Lunchtime Movie Review

Deathtrap (1982)

Episode #131

Warner Bros. released Deathtrap to theaters on March 19, 1982. Sidney Lumet directed the film starring Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, and Dyan Cannon.

‘Deathtrap’ Movie Summary

After Sidney Bruhl’s latest play flops on Broadway, he returns home to Long Island with his wife, Myra. Sidney’s in the midst of a series of flops, and is desperate for another hit. One of his students, Clifford Anderson, lets Sidney read his play called Deathtrap so he can have some feedback on it.

Sidney loves the play, and considers it to be near-perfect. So much so, he dreams up a plan to kill Clifford in order to produce the play as his own. When Sidney invites Clifford to his home covered with weapons, Myra realizes that Sidney might just be serious about his plan.

When Clifford arrives, Myra tries to convince Sidney not to go through with the murder, but she fails. Sidney strangles Clifford to death with a chain. The perfect crime, right?

A psychic named Helga, who’s visiting neighbors, suddenly shows up, and senses death in the house. She then leaves with an ominous warning to Sidney that a man in boots will attack him.

Later that night, Myra hears a noise downstairs, and fears they have an intruder. Sidney proves to her there’s nobody in the house, and they return to bed. Suddenly, Clifford breaks into the room, and attacks Sidney with a log. He then chases Myra through the house until her heart gives out, and she dies. Sidney reappears uninjured, and greets Clifford with a tender kiss over Myra’s dead body.

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Warner Bros. released Deathtrap to theaters on March 19, 1982. Sidney Lumet directed the film starring Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, and Dyan Cannon.

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  1. Remains of the Day was probably Reeve’s best performance. Great film, maybe Lori put it on her top 100? Street Smart was ok, but Morgan Freeman was great in it. Might be a good LTMR choice.

    1. I haven’t seen The Remains of the Day, but will add it to our LTMR review list. Deathtrap, Somewhere in Time, and Superman are the films of his I know the best. They were on the HBO Loop all the time back in the day.

  2. I actually saw Sleuth in my late teens with Michael Caine on television, which this has always reminded me of Deathtrap. I actually knew nothing of Deathtrap until I saw a local production of the play in my mid 20s. I remember screaming when Clifford came back from the dead. I am almost sure the theater audience was none too pleased. I then sought out the movie version. Being that I am a child of the 80s and Christopher Reeve was my 1st crush (after seeing Superman II at a drive-thru when it was released), I was a little shook upon finding out that he was in a relationship with “Sidney”. The homosexuality aspect wasn’t graphic by any means, it startled me as it did Patrick just seeing my Superman kiss another man, but it was all to do with it being Christopher Reeve being involved. But a good suspenseful movie with a lot of twists and turns.

    1. This is one I haven’t watched since the 80s. I need to see it again to see if it holds up. When I do, I will probably imagine you screaming at Clifford’s reappearance now!

    2. Thank you for checking out our Deathtrap episode. It is one of those 80s films that has really stuck with me through the years. And not even because of the scene that everyone talks about. I absolutely love the script and Michael Caine’s performance as Sidney. Speaking of Mr. Caine, thank you for bringing up Sleuth. I don’t recall ever watching it. I’m going to hunt it down and give it a watch.

      1. Oh yes Sleuth. Please do. It is a 1972 film with Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier. The premise isn’t exactly the same, but it will have you guessing right up till the end. It is a classic movie of Cat and Mouse with both actors at their best, at least I think so. If you appreciate Deathtrap, I believe you will like this one as well. They did a remake with Michael Caine taking Mr. Olivier’s place and Jude Law taking his. I have yet to see it, but have no real desire.

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