093 - Caught (1949)

Caught tells the story of Leonora Eames (Barbara Bel Geddes) who marries self-made millionnaire Smith Ohlrig (Robert Ryan) only to find he is not all that he appears.

Leonora Eames grew up wishing she would know a rich man and have him take care of her for the rest of her life. After attending finishing school, she attends a party only to meet the rich host, Smith Ohlrig, who takes her for a drive.

As she gets to know him she falls in love with more than just his money, but after they marry he begins to become more tyrannical and paranoid believing that she is just after his money. She leaves him and sets up a new life working for a pleasant doctor (James Mason) but her husband isn't willing to give her up so easily.

Theatrical Poster
Caught is a film that would have struck a chord with many at its release; many dreamt of coming back into money following the Second World War, while others would happily hoard it away amid paranoia that others would try to steal it. Leonora sees both sides of the coin from the unhappy point of view - no money to look after her mother as a pauper, and no love from her husband after marrying into money.

From a modern perspective there is still much to relate to; Leonora's reliance on magazines for getting the popular opinion is something that hits tabloid headlines on a daily basis in modern times.

I can't help but compare the story to Camille for the lead female being caught in a relationship that she can't escape from despite wanting someone else. Both Camille and Leonora bring it upon themselves from mistakes in the past and both characters are wonderfully acted by their respective actresses.

The male characters in Caught are given far less screen time and the doctor is happy to play the single-sided doting man, Smith displays a very protective nature, both of his money and, to begin with at least, his new wife. Later as Smith changes from being the loving husband, Robert Ryan superbly manages to handle the transition.

A well rounded film, and a good one to watch if you are a film noir fan.