Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Robert Ryan, Barbara Bel Geddes, James Mason
CAUGHT (1949). Director: Max Ophuls. 

The wealthy industrialist Smith Ohlrig (Robert Ryan) meets and dates model Leonora (Barbara Bel Geddes) and is on the verge of dumping her, when instead he asks her to marry him simply because he's annoyed with his psychiatrist. Ohlrig has no love for Leonora, and treats her as just another possession. When she can't take his neglect and nasty attitude any longer, she tries to make her own way in the world by becoming a receptionist to Dr. Larry Quinada (James Mason), with whom she falls in love and vice versa. But dealing with her neurotic husband may not be easy. Caught sounds like an interesting story, but the movie borders on the dull, and despite a couple of well-handled scenes -- Mason's confrontation with Ryan, for instance -- this never really comes alive. Talented Bel Geddes [The Long Night] doesn't quite have the presence in this to handle the lead role, Mason is fine, and while Ryan could be accused of underplaying too much at times, he's good as well, but greatly under-utilized -- of the two men, Mason [East Side, West Side] gets the lion's share of the footage. Too many scenes are glossed over -- the courtship and wedding, for instance -- and the whole effect of the movie is just blah. Natalie Schafer all too briefly plays a teacher in a charm school which she would also do a few years later in a classic I Love Lucy episode. Ohlrig's assistant Franzi Kartos (Curt Bois) calls everybody "darling," even Ryan. Director Ophuls had little luck with dark melodramas -- The Reckless Moment, also with Mason, is even worse -- but his Letter from an Unknown Woman is a real gem. 

Verdict: Less here than meets the eye. **1/2. 

No comments: