Wednesday, July 11, 2012

THE STEEL TRAP



Watched THE STEEL TRAP (1952) last night. I recorded it off of Turner Classic Movies. Joseph Cotten stars as a bank manager who decides to steal $1 million dollars cashfrom his bank at close of business on a Friday and flee to Brazil which has no extradition treaty with the United States. He figures that by the time the theft is discovered on Monday morning, he'll be safe in South America along with his wife and daughter.

He sets the plan in motion and of course, this being a taut crime thriller, things go from bad to worse in 60 seconds. Written and directed by Andrew Stone and filmed entirely on location in Los Angeles and New Orleans, this is a crisp, tight, adrenaline fueled little gem of a movie. In addition to the steadily increasing suspense, the film provides a look at a lost world of post-war America in which security at banks and airports was vastly different from what we know today.

Joseph Cotten and Theresa Wright, who had previously co-starred in the Alfred Hitchcock classic SHADOW OF A DOUBT, star as the husband and wife on the run. And here's a bit of trivia and the kind of observation that only a hardcore comic book fan like yours truly would make.

Cotten's character is named Jim Osborne and while watching the film, it struck me that Cotten, with his close cropped curly hair and widow's peak, was a dead-ringer for Norman Osborn, who was, of course the Green Goblin, one of Spider-Man's main villains in the comic books of the 1960s. Let's imagine for a moment that a big-budget Spider-Man film had been produced in say, 1967 or 1968. I think Cotten would have made a great choice to play Osborn (a stunt man could have worn the Goblin costume).

If you ever watch THE STEEL TRAP (and I highly recommend that you do), if you're a comic book fan, keep an old copy of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN handy for visual reference and see if you don't agree. Even if you're not a comic fan, if you like well done crime movies, you'll enjoy this one.

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