DATELINE: Forgotten Noir Film
Aging, but Fine Still
Twenty years after the amazing Gilda, Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth co-starred again in a small-budget film noir. This time it did not have the wit or undercurrent of the closet classic of 1945.
Ripe middle-age makes the pairing interesting for older film fans, but lost youth often is overrated. By 1965 Ford and Hayworth had faces and the best lines were in their faces.
The film is old-fashioned with dissipated cops, aging ingenues, and deep dollops of cynicism.
True noir was already past its prime when The Money Trap flopped at the box office, despite having costars like Ricardo Montalban, Elke Sommer, and Joseph Cotten. The cast is marvelous, hard-bitten, and gives last hurrah performances.
Baby Boomer audiences of the day fell down on the job of paying tribute to the formerly great stars.
In the film Ford and Montalban turn out to be corrupt cops needing big bucks, and Ford couldn’t handle his new generation rich wife, Elke Sommer. Instead, he found his old flame, floozie Rita, worth a second look. Yep, they had that old bugaboo, oft called ‘chemistry’.
Cotten plays a mob doctor with oodles of money hidden in his luxurious home—and the two cops need to steal it to maintain a lifestyle way beyond police salary. Montalban becomes too greedy—and therein lies a double-cross emeritus.
What a wonderful throwback, better appreciated today than when it was originally made with more gloss than grime in the production, but the tone is pure 1940s crime melodrama.