorp" words of the name of the psychic character Helga ten Dorp (played by actress Irene Worth) are an anagram for "portend" which means a phenomenon that is believed to foretell the future. See more »
When Sidney has the Deathtrap script and threatens to throw it into the fireplace, the fire isn't lit. See more »
[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 »
Unlike Tinseltown's version of HELLO, DOLLY!, Jay Presson Allen's screen adaptation of Ira Levin's hit Broadway thriller couldn't wait for it's stage incarnation to shutter before putting it up on the silver screen, so producers wisely decided to make the most of it's lengthy White Way run! The film's opening and closing scenes are shot inside New York's intimate Music Box Theater where DEATHTRAP played for nearly five years. Even the film's final fadeout on the theatre marquee is a version of the stageplay's famous logo. (Although marketeers decided to go with a more fun Rubik's Cube icon for the movie.)
Now on a low-priced DVD release, DEATHTRAP seems just as fresh and inventinve as ever. The cast is just right (better than their stage counterparts) and location scouts should be applauded for finding a suitably spooky house for our "one room, two act thriller" to take place in. Opened up in surprisingly simple and innovative ways, director Sidney Lumet wisely tags any "new" material onto the beginning and end of the film and leaves Levin's wickedly twisty center alone.
The film's last scene is a major Hollywood departure from the boards, and slightly undermines one of Levin's plot points from earlier in the film [Helga (about a dagger): "Will be used by another woman BECAUSE of play."]. Like Robert Altman's THE PLAYER, however, our new finale helps the film fold in on itself once again and blurs the lines between stage, screen, and (could it be?) real life!
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