Variety - 03/17/1982
"...There are countless twists and turns in [the plot]..."
New York Times - 03/19/1982
"...A stylish, sneaky, cat-and-mouse movie....The cast of DEATHTRAP meets the demands of the material with delightful enthusiasm and ease..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
If you were a famed mystery playwright with a devastating string of recent flops, what would you do for a can't-miss thriller script? Beg for it? Pay for it? Or would you kill for it? You would if you were Sidney Bruhl, the leading character in Ira Levin's dazzlingly funny, deliciously scary, Broadway-smash-turned-movie-hit Deathtrap. Michael Caine starts as Bruhl and Christopher Reeve stars as Bruhl's one-time student, who's written a play so flawless "even a gifted director couldn't ruin it" ...and who requests Bruhl's production help. And Dyan Cannon is Bruhl's loving wife, who doesn't want the student helped to an early grave. Sydney Lumet directs Deathtrap's hairpin twists with such drop-dead wit and delightful dread that you'll stop laughing only long enough to gasp in surprise.
Sidney Lumet faithfully adapts Ira Levin's witty play of intertwining intentions and duplicitous loyalties in his stinging thriller DEATHTRAP. Set in the glittering milieu of New York's Hamptons, the film stars Michael Caine as Sidney Bruhl, a washed-up writer of Broadway hit thrillers reeling from the unmitigated flop of his most recent play. Upon returning to his wife, Myra--a heart-murmur-afflicted, pill-popping, and incredibly wealthy hysterical played to great effect by Dyan Cannon--Sidney reveals that to add to his chagrin, a former student (Christopher Reeve) has sent him his brilliant first play, entitled DEATHTRAP. Much to his wife's dismay, Sidney concocts a mad scheme to lure the young playwright out to East Hampton and then promptly kill him in order to claim the play as his own. When the wheels of Sidney's plan are set in motion, the three characters launch into a tense, high-pitched game of double entendres, hidden intentions, and unexpected twists. The genre's typical propensity for reversals is magnified tenfold as DEATHTRAP begins to feed upon its own script, taking the characters on a blind ride through sheer suspense and manipulation. Caine, Cannon, and Reeve turn in bravado performances that inject the already taught script with fine-tuned tension and raise the viewer's suspension of disbelief to dizzying and hilarious heights.