The Money Trap (1966)

The Money Trap is a film stuck between two periods, coming right at the end of the big studio era and just before the Hollywood New Wave struck and changed all the rules. Despite the fact that it was completed just a year or two before Bonnie and Clyde, The Money Pits looks like a relic in comparison. There are a number of late studio-era crime films that fall into this same category, movies like Frank Sinatra's The Detective and Tony Rome, David Janssen's Warning Shot, Madigan with Richard Widmark, Kaleidoscope with Warren Beatty, and Paul Newman's Harper. Most of these movies get fairly tepid reviews from critics who see them as examples of the studio's collective decline through the changing '60s. Strangely, this period ranks up amongst my favourites. There's something about them that strikes a chord.

The Money Trap stars Glenn Ford, Rita Hayworth and Joseph Cotten, all actors whose stars shone brighter in an earlier era. Relative newcomers Elke Somer and Ricardo Montalban round out the cast. The comfort of the leads after years in front of the camera, together with more accurately representing the age of the characters they're playing, lends credibility to the roles. Their world-weariness seems more palpable and real, quite likely because it is. The story is a standard one of greed, temptation and, as they so often are, a big pile of money. It's well directed by Burt Kennedy, who is mostly known for his work on TV and a number of '60s Westerns.

I've always liked this film. It's the flip side of Gilda (which starred Ford and Hayworth 20 years earlier), the '40s glamour replaced with grit, greed and the changing world of the '60s. Perhaps it's this “out of time” quality that appeals to me. We too, are living through a period of immense societal change and perhaps there's comfort to be found watching it play out in another era. The Money Trap is than a curiosity piece however, it's a solid film as well. In a strange turn, thespians Montalban and Elke Somer would go on to greater success than their much-more-famous (at least at the time) Money Trap co-stars. Rita Hayworth would only make a handful more films and Glen Ford and Joseph Cotten were mostly relegated to made-for-TV movies and mini-series for the balance of their careers.

The Money Trap and Nora Prentiss just arrived at the FBW (well, not quite...they're still at my place, but I'll get them to the store next week) on the stupidly-overpriced Warner Brothers Archive Collection.

....and is it just me or does Ford look like he's taking a crap in the middle of a gun battle on the poster?


1 comment:

the coelacanth said...

it actually looks like he's wiping...