Caught (1949 film)

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Caught (1949 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Max Ophüls
Produced by Wolfgang Reinhardt
Screenplay by Arthur Laurents
Based on the novel Wild Calendar
by Libbie Block
Music by Frederick Hollander
Cinematography Lee Garmes
Edited by Robert Parrish
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • February 17, 1949 (1949-02-17) (United States)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $776,000[1]

Caught is a 1949 American film noir directed by Max Ophüls, and starring James Mason, Barbara Bel Geddes and Robert Ryan. Caught was based on a novel by Libbie Block. Child actor Jimmy Hawkins had a small role in the film.


Young model Leonora Eames marries multimillionaire Smith Ohlrig. Ohlrig, though, is deranged and has not married for love. Eames insists several times that she married for love, but the film suggests that she is deluding herself. When Ohlrig becomes too abusive, she leaves him, penniless, to find a job at a medical clinic in a poor neighborhood and eventually falls for Dr. Larry Quinada.

During a one-night reconciliation with Ohlrig, she becomes pregnant. Ohlrig seeks to use the child as leverage to force Leonora to return to him—purely to assert his own power, and not out of any love for her. When he has an attack of angina (the film implies this is psychosomatic), Leonora refuses to help him swallow his medication. Thinking she's caused his death (he actually recovers), she calls Quinada for help and prematurely enters labor. Quinada rushes her to the hospital, but the baby is stillborn. With the baby lost, however, Ohlrig no longer has any leverage over Leonora, and she is now free to divorce him and marry Quinada.



According to MGM records the film earned $511,000 in the US and Canada and $265,000 overseas.[1]


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 100% of six surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 8.4/10.[2] Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called it " a very low-grade dime-store romance, expensively rendered on film".[3] Variety wrote although the performances are topnotch, the story fails to lift it above romantic pulp fiction.[4] In more modern reviews, J. Hoberman of The New York Times wrote, "The filmmaking is brilliant in part because, like Bel Geddes's deceptively modest performance, it is so apparently unassuming."[5] Anthony Lane of The New Yorker called it a masterwork and wrote that Ohlrig is "a barely concealed portrait of Howard Hughes".[6] Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club called it "Ophüls' best non-period film".[7] Chuck Bowen of Slant Magazine wrote that it is not as good as Ophüls' later masterpieces, but it "offers a damning portrait of middle-class American society as a large and merciless snare."[8]


  1. ^ a b The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ "Caught (1949)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley (February 18, 1949). "Caught (1949)". The New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Review: 'Caught'". Variety. 1949. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  5. ^ Hoberman, J. (July 9, 2014). "Prisons of Gender and a Generation". The New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  6. ^ Lane, Anthony (June 8, 2002). "Master of Ceremonies". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  7. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (July 9, 2014). "The underseen masterpiece Caught gets a no-frills release". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  8. ^ Bowen, Chuck (July 2, 2014). "Caught". Slant Magazine. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 

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