Trapped

Overview

When nearly perfect counterfeit 20-dollar bills start turning up, the Treasury Department recognizes them as the work of Tris Stewart (Lloyd Bridges), a man already doing a long prison stretch. They offer Stewart a break on his sentence if he'll help them find out who got hold of his old plates, but he initially refuses. Some weeks later, while being transferred to another prison, Stewart escapes from custody -- it turns out that this is a set-up to free Stewart to search for the plates with a treasury agent ...
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Overview

When nearly perfect counterfeit 20-dollar bills start turning up, the Treasury Department recognizes them as the work of Tris Stewart (Lloyd Bridges), a man already doing a long prison stretch. They offer Stewart a break on his sentence if he'll help them find out who got hold of his old plates, but he initially refuses. Some weeks later, while being transferred to another prison, Stewart escapes from custody -- it turns out that this is a set-up to free Stewart to search for the plates with a treasury agent keeping tabs on him; then he turns on the T-man as well, escaping for real. What Stewart doesn't know is that the agents expected and desired this move, believing that he would only go for the plates if he thought he could make some money from the bills and get out of the country with his girlfriend Laurie (Barbara Payton). They've got her apartment bugged, and one of their own men, Downey (John Hoyt), has been put in place as a customer at the nightclub where she works, quietly establishing himself as a man with some angles of his own and a yen to know her better. Stewart follows the trail to one of his ex-distributors, now in business for himself with the plates. But the man needs money, and Stewart thinks he can get it with help from Downey -- he doesn't like him trying to impress her, but does like it that he is a grifter with some money. They become partners, putting up Downey's cash to get the 250,000 dollars in counterfeit twenties, which Stewart will spend at face value where he and Laurie are going, in countries where they need U.S. currency and there are no treasury agents around to help identify counterfeit bills. Before the deal can be closed (and the arrest made), a new round of possible double-crosses starts between the hoods, and Downey's cover is suddenly blown by accident -- Stewart tries to kill him but is captured instead. Downey's superiors want to pull him out, but the agent thinks he can still salvage the operation if he can get to the plates before Laurie can talk to anyone. That leads to the denouement, an extended series of split-second plot developments with several lives at risk.
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Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Trapped was one of the earlier films to follow in the wake of He Walked by Night -- made at the same studio, Eagle Lion -- which utilized a documentary-style approach to present a crime story (He Walked By Night, in turn, was merely adopting a technique that had been popularized at 20th Century Fox in such fact-based espionage stories as The House on 92nd Street). The technique was still fresh enough that it could hold audience interest at the time, though its handling here is somewhat clunky -- the documentary portion at the opening is fine, but the slice-of-life scene intended to support it is played and shot so uninterestingly, that it almost stops the movie and the action (which hasn't even started yet) dead in their tracks at three minutes into the picture. All of which is a pity, because from the five-minute mark onward, this is a solid, fast-moving crime thriller, with some unexpectedly complex elements, that picks up steam and tension as it rolls forward. The script is filled with double- and triple-crosses that seem obvious until they start forming up in layers, so that by the midway point there are enough overlapping scams being run by almost everyone involved to make Trapped seem as twist-laden as any two Mission: Impossible scripts. Director Richard Fleischer brings a smooth, low-key style to the plot and an up-close-and-personal approach to the violence, which makes for an intense viewing experience. Lloyd Bridges' weasel-like performance here as the man at the center of a government investigation and a double-cross (but by whom?) is practically a rehearsal for his work as the psychopathic criminal in Cyril Endfield's Try and Get Me a year later; he portrays a lean and hungry look that seems to go down into his soul and makes his pathological performance totally convincing, though his work here is also stiff at times, hemmed in as he is by some routine gangster movie jargon and posturing. The real surprise for many viewers, however, will be the presence of John Hoyt, playing a kind of "deep cover" treasury agent -- those accustomed to Hoyt's one-note character performances over the years, mostly as taciturn misers or eccentric older relatives, may be amazed to see the chameleon-like work that he does in the role of a man forced to wear several guises in his work and to switch them from moment to moment, from oily man-on-the-make to two-bit grifter to dedicated lawman; indeed, Hoyt's character is as much the focus of the movie as Bridges', and their duality, representing two very different kinds of men driven by deep passions, is the real focus of the movie. Each character finds himself trapped on impossibly dangerous ends of the same double- (or triple-) cross, by virtue of the kind of person that he is -- when they finally reveal who they are to each other, the confrontation stops just slightly short of murder. The movie also offers viewers an ancillary visual/historical treat in its final minutes -- amid the location shooting done in Los Angeles, the writers and producers staged a chase in the storage yard for the city's trolley system, which was to disappear soon after (to the regret of subsequent generations of residents, trapped in hopeless traffic jams); indeed, the yard and the noises of the trolleys are essential in structuring the movie's finale, which is only a little less engrossing than the chase on the Williamsburg Bridge that ends Naked City, another crime film within the same sub-genre.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/23/2004
  • UPC: 089218457899
  • Original Release: 1949
  • Rating:

  • Source: Alpha Video
  • Presentation: B&W
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:18:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 46,141

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lloyd Bridges Stewart
John Hoyt Downey
Barbara Payton Laurie
James Todd Sylvester
Russ Conway Gunby
Bert Conway Mantz
Harry Antrim
Stephen Chase
Ken Christy
Robert Karnes
Rory Mallinson
Renny McEvoy
Tommy Noonan
Ruth Robinson
Mack Williams
Alex Davidoff
Sid Kane
Technical Credits
Richard Fleischer Director
Alfred de Gaetano Editor
Frank Durlauf Art Director
Earl Felton Screenwriter
Bryan Foy Producer
Irving Friedman Musical Direction/Supervision
Sol Kaplan Score Composer
Armor E. Marlowe Set Decoration/Design
Guy Roe Cinematographer
Roy Seawright Special Effects
Ern Westmore Makeup
George Zuckerman Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [2:17]
2. Chapter 2 [10:26]
3. Chapter 3 [13:19]
4. Chapter 4 [13:17]
5. Chapter 5 [12:47]
6. Chapter 6 [11:47]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Chapter Index
   Catalog
   Coming Attractions
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