Welcome to William Schoell's GREAT OLD MOVIES blog. Feel free to leave a comment regardless of the date the review was posted -- I read 'em all. Or if you prefer -- and especially if you have any questions directly for me -- email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Click on a label link (labels can be found at the bottom of each post) to find other movies from that year, the star, that director or genre and so on. Or enter a title, director, genre, star or supporting player in the small Blogger "search blog" box at the far left up above and click search blog. [NOTE: While this blog mostly reviews films -- and TV shows -- that are at least twenty-five years old, we do cover films up until the present day.] HAVE FUN AND THANKS FOR DROPPING BY. William.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
DEATHTRAP (1982). Director: Sidney Lumet. Based on the Broadway play by Ira Levin.
"I'll tell you how good it is -- even a gifted director can't hurt it."
If only ... Playwright Sidney Bruhl (Michael Caine) is dismayed when his latest offering is trashed by the critics, even though his faithful and wealthy wife Myra (Dyan Cannon) remains his biggest booster. When he reads a play written by Clifford Anderson (Christopher Reeve), a student of his, Bruhl hatches a plot to steal away the script anyway he can. But things are a little more complicated than at first they seem. Caine and Cannon are superb, and Reeve offers one of his best performances, but while the film is entertaining and has a few twists, the characters remain one-dimensional and the film is, ultimately, just a psycho-sexual stunt. A better writer could have made something out of the generational difference between two of the protagonists and their perhaps divergent attitudes toward their sexuality -- all of which seems thrown in just for some added "shock" value and is never explored with any depth or intelligence. [Even in 1982 a film that basically traded off "nasty queers" was pretty dated; meaning the movie was hardly "hip" as its makers must have thought] Irene Worth is irritating as a psychic neighbor, but Henry Jones is, as usual, adept as Bruhl's lawyer. Lumet turns in one of his better directorial jobs although he's certainly no Hitchcock.
Verdict: Not as much fun as it sounds. **.