Caught

1949

Action / Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller

34
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 77%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 2611

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

James Mason as Larry Quinada
Barbara Billingsley as Store customer in flowered hat
Robert Ryan as Smith Ohlrig
Natalie Schafer as Dorothy Dale
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
700.42 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 28 min
P/S 0 / 1
1.24 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 28 min
P/S 0 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lasttimeisaw 8 / 10

a neglected beauty needs to be dusted off from its ill-fated obscurity

The penultimate feature made in Ophüls' transitory active stint in Hollywood (from 1947 to1049, 4 features totally), CAUGHT is an unconcealed reproach of the hidebound "marrying rich" indoctrination that poisons beautiful young women (from less affluent background) into taking it as their sole goal in life.

The specimen under analysis is an unassuming young model Leonora Eames (Bel Geddes), who admittedly isn't cut out to be a devout gold-digger, however, by way of sheer serendipity she falls in with just the right target, the multi-millionaire Smith Ohlrig (Ryan), but their rushed matrimony doesn't augur well, as it is Smith's spur-of-the-moment decision to willfully contradict his headshrinker, only Leonora would have known better.

Blatantly modeled after Howard Hughes, Smith is a callous, high-handed megalomania, incessantly suffered from psychosomatic angina when he cannot get what he wants. After a fallout, Leonora strikes out on her own, leaving their august mansion and starting to work as a secretary of Dr. Larry Quinada (Mason, in his stateside debut), a man who is the antithesis of Smith, mutual attraction sizzles during their working/after-working time, but to extricate herself from an abusive marriage, she has everything to sacrifice, including an unborn baby. The film's espousal of pro-choice is a gallant coup-de-thêàtre transpiring as the exit route to the ill-sorted nuptial pairing, yet it is so emphatically abrupt, to a point it almost demonizes Larry for semi-foisting her in such a dazed state, and foreshadows their future in the end, which is not exactly a happy one one might foresee.

Entrusted with a very sympathetic role as the gaslighted wife who is caught into a snare, objectified as a rich man's property and agonized by his contempt and sneer, Barbara Bel Geddes handsomely struts her stuff in manifesting disparate layers of Leonora's emotional states, to a terrific impression. Regarding to the two dichotomy of her male co-stars, James Mason looks exquisitely dashing under the noir-ish shade, but as usual, it is the villain strikes gold, Robert Ryan effectively reveals a rough edge in his character and doesn't relent even in those tender moments, a monster crystallized by his own obstinance, vanity and oceanic ego, and he knows it too well to readdress his atrocity.

Last but definitely not the least, what leaves a viewer profoundly awestruck is Ophüls under-appreciated (at least in its time) modality in his dexterity of unspooling the story, economy is judiciously achieved by applying newspaper tidings to inform the narrative's progression, not to mention those majestic-looking shots enriched by sublime composition, unconventional depth of field and transcendent chiaroscuro, often in gliding tracking shots meticulously choreographed by an invisible but steady hand. To all intents and purposes, CAUGHT is a neglected beauty needs to be dusted off from its ill-fated obscurity.

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 10 / 10

Film noir at its most expressive!

Copyright 15 February 1949 by Enterprise Productions, Inc. (in notice: 1948). An MGM picture. U.S. release: April 1949. New York opening at the Capitol: 17 February 1949. U.K. release: 25 July 1949. Australian release: 1 December 1949. Sydney release at the St James: 2 November 1949. 8,032 feet. 89 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: A poor girl who dreams of money and luxury, marries a psychotic millionaire.

NOTES: James Mason's first Hollywood film. However he doesn't come in until half-way. The film was originally released world-wide by MGM. Subsequently it was re-issued by independent exchanges. It opened in London at the Empire, Leicester Square, on 25 July 1949. The British Censor gave the film an "A" certificate and cut the length to 7,896 feet — a loss of over a minute.

COMMENT: Any film directed by Max Ophuls is must viewing — and this one follows directly after his American masterpiece, Letter from an Unknown Woman. Oddly enough, the film was not appreciated by contemporary critics to nearly the same extent. They were frightened off by the novelettish subject matter, despite the realistic yet stylish treatment accorded to it by Ophuls, his technicians, his players, and not least screenwriter Arthur Laurents.

The writing with its careful filling-in of background, the realistic sets, the stylish deep-focus photography, and the believable performances transcend the film's dime-novel genesis. The characters are sharply etched and fascinatingly played. Barbara Bel Geddes is winning and sympathetic as the credible but by no means admirable gold-digger. A difficult role which she plays both with charm and total conviction.

Robert Ryan has a more tailor-made part as the psychotic millionaire. Yet despite his familiarity, he still succeeds in dominating every scene in which he appears, giving a fascinating portrayal of a self-centered ego that feeds not only on those around but on himself. At times ingratiating, at times sullen and morose, at times eccentric and psychotic, Ryan like Bel Geddes gives a rounded interpretation of a fully three-dimensional character. The other players, having less to do with the action, are conceived in more simple terms. Chief of these of course is James Mason, who plays the slum doctor in his usual vigorous style, perhaps blurring some of the nuances and subtleties intended by the scriptwriter in the process. Quinada is dedicated and altruistic, yet at the same time a mean man with a buck, a workaholic who is human enough to feel tired, depressed, angry, even selfish and unsympathetic. Oddly enough, Mason's brusque, brisk performance tends to over-emphasize the negative aspects of the character, so that as a foil and a contrast to Robert Ryan's vicious millionaire, he is not wholly engaging. This is what causes the film to lose a fair amount of its tension. The plot and the requirements of the Hays Office are not wholly to blame.

Outstanding among the support players, Curt Bois brings a fascinating credibility — even sympathy — to his role of a vicious pimp. Natalie Schafer, Frank Ferguson and Art Smith contribute their usual effective characterizations.

Thanks to Lee Garmes' camera-work and appropriately atmospheric lighting, and the superb sets ranging from mansions to mean hovels designed by Frank Sylos, the film is always most attractive to look at. The fluid and inventive camera, the tight compositions and taut pace, stamp it firmly as the work of a master European director. No gangsters — but film noir at its most expressive.

Reviewed by Martin Bradley 9 / 10

Another Ophuls masterpiece

The least typical of Max Ophuls' masterpieces, "Caught" is a Women's Picture, written with a steely edge by Arthur Laurents. Barbara Bel Geddes is outstanding as the girl who marries money in the shape of Robert Ryan's sociopath multi-millionaire, modeled so we are told on Howard Hughes, but he treats her with such contempt she runs away and gets a job as a receptionist to James Mason's struggling doctor. It's a triangle quite unlike other triangles in the movies of the time; there is a psychological depth at play here rare in a genre picture of its kind and both Mason and Ryan are superb while Ophuls' framing of the characters greatly enhances the relationships between them, (the distance between Ryan and Bel Geddes in his mansion, the close proximity between Mason and Bel Geddes in the office scenes).

In lesser hands this might have simply been novelettish but it isn't the superficiality of the material that interests Ophuls but how he can manipulate the material so the film is all of a piece. The least typical of Ophuls, I said; perhaps not. Shot after wonderful shot reveals this to be the work of one of cinema's great stylists and it really shouldn't be missed.

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