Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Z. Leonard|
|Produced by||Pandro S. Berman|
|Screenplay by||Marguerite Roberts|
|Based on||the short story "The Bribe"
by Frederick Nebel
|Music by||Miklós Rózsa|
|Edited by||Gene Ruggiero|
The Bribe is a 1949 American crime film noir directed by Robert Z. Leonard and written by Marguerite Roberts, based on a story written by Frederick Nebel. The drama features Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton, and Vincent Price.
Federal agent Rigby (Taylor) travels to Los Trancos on the island of Carlota (somewhere off the coast of Central America) to break up a war-surplus aircraft engine racket and finds himself tempted by corruption, namely Elizabeth Hintten (Gardner), a café singer married to Tug Hintten (Hodiak), a drunken ex-pilot.
Carwood (Price) is the brains of the outfit, aided and abetted by J.J. Bealer (Laughton) and Hintten (Hodiak).
- Robert Taylor as Rigby
- Ava Gardner as Elizabeth Hintten
- Charles Laughton as J.J. Bealer
- Vincent Price as Carwood
- John Hodiak as Tugwell 'Tug' Hintten
- Samuel S. Hinds as Dr. Warren
- John Hoyt as Gibbs
- Martin Garralaga as Pablo Gomez
Film critic Bosley Crowther lambasted the drama in his film review, writing, "If you plan to put down your money to see the Capitol's The Bribe, we suggest that you be prepared to write off this extravagance as a folly and nothing more. For The Bribe' is the sort of temptation which Hollywood put in the way of gullible moviegoers about twenty years ago. It's a piece of pure romantic fiction, as lurid as it is absurd. And if it didn't have several big 'names' in it, it would be low-man on a 'grind house' triple-bill...The only hint which the director, Robert Z. Leonard, gives that he may have meant it all as pure nonsense comes at the very end, when he blows up the place with pyrotechnics. That's the one appropriate move in the whole show."
Time Out film guide included the following in their review: "Price and Laughton make a formidable pair of heavies in this otherwise feeble thriller shot on a cheaply rigged-up corner of the MGM backlot. Taylor isn't up to moral dilemma as a US government agent sent to crack illicit aircraft engine trading in the Caribbean, yet tempted by a lucrative cash offer and the irresistible charm of café chanteuse Gardner."
In the book Cult Movies by Karl French and Philip French, they write, "In classic noir style, the chain smoking Rigby (he has no Christian name) tells most of the story in flashbacks that begin as visions he sees on the rain-lashed window of his hotel room. His voiceover narration continues as he battles with his conscience and tries to retain his honour in a world reeking of corruption. Laughton and Price are splendidly hammy villains and Gardners nightclub singer is an innocent femme fatale in the manner of Rita Hayworth's Gilda."
In popular culture
Scenes and characters from The Bribe are used in Carl Reiner's 1982 film parody, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, in which star Steve Martin's character is named Rigby and he is searching for friends and enemies of "Carlotta."
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- The Bribe at the Internet Movie Database.
- Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 401
- Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, "Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner Top Cast of The Bribe, New Feature at the Capitol," February 4, 1949. Last accessed: January 17, 2008.
- Time Out. Film Guide, 2008. Last accessed: January 17, 2008.
- Halliwell, Leslie. Halliwell's Film Guide. HarperCollins, United Kingdom.
- French, Karl and Philip French. Cult Movies, Pavilion Books Limited, United Kingdom 1999.