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Comments on old movies from an old and passionate guy

"Mantrap" - British Murder Detective Adventure
released on October 2, 1953

The Actors: Paul Henreid (Hugo Bishop), Lois Maxwell (Thelma Speight, aka Thelma Tasman), Kieron Moore (Mervin Speight), Hugh Sinclair (Maurice Jerrard, editor), Lloyd Lamble (Inspector Freddy Frisnay), Anthony Forwood (RexWillison, fashion photographer), Bill Travers (Victor Tasman), Mary Laura Wood (Susie Martin, sister-in-law of the victim), Kay Kendall (Vera, Bishop's secretary and fiance), John Penrose (Francios Du Vancet, fashion designer), Liam Gaffney (Henry Dorval), Conrad Phillips (Barker), John Stuart (the doctor), Anna Turner (Marjorie), Christina Forrest (Joanna), Arnold Diamond (Alphonse), Jane Welsh (Laura Jerrard)

The Man Who Likes Trouble, and the Woman Who Has Trouble

MantrapLegendary actor Paul Henreid is Hugo Bishop, a London lawyer who likes to play amateur detective when he thinks that justice has been thwarted, so when a friend visits him and asks him to look into the escape of a convicted murderer he is quick to take up the challenge. The escaped killer is Mervin Speight, found unconscious next to the body of a dead woman. When he regains consciousness his memory is gone, and he is quickly convicted of killing the dead girl next to him and sent to prison. Now he has escaped prison and is on the run . . . Scotland Yard believes that he will begin killing again . . . his wife Thelma, played by Lois Maxwell, has taken a new name and a new man, and she believes that he will try to kill her . . . and Bishop believes that the man is innocent and is on the hunt for the real killer. We soon discover that the dead girl had plenty of boyfriends, and one of them is probably the real killer. Suspicion slowly grows in our minds and we become convinced that the real killer is one of the men in Thelma's life today, and her convicted killer husband is not the threat to her, but the real killer . . . one of the men very close to her today. There are three men in her life today . . . Thelma is a fashion editor and her boss is longtime friend Maurice Jerrard, played by Hugh Sinclair . . . Thelma's fashion photographer friend is Rex, played by Anthony Forwood . . . and her current lover, whose last name she uses now, Victor Tasman, played by Bill Travers. One of these men is the real killer, and if he feels he is in danger of being discovered he may kill Thelma. Bishop is slowly uncovering the identity of the real killer, becoming convinced that the escaped convict is not the killer. I 'knew' who the real killer was just before the party arranged by Bishop to bring all of the suspects together . . . let me know when you discover the man. Oh, and if you think that the stunningly beautiful actress playing Thelma looks a bit familiar, you probably remember Lois Maxwell from the James Bond movies a few years after this thriller when she played the part of . . . Miss Moneypenny! Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

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Jimbo Berkey
 
 

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Make them laugh, make them cry, and back to laughter. What do people want to go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise . . . Mary Pickford

Some of my Favorites:

William Powell and Carole LombardProbably my all time favorite movie, My Man Godfrey in 1936 not only gives us an comedic peek at the wealthiest and poorest during the Great Depression, but also was the vehicle for Carole Lombard to create the movie icon of the 'dumb blonde screwball comedy' that is a popular theme even today.

Barbara Stanwyck and Gary CooperMeet John Doe - 1941: The Frank Capra classic set in the Great Depression era that pits the common man against the political masters. You can't be a fan of old movies until you watch Frank Capra's old movies. This one premiered seventy years ago, and it still stirs our emotions and thoughts now. It is as timely as if it were produced today.

John Wayne and Gail Russell in Angel and the Bad ManAngel and the Bad Man - 1947: One of the great teachers of the Secret Law of Attraction is Dr. Joe Vitale . . . but before he was even born actor John Wayne paid for and produced this Cowboy Western that featured The Law of Attraction.

James Cagney in The Time of Your LifeThe Time of Your Life - 1948: James Cagney financed this strangely different feel-good movie, and he plays the part of Joe, a barfly that tries to live his life by making everyone around him better. I watch this one often, and try to become more like Joe every day.

Joe E. Brown in Painted FacesPainted Faces - 1929: Comedy legend Joe E. Brown is a circus clown in a surprisingly serious role as a juror in a Christmas week murder trial who tells the other jurors a story that will change their verdicts in a pre-code drama that could not have been made a few years later.

Cary Grant and Audry Hepburn in CharadeCharade - 1963: It doesn't get much better than Cary Grant and Audry Hepburn in a tale of death, deception, spies and lost wealth as a woman tries to sort out the good guys from the bad guys in this cold-war spy thriller love story.

Thanks largely to Ted Turner and his purchase of the movies from MGM, United Artists and pre-1950 movies from Warner Brothers, those motion pictures are not in danger if disappearing, and should live forever on the Turner Classic Movie cable television channel. Unfortunately many of the movies from smaller motion picture companies have already disappeared and become almost impossible to find and enjoy. Many of these movies are in the public domain, and without an 'owner' to preserve them are becoming more and more rare. This web site is a labor of love by one passionate old movie buff with the goal of sharing public domain movies with the world so that they can live on with new generations of fans. If you find an error or factual mistake, please use the contact page to let me know so that I can correct it for everyone else. This web site celebrates the efforts of every actor - not just the stars - because like a grand stew, each actor adds a unique flavor to the film, and without any of them the movie would not be the same. If you are one of these actors, or a friend or family member of an actor, please send me any anecdotes and stories that you know about any of them, and I will gladly add them to the site to enrich our knowledge about that actor or the movie they played in.