Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"The Money Trap" Rates Brief Cheer

Cleveland Press March 12, 1966

"The Money Trap" is a fair melodrama that could have been more if it had tried to be less.

Chief interest for audiences will be watching Rita Hayworth in a small role opposite leading man Glenn Ford. Miss Hayworth has aged considerably since the days she and Ford were a romantic team on screen (five films, the last one called "Gilda").

But while beauty has faded, talent has increased and it is as an actress that she will be appreciated in this film.

THE MOVIE is about a policeman (Glenn Ford) who lives in a palatial suburban Los Angeles home complete with swimming pool, patio, servants and two cars. The house also is equipped with shapely wife Elke Sommer who in addition to her looks has money.

But things are changing. While her natural assets are very much intact, her financial assets have begun to fade. This wouldn't bother Ford except that she continues to live in the manner to which she's accustomed herself.

Ford and his partner (Ricardo Montalban) investigate a burglary in the home of a wealthy doctor (Joseph Cotten) in which the doctor has killed the burglar. The safe is empty and Cotten insists there was nothing in it anyway.

But the dying burglar mumbles something about two bags full of money.

The detectives investigate the doctor, find that he has shady friends and has been involved in some non-AMA approved activities. Since the burglar didn't steal the loot it must be around somewhere, they believe. They also figure that since it's ill-gotten money they might as well appropriate it.

THE BURGLAR'S WIDOW is Rita Hayworth, also an old flame of Ford's and when they meet the fire is briefly rekindled.

The last 15 minutes of the movie turn into a lengthy shoot-out between the bad good guys and the bad bad guys. By the time the film is over there are enough dead and dying to make it the finale of a grand opera.

Montalban overacts and Ford underacts and Miss Sommer doesn't act at all but just undulates around providing pretty scenery.

For all of its brief (92 minutes) length, the film goes off in too many directions, would have gained from a tighter more direct approach to its story.

THERE'S A LOT of dialog that is supposed to be deep meaning stuff but is merely obscure.

"It isn't the money," mumbles a bleeding Ford, "it's the people."

There may be something in that, but all it seems to mean is that there was a script writer around who couldn't be satisfied with a simple tale of greed and suspense.