Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Trapped (1949)

Tight Eagle-Lion crime drama from the director of ARMORED CAR ROBBERY, FOLLOW ME QUIETLY, and THE NARROW MARGIN. Former Universal contract star Barbara Payton and a pre-SEA HUNT Lloyd Bridges are the romantic leads in 1949's TRAPPED, though you have to sit through a logy, talky Treasury Department educational film before you get to anything resembling romance. Or drama or excitement, for that matter.

Hard to believe the assured Payton was only 21 when she shot TRAPPED, but then youths grew up faster then. Bridges is top-billed bad guy Tris Stewart, a convicted forger recruited by the feds to lead them to counterfeiter using his old plates. To protect his cover, the agents stage a fake prison escape, but then Stewart doublecrosses them by punching out Agent Foreman (Robert Karnes) and escaping for real.

But — surprise! — that’s a fake too, set up by the Treasury agents to ensure Stewart leads them to L.A., where he hooks up with his old gal Meg Dixon (Payton). Keeping an eye on things is Agent John Downey (John Hoyt), undercover as a hood who ingratiates himself with Meg.

Crafty plotting by George Zuckerman (BORDER INCIDENT) and Earl Felton (20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA) and solid but not flashy direction by Richard Fleischer keep the actors plugging right along. Interesting to see screen heavy Hoyt playing a good guy and heroic Bridges as the hood. The two men (and their stunt doubles) perform a brutal seaside fight, and Fleischer stages the climactic shootout in a visually exciting trolley barn.

1 comment:

Grant said...

I wonder how often a prison escape engineered by the police themselves has ever turned out to be a GOOD idea (in or out of fiction)? I can't help thinking of Roger Corman's SWAMP DIAMONDS, where the escape gets two civilians killed along the way, and a third one almost killed.