Sunday, June 5, 2011
(March 1982, U.S.)
Perhaps you recall in blog postings from the past that great dialogue is the most irrisistable element I enjoy in all films that I see. Well, believe it or not the late Sidney Lumet's simple 1982 film adaptation of Ira Levin's play, DEATHTRAP is my favorite dialogue film of all time. No joke! It's impossible to describe with mere words here why I feel that way. I can only say that you would do yourself well to rent the film and experience how the dialogue flows so naturally and with great timing, wit and chemistry.
The great actor Michael Caine is playwright Sidney Bruhl who has just experienced his fourth Broadway flop in a row. Although his financial situation is not dire, Sidney is hungry for a hit. He and his wife are starting to feel the limit of her fortune, so he shares with her a plan in which he will murder Clifford Anderson (played by Christopher Reeve), the author of a play entitled "Deathtrap" that he's received from him in good faith and that he also considers near perfection. He invites Clifford to their secluded Easthampton, Long Island home to discuss the play. What follows this meeting of the playwright minds is a diabolical scheme of "cat-and-mouse" in which you're never entirely sure of who's scheming who and who will win in the end. I'm afraid it's impossible to go on without giving away too much that would ruin the plot for those who wish to see this film. What I can tell you, however, is that while you're watching and trying to figure out what's going to happen next, you'll enjoy to the fullest the chemistry of dialogue between Caine and Reeve's characters and they naturally play off of each other to the murderous end.
Just a personal note that I saw DEATHTRAP in screen at a small single movie house in Great Neck, Long Island. It was the last film I got to see there before they closed it up and tore it down. I still miss that theater.
Favorite line or dialogue:
Joel Seigel (as himself): "Well, Sindey Bruhl's new who-done-it, 'Murder Most Fair', opened tonight at The Music Box. But there's not point in you folks going there 'cause I'm gonna tell you who-done-it - Sidney Bruhl done it! And what's inexcusable is, he done it in PUBLIC!"