THE STEEL TRAP
(director/writer: Andrew L. Stone; cinematographer: Ernest Laszlo; editor: Otto Ludwig; music: Dimitri Tiomkin; cast: Joseph Cotten (James Osborne), Teresa Wright (Laurie Osborne), Jonathan Hale (Tom Bowers, bank manager), Walter Sande (Customs inspector), Eddie Marr (Ken Woodley) Carleton Young (Briggs, airline clerk), Tom Powers (Travel Agent), Stephanie King (Susan Osborne), Katherine Warren (Mrs. Kellogg); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Bert E. Friedlob; 20th Century Fox; 1952)
“A gripping suspense film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Writer-director Andrew L. Stone(“Highway 301″/”The Last Voyage”/”Confidence Girl”) creates a gripping suspense film that’s enhanced by a great performance by Joseph Cotten, excellent use of b/w location shots by Ernest Laszlo, and because it wisely keeps things simplified and doesn’t try to explain its protagonist’s sudden illicit urge to steal.
James Osborne (Joseph Cotten) lives a contented staid life in the suburbs of Los Angeles with his adoring wife Laurie (Teresa Wright) and young daughter Susan. He has risen up the ladder in 11 years to be the assistant manager, in the same bank he started out as a teller. On a Friday evening Jim steals about a million dollars from the safe and takes a flight to New Orleans and then to a connecting flight on Saturday morning to Rio de Janeiro. He chose Brazil because it has no extradition treaty with the United States, and tells his gullible wife, whom he never lied to before, that the bank has sent him on a two week business trip/vacation.Since Susan (Stephanie King) is too young to travel, Jim agrees to leave her home with Laurie’s mom and to bring her to Brazil later when they are settled.When Jim starts acting strange in New Orleans as he worries he might not be able to book passage on the flight to Brazil, Laurie becomes suspicious that something’s wrong. When she believes he stole the money he’s carrying Laurie returns home to Los Angeles, telling him she won’t live with a criminal. By Monday morning Jim decides he can’t live without his family and returns home to replace the money before he’s found out.
REVIEWED ON 8/31/2014 GRADE: B+