Caught (1949)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

USA, 1949Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Enterprise Productions.  Screenplay by , based on the novel Wild Calendar by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

Barbara Bel Geddes graduates from car-hop to salesgirl model after a rigorous course of charm school. Reluctantly agreeing to attend the party of a millionaire () on a yacht, and everything that that implies, she finds herself in the way of the host and puts her charm school training to use. He, to infuriate his psychiatrist among other reasons, immediately marries her and subjects her to a degrading, miserable life that forces her to reconsider her opinion on money buying happiness. Eventually unable to bear her misery, she leaves him and takes a job as a receptionist for a New York City doctor () with whom she falls in love. Like most films by Max Ophuls, this film never really gets you to care deeply for its protagonists, but Ophuls is too honest about this to ever let it be a problem; instead you’re transfixed by the gorgeously subtle camera work and elegant sets. As it turns out, the great European maestro was equally adept at putting together a fine film noir as he was the grand period pieces he was famous for. Bel Geddes wants too much to be Joan Fontaine in the lead role, but she does a fine job carrying the picture. Look for Barbara Billingsley in an early career bit.

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