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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Deadly Trap (aka La Maison Sous Les Arbres) (1971)

An American couple (Faye Dunaway, Frank Langella) living in Paris find their marriage slowly unraveling. She is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He's a computer genius (Frank Langella) who is re-contacted by "The Organization" which wants him to resume his former occupation as an industrial spy. When he refuses, they retaliate by kidnapping their children. The faux Hitchcockian thriller is a rather dull affair. A thriller without thrills and a muddled plot. The director Rene Clement knows a thing or two about thrillers, he directed PURPLE NOON after all, but he doesn't seem very interested in the mechanics of the genre here. He doesn't get any help from his illustrious screen writers, Sidney Buchman (MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON) and Eleanor Perry (DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE). Dunaway gets to do her specialty, the muted Madonna haltingly falling apart but Langella seems adrift as if he can't figure out the plot either. The insipid score is by Gilbert Becaud. With Barbara Parkins as the overly friendly downstairs neighbor and Maurice Ronet.

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