- Deathtrap (film)
Theatrical poster by Bill Gold
Directed by Sidney Lumet Produced by Burtt Harris
Jay Presson Allen (executive producer)
Written by Ira Levin (play)
Jay Presson Allen (screenplay)
Starring Michael Caine
Music by Johnny Mandel Cinematography Andrzej Bartkowiak Editing by Jack Fitzstephens Distributed by Warner Brothers Release date(s) March 19, 1982 Running time 116 minutes Country United Staes Language English
The cast includes Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon, Irene Worth and Henry Jones. Real-life movie and theatre critics Stewart Klein, Jeffrey Lyons and Joel Siegel have cameo appearances as themselves.
Famed playwright Sidney Bruhl debuts the latest in a series of Broadway flops and returns to his opulent Long Island home and his sympathetic but sick wife, Myra. Although their financial situation is not dire, Sidney is hungry for a hit. They are starting to feel the limit of his wife's fortune, so he shares with her a plan. He has received a manuscript written by one of his students that he considers near perfection. Clifford Anderson recently attended one of Sidney's writing workshops and now asks for his input on his play "Deathtrap." Myra's weak heart is not improved when her husband does not rule out eliminating Clifford and producing the play as his own. He invites Clifford to their secluded Long Island home to discuss it.
Clifford arrives by train. Myra tries desperately over the course of an evening to convince Sidney to work with Clifford as equal partners, but to no avail. Sidney attacks Clifford, strangling him with a chain.
Sidney removes the body but still has to convince Myra to conspire with him. She reveals nothing when they receive an unexpected visit from the psychic Helga Ten Dorp, a minor celebrity who is staying with the Bruhls' neighbors. But Helga senses pain and death in the house; before she leaves she warns Sidney about a man in boots who will attack him.
As she prepares for bed, Myra is managing to come to terms with Sidney's diabolical deed. All is calm until Clifford bursts through the bedroom window and beats Sidney with a log. Clifford chases Myra through the house until her heart gives out; she collapses and dies. Sidney calmly descends the stairs, uninjured, and sidles unperturbed to Clifford's side. They exchange a few words about what to do with Myra's body, then exchange a passionate kiss.
Clifford moves in. The two work together at a double desk, Sidney suffering from writer's block but Clifford busily typing page after page of a new play that he keeps suspiciously under lock and key. Sidney breaks the lock and is horrified to discover that Clifford is using the true story of Myra's murder as the basis of a play called "Deathtrap." Unashamed, Clifford offers to share the work and the credit. Sidney demurs until Clifford insists he's prepared to leave him and write the play without him.
A few days later, Helga stops by, ostensibly for candles in anticipation of a predicted thunderstorm. Almost immediately after meeting Clifford, she warns Sidney that Clifford is the man in boots.
Sidney doublecrosses Clifford by asking him to arm himself with an axe to demonstrate a bit of stage business, then producing a gun to dispose of Clifford and "Deathtrap." But Clifford has loaded the bullets into a different gun, and he secures Sidney to a chair with manacles, unaware they were once the property of Harry Houdini. Sidney easily releases himself, grabs a crossbow and fells Clifford with a single arrow.
Before Sidney can dispose of the body the storm hits with full force, plunging him into darkness. A flash of lightning illuminates the living room and a fleeting figure scurries through. It is Helga, aware of the mortal danger at the house.
Sidney finds a knife while Helga grabs a gun. Clifford regains consciousness and trips Helga. The gun goes flying and a struggle for it ensues that ...
... culminates on a stage with actors before a full house, where "Clifford" stabs "Sidney" and both die, leaving "Helga" victorious. The opening night audience erupts in thunderous applause, and at the back of the house stands Helga Ten Dorp, now the happy author of a hit Broadway play called "Deathtrap."
- Michael Caine as Sidney Bruhl
- Christopher Reeve as Clifford Anderson
- Dyan Cannon as Myra Bruhl
- Irene Worth as Helga Ten Dorp
- Henry Jones as Porter
Critics were about evenly divided on the film. Cannon was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for "Worst Supporting Actress" for her performance.
Mad Magazine parodied the film as Deathcrap.
The kissing scene between Sidney and Clifford is not in the original play. In his book The Celluloid Closet, gay film historian Vito Russo reports Reeve as saying that the kiss was booed by preview audiences in Denver, Colorado and estimating that a Time magazine report on the incident (which spoiled a key plot element) cost the film $10 million in ticket sales.
Films directed by Sidney Lumet 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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Look at other dictionaries:
Deathtrap — may refer to: Deathtrap (play), a 1978 play by Ira Levin which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play Deathtrap (film), a 1982 film based on the Levin play Deathtrap (plot device), a plot device in fiction and drama Deathtrap, a… … Wikipedia
Deathtrap (play) — Deathtrap Written by Ira Levin Characters Sidney Bruhl Myra Bruhl Clifford Anderson Helga ten Dorp Porter Milgrim Date premiered February 26, 1978 Original language … Wikipedia
Deathtrap (plot device) — A deathtrap is a literary and dramatic plot device in which a villain, who has captured the hero or another sympathetic character, attempts to use an elaborate and usually sadistic method of murdering him/her. It is often used as a means to… … Wikipedia
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Piège mortel (film) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Piège mortel. Piège mortel Données clés Titre original Deathtrap Réalisation Sidney Lumet Scénario Jay Presson Allen … Wikipédia en Français
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