Caught Screen 7 articles

Caught

1949

Caught Poster
  • ++

    Cahiers du cinéma: Jean-Luc Godard
    March 1958 | Godard on Godard (p. 72)

    This is Max's best American film. . . . The title, Caught, is also the moral of this cruel and delicate film. Our modern Eve, admirably played by Barbara Bel Geddes (the Simone Simon of Broadway), is finally well and truly caught after confusing love with what she thought was love and falling into traps she herself had set.

  • Though CAUGHT could be classified as film noir, its paranoid image of marriage makes it a direct descendent of the Gothic novel as well. (Nineteenth, rather than twentieth, century art usually provides more useful points of reference when discussing Ophuls, whose society-encompassing tracking shots feel like the closest filmic analogue to Balzac's prose or Delacroix's paintings).

  • Leonora's entrapment is most vividly communicated by the film's astonishing imagery. Virtually every scene shows Leonora eclipsed by a man, even her eventual savior, Larry Quinada (James Mason), a good-looking doctor who's better intentioned than Smith, but understood by the filmmakers to be equally manipulative. Ophüls and cinematographer Lee Garmess often fashion diagonal planes that embolden the images with a nearly three-dimensional effect...

  • That movement—that is, Leonora’s movement—is conveyed with the sort of virtuosity that made Ophüls an idol for generations of lens-geek directors... Ophüls’ directing style is closely associated with the 19th-century settings of his most well-known films; transplanted into the then-present, it seems even more radical.

  • The filmmaking is brilliant in part because, like Bel Geddes’s deceptively modest performance, it is so apparently unassuming. “Caught” could be described as the least showy movie Orson Welles ever made. Ophuls’s use of long takes, deep focus, looming angles, noir lighting and overlapping dialogue equals that of Welles and achieves greater fluidity. As if to force the comparison, Ohlrig’s palace is a set to rival Kane’s Xanadu or the “Magnificent Ambersons” mansion.

  • The movie is especially powerful because it’s such an accurate portrayal of domestic violence, the sense of entitlement that sadistic males often have in these marriages, and the push-and-pull these men engage in to confuse and psychologically dominate their victims. Although Ohlrig is not a killer, he hates women, and seeks to destroy them with his hate and control.

  • It's an interesting film in many ways and in many ways a good one — the Ophuls visual style is restrained but still elegant — until its ending. The movie can be seen as Ophuls’ revenge on Howard Hughes, who had fired him from VENDETTA (as he would later fire Preston Sturges and Stuart Heisler)... All this is very dramatic and interesting and of course beautifully filmed by Ophuls.

More Links