Max Ophüls / US, 1949 / 88 min.
In film noir women often, consciously or not, drag men to their doom. Caught turns this trope on its head. Film noir by German émigré Max Ophüls tears holes in the American Dream.
Model Leonora Eames allows herself to be enticed into marriage with millionaire Smith Ohlrig, the type we would now refer to as a power-crazed predator with psychopathic traits. The marriage is a disaster but once trapped and pregnant, escape is virtually impossible for Leonora.
Viewed as an elegantly shot, yet clichéd melodrama by critics at the time, the film is nowadays appreciated for the candid manner in which Ophüls critiques his characters’ materialism.
Robert Ryan is perfect as the brute Ohlrig, who was modelled on megalomaniac multimillionaire Howard Hughes. Barbara Bel Geddes (the later 'Miss Ellie' from the TV series Dallas) is equally astutely cast as his guileless victim. Caught was Brit James Mason’s American debut.
According to many, Ophüls would later produce his best work in France with films such as La ronde and Lola Montès, yet appreciation for his Hollywood films has also increased over time (The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman).
Rain-drenched streets, curls of cigarette smoke, and men with a dark past. An inescapable fate and a femme fatale, sly and sexually independent. This summer Eye is presenting an extended programme of classic film noir, featuring masterpieces such as The Third Man and In a Lonely Place starring Humphrey Bogart. With vintage 35mm prints and newly restored works.