Search - Deathtrap on DVD

Actors: Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon, Irene Worth, Henry Jones
Director: Sidney Lumet
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
PG     1999     1hr 56min

Ira Levin's cat-and-mouse Broadway suspense smash about a playwright's deadly game of murder gets diabolically comic screen treatment.


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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon, Irene Worth, Henry Jones
Director: Sidney Lumet
Creators: Andrzej Bartkowiak, Jack Fitzstephens, Alfred De Liagre Jr., Burtt Harris, Jay Presson Allen, Ira Levin
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 07/27/1999
Original Release Date: 03/19/1982
Theatrical Release Date: 03/19/1982
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 1hr 56min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Walter K. (WalterKuzens) from CLACKAMAS, OR
Reviewed on 8/21/2022...
I am almost 50 years old, so while growing up this was THE example of a "twist ending". The most amazing part is that it is entirely acting (based on a play) and I'd say the most impressive special effects were the thunder, lightning and rain. So if you require action sequences you'll be sorely disappointed but if you like dialog and mystery you might just find yourself quite pleased with the time you spent watching it.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Gerald R. from RACINE, WI
Reviewed on 10/15/2010...
Wonderful mystery. Every aspect of this film was strong: good characterizations, fine use of the setting, zcting and direction were very good, and an excellent plot. Worthy of the master of surprise and suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Heather F. (8izenuff) from PHOENIX, AZ
Reviewed on 9/19/2008...
This movie will keep you guessing until the end. It was a great role for Christopher Reeve who was trying to break out of the role of just playing superman. My 16 year old also liked it.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Kenny H. (tneagle)
Reviewed on 2/11/2008...
Beware of homosexual content in this comedy whack-o drama.
1 of 16 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

A Hit To Die For
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 10/02/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When DEATHTRAP was first released, the poster--reproduced on the cover of this DVD--offered a graphic akin to a Rubik's Cube. It is an appropriate image: originally written for the stage by Ira Levin, who authored such memorable works as ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE STEPFORD WIVES, the play was one of Broadway's most famous twisters, and under Sidney Lumet's direction it translates to the screen extremely well.DEATHTRAP is one of those films that it is very difficult to discuss, for to do so in any detail gives away the very plot for which it is famous. But the opening premise is extremely clever: Sidney Bruhl (Michael Caine) is the famous author of mystery plays, but these days he seems to have lost his touch. After a particularly brutal opening night, an old student named Clifford Anderson (Christopher Reeve) sends him a script for a play he has written. It is called "Deathtrap," and Sidney recognizes it as a surefire hit. Just the sort of hit that would revive his career... indeed, a hit to die for. And when Clifford visits to discuss the play, events suddenly begin to twist in the most unexpected manner possible.Like Anthony Shaffer's equally twisty SLEUTH, DEATHTRAP is really a story more at home on the stage than the screen--to reach full power it needs the immediacy that a live performance offers. Still, under the expert guidance of director Sidney Lumet, it makes a more-than-respectable showing on the screen. Much of this is due to the cast, which is remarkably fine. Michael Caine gives a truly brilliant performance, Dyan Cannon is funny and endearing as Sidney's relentlessly anxious wife, and Christopher Reeve gives what might be the single finest performance in his regrettably short acting career. If you can't see it in a first-rate theatrical production, this will more than do until one comes along.Unfortunately, the DVD does not offer the film in its original ratio--it's pan and scan here, and that's a clear strike against the DVD so far as I'm concerned. And sadly, although this is an ideal subject for them, there are no bonuses of any kind. But even so it is DEATHTRAP, and it is DEATHTRAP very expertly done, the perfect movie to curl up with on a dark and stormy night. Keep the lights on!--GFT (Amazon Reviewer)--"
It's no SLEUTH, but it ain't bad...
M. Nichols | West Chester, OH United States | 07/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I first saw DEATHTRAP on television well over ten years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. I finally purchased the DVD to give it another go and came away almost as pleased.

Caine gives his usual wonderful performance as a playwright who has run out of hits and Reeve is better than I've ever seen him, before or since, as an aspiring playwright seeking Caine's guidance. Cannon is irritating as Caine's wife, but she's supposed to be, so I do not feel that her performance weakens the piece at all.

The Plot: Reeve approaches Caine with his first attempt at a play, seeking his idol's criticism. Caine finds the play to be incredible, a surefire hit, and, desperate for such a hit for himself, begins scheming (as only Michael Caine can scheme) ways to get Reeve out of the picture and claim the play, DEATHTRAP, as his own. From this point the picture starts on a rollercoaster ride that doesn't let up until the end. Fiction and reality cross and blur again and again making for a delightfully dark comedic thriller.

My only real criticism of DEATHTRAP is its similarity to SLEUTH, another great twisted thriller also starring Michael Caine. While both films on their own are incredible, fans of SLEUTH may find DEATHTRAP a bit less satisfying - there simply aren't as many surprises. But this is certainly not a reason to avoid this film, as it is a genuine treasure.

The DVD has a minimum of features - no trailer, just a chapter search selection (which is more than SLEUTH had!) and, unfortunately, the film is presented full-screen as opposed to widescreen. This did not bother me as the entire film has a claustrophobic feel to it as the action generally occurs in close quarters. Still, if the film was originally widescreen, I'd rather see the director's original vision. And speaking of direction, Lumet was marvelous as usual. After all, in the film itself, DEATHTRAP is described as a play "so good, even a gifted director couldn't hurt it." And at the bargain price this is one DVD you should snatch up right away."
For Armchair Detective Everywhere--
sweetmolly | RICHMOND, VA USA | 04/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"---and even if you don't feel like "detecting," stick around and savor this tightly written romp of a comedy. "Deathtrap" is about as near as you can come to a Broadway play without being there.Over the hill playwright, Sidney, (Michael Caine) is blocked. He is despondent over his last three miserable failures. His wealthy, clingy wife, Myra (Dyan Cannon) adores him and his plays. Enter fledgling author, Clifford (Christopher Reeves) who, it just so happens, has written a bullet-proof play and is flattered that successful Sidney is willing to look it over. Michael Caine clearly has a glorious time playing stuffy, self-loving Sidney, and Christopher Reeve shows a guileful side not seen before. I'll take exception to other reviewers by saying Dyan Cannon cracked me up as the all-too-doting, somewhat sex starved wife. She also could give Jamie Lee Curtis a run for her title as the "Scream Queen." Ms. Cannon can rock the rafters!Have a group of friends over and enjoy. Remember: don't give away the plot!
-sweetmolly-Amazon Reviewer"