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 14 member(s) found this review helpful.
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!
More twists and turns than a roller coaster
Mark Daniels | Albany, NY | 02/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw "Deathtrap" in the theater when it came out in 1982. When VCRs became big, it was a film that I rented a few times, eventually buying my own VHS copy. Now I own the DVD. It's a great film.The plot can't really be discussed here without depriving first-time viewers the opportunity of experiencing all the unexpected twists and turns for themselves. And there are twists and turns aplenty! Christopher Reeve does a great job of breaking his "Superman" stereotype in this, his first post-Superman role. Reeve plays a homosexual playwright who's just written a sure-fire hit Broadway show, and Michael Caine plays a once-successful playwright, Reeve's mentor, who'd kill to have another hit. From this inauspicious beginning, the twists start coming fast and furious, and are a delight to watch.If you've never seen "Deathtrap" you can still safely buy it sight unseen; I guarantee you'll enjoy it. Or maybe you saw the film years ago and want to see it again. Either way, I recommend picking yourself up a copy. You won't regret it."
A devilishly delicate plot!
firstname.lastname@example.org | Seattle, Washington | 01/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pooh on you Leonard Maltin. "Deathtrap" is a movie rich in texture and plot. Although the film features three "big name" stars (which can often be distracting), the viewer still finds himself immersed in the film's characters. Plot twist follows plot twist, rushing toward an unexpected ending ripe with tension. Michael Caine was in some clunkers during this period; this is not one of them. An effectively irritating performance by Dyan Cannon, and Christopher Reeve in an unusual character perforance. Treat yourself to this film -- you won't regret it!!"