CAUGHT James Mason

CAUGHT. MGM, 1949. James Mason, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Ryan. Very loosely based on the novel Wild Calendar by Libbie Block. Director: Max Ophüls.

   Speaking of endings, as I was when discussed Kiss Me Deadly a short while ago, something similar happened six years earlier — intentionally, this time — with the ending of the MGM film Caught, where we see one ending, a richly satisfying one in which (WARNING!) Barbara Bel Geddes murders her abusive husband Robert Ryan, but we hear — in a jarring, dubbed-over tone — another one in which the characters talk about how she saved his life at the last minute. (END OF WARNING.)

   Obviously there was some last-minute fudging by the studio heads at MGM, to appease the censors and give audiences a happy ending, even if it meant throwing out the whole point of the story. Yet in spite of what we hear the characters say, the evidence of our eyes remains.

   I guess actions — even images of actions — speak louder than words.

Editorial Comment: Based on Mike Grost’s review of the film, which you can find here, I’ve changed the category in which I placed the movie from “Crime Film” to “Romantic Drama,” in spite of the fact that other experts often consider Caught to be film noir.