Sunday Feature-Week 32: Deathtrap (1982)
Tone: A suspenseful, dark-comedy, murder-mystery with a whole lot of plot twists
Cast- Michael Caine, Chistopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon
What: After writing a string of critically panned shows, Broadway playwright Sidney Bruhl(Caine) receives a manuscript from a former student (Reeve) entitled Deathtrap. The play, a murder-mystery thriller, is guaranteed to be a success. Bruhl, possessing the only copy of the manuscript, invites the student to his home in hopes of murdering him and passing the play off as his own.
(and that’s just the beginning)
- Adapted from the longest ever running comedy-thriller in Broadway history, Deathtrap stands as a very smartly written, highly engaging, and masterfully suspenseful film that seems to have been overlooked and forgotten in recent years.(case and point, only version available is in full-screen)
- Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve’s performances in this film are superb and Reeve’s performance is surprisingly badass. Furthermore Caine and Reeve save the film from its biggest flaw…Dyan Cannon. Cannon’s stilted performance is much better fit for stage than screen but is still so unnatural that it tends to take you out of the movie. Cannon was even nominated for a Golden Raspberry for “Worst Supporting Actress” for her performance in this film.
- Christopher Reeve was at the height of his Superman fame at the time, having finished Superman, Superman II, and prepping for Superman III. Reeve didn’t want to be typecast as a superhero and accepted the role in this film to showcase his range. Reeve is quoted as saying,”I’ve had a lot of training as an actor, and I want to use it.”(Just wanted to emphasize how good he is in this film)
- Deathtrap has a perfect blend of humor, pathos, and suspense. It most certainly deserves attention and at the very least a re-release in its original aspect ratio. Below is a nice little excerpt showcasing one of the film’s more suspenseful scenes. To set up the clip, Sidney Bruhl (Caine) is showing Clifford Anderson (Reeve) an original pair of Houdini’s handcuffs, enjoy!