The U.S. Treasury Department cracks down on counterfeiting as forger Tris Stewart (Lloyd Bridges) finds himself trapped between G-men and gangsters in director Richard Fleischer's dark suspense thriller. Allowed to escape from a seven year prison stretch, Tris plots to recover near perfect currency printing plates, forge some money and escape south of the border with his sexy but loyal gal, Laurie (Barbara Payton).
One of Barbara Payton's twelve feature films, Trapped captures the starlet's striking beauty at its peak. Payton was an iconoclast Hollywood "bad girl" who dreamed of stardom and had married two husbands by the time she reached Tinseltown in 1948. Dubbed "Queen of the Nightclubs" by the tabloids, Payton was romantically linked to men like George Raft, Gary Cooper, Woody Strode, Howard Hughes, John Ireland, Bob Hope, Franchot Tone and Tom Neal. Her later years found Payton drunk, shooting heroin and prostituting herself in the back seat of her rusty red convertible for $5 a trick.
In Trapped, her first starring role, Payton teamed with Richard Fleischer, son of famed animator Max Fleischer. Fleischer helped solidify the posture of "film noir" with such crime cinema offerings as Follow Me Quietly (1949) and The Narrow Margin (1952). His output of over 50 feature films included work as diverse as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Doctor Dolittle (1967), Fantastic Voyage (1966), Soylent Green (1973) and Amityville 3-D (1983).
Lloyd Bridges' career, which began in earnest in the early 40s, continued with increasing success through the 1990s. He is best remembered for his role as the deputy in High Noon (1952) and as "Mike Nelson" in the long-running TV series "Sea Hunt."
Trapped is one of the most violent and gritty of all noirs. It crackles with suggestive dialogue as it twists along with unexpected double crosses, surrounded in a haze of deep, dark shadows.
TRAPPED is taut, unpretentious thriller directed by Richard Fleischer. The film begins in semi-documentary style, explaining the workings of the U.S. Treasury Department, and then follows the chain of events set in motion when a forged $20 bill is discovered in California. However, it takes a dramatic turn when treasury agents in Washington D.C. recognize the source of the forged bill and travel to a penitentiary in Atlanta to interview Chris Stewart (Lloyd Bridges) is in jail for passing forged bills from that source. The agents engineer a fake escape for Stewart, so that he can lead them to the source of the forgeries. But, Stewart has others ideas and slips his minders.
As with all of his movies, whether A-features like those later in his career or small B-pictures like TRAPPED, Fleischer obtains forceful performances from his actors, not only Lloyd Bridges, in whom he uncovers a violent unpredictableness, but also Barbara Payton as Stewart's girl, and John Hoyt as a determined agent masquerading as a small time crook.
Director Richard Fleischer's thriller follows FBI agents on the trail of counterfeiters.
TRAPPED was the first movie on which Earl Felton (1909-1972) worked with director Richard Fleischer. Felton (who was sometimes credited as Earl Felton, Jr.) wrote three thrillers for Fleischer; TRAPPED, ARMORED CAR ROBBERY (1950), and THE NARROW MARGIN (1952). The latter was remade in 1990 as a vehicle for Gene Hackman. The fruitful collaboration between Felton and Fleischer also produced a comedy--THE HAPPY TIME (1952)--and two striking adventure movies--20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954) and BANDIDO (1956).
George Zuckerman (1916-1996) also worked on the screenplay of TRAPPED. Between 1947 and 1957, Zuckerman wrote, or co-wrote, the scripts for 12 movies and provided the story for five more. He is best known for writing the screenplays of director Douglas Sirk's two best movies--WRITTEN ON THE WIND (1956) and the beautiful TARNISHED ANGELS (1957).
Bryan Foy (1896-1977), the producer of TRAPPED, was one of the Seven Little Foys. When his mother Madeleine Morando Foy died in 1918, Bryan's father, vaudeville entertainer Eddie Foy, kept the family together by putting his children into his act. In 1955, director Melville Shavelson told their story in THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS, with Bob Hope starring as Eddie. Bryan Foy began producing movies with the Ken Maynard vehicle CALIFORNIA MAIL in 1929. He went on to produce more than 140 movies, including HOUSE OF WAX (1953) and CRIME WAVE (1954) which were both directed by André De Toth.
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