Thursday, August 20, 2015
THE STEEL TRAP
A bank officer named Jim Osborne (Joseph Cotten), with a wife, Laurie (Teresa Wright), and a small daughter, hits upon a scheme of stealing a million dollars and taking his family to Brazil, where no extradition treaty exists. But getting out of the country with the loot proves no easy feat, as there's one complication after another involving passports in locked offices, missed flights, curious customs men, and the like. The Steel Trap is extremely suspenseful, especially at the nail-biting climax, and the two leads give superlative performances; Cotten is particularly effective. What perhaps prevents this from being a masterpiece is that the characterization is comparatively minimal. Johnathan Hale is fine as Osborne's boss, Mr. Bowers, and there are short appearances by two of the cast members of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman: William Hudson is a bank teller, and Michael Ross, who played the alien giant and the bartender in that film, is a building guard in this one. Wright and Cotten were most famously teamed in the earlier Shadow of a Doubt while Hale was in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train.
Verdict: Quite memorable and tense thriller. ***.