Deathtrap Script ((HOT))
Sidney Bruhl, a previously successful playwright, has had a series of box office flops and is having trouble writing. Sidney mimics reading a play that he tells his wife, Myra, he has received from a student of his, Clifford Anderson. Sidney asserts that the student's play is a certain hit. Interspersed with reassurances that he is only kidding, he frightens Myra with suggestions that he may kill Clifford in order to steal the script. Sidney telephones Clifford to invite him over to give him suggestions on improving the play. Clifford's play is, like the actual play itself, entitled Deathtrap, and is also a one set, five character thriller.
As Sidney returns from disposing of Clifford's body, psychic Helga ten Dorp comes to the Bruhl home to warn Sidney and Myra that she is having visions of terrible pain coming from the Bruhl home. Helga wanders around the house revealing visions that appear to be only partially correct. Sidney, relieved that Helga has not accurately envisioned the murder, reassures Myra to the point that she admits her own secret wish that Sidney was going to go through with the murder to steal the script. As Sidney and Myra are about to go to bed, Clifford, covered in mud, snatches Sidney from behind, and apparently beats Sidney to death. Myra, shocked and terrified, collapses and dies from a heart attack. Clifford confirms Myra's death and exclaims to Sidney that their plan has been successful: Clifford's murder had been staged to shock and kill Myra.
Two weeks have elapsed, Clifford is working on his manuscript but Sidney continues to suffer from writer's block. Porter Milgrim, Sidney's attorney, throws suspicions on Clifford by alerting Sidney that he has seen Clifford locking his manuscript into his desk drawer. Sidney surreptitiously reads Clifford's manuscript and discovers that Clifford is writing a play called Deathtrap based directly on the plot to cause Myra's heart attack. Sidney confronts Clifford, who threatens to move out and write the play regardless of whether Sidney wants him to or not. Sidney agrees to help Clifford write his play.
The play is known as one of the biggest hits on Broadway, running for four years with almost 1800 performances. The preface to the published script describes it as "something so evil that it infects all who touch it. The thing has a life of its own. In Deathtrap, Levin has taken the basic components of thrillers and horror stories; murder, deceit, innocent dialogue with hidden sinister meanings, plot reversals, unexpected turns of events, etc., and twisted and rearranged the pieces again and again."
DeathtrapRoss Valley PlayersReview by Jeanie K. Smith Season ScheduleAlso see Patrick's reviews of When We Were Young and Unafraid and How I Learned What I Learned and Jeanie's review of Moon Over BuffaloAmber Collins Crane, Bryce Smith, and Gregory CranePhoto by Robin JacksonPremiering in 1978, Ira Levin's comic thriller Deathtrap was an immediate hit and has been around the community and regional theatre block many times since. As stated in its own dialogue, it's such a surefire script that "even a director can't hurt it," and is still a winner with audiences for its disarming wit and devious plot twists. Ross Valley Players is mounting a thoroughly entertaining version, one that will charm you with laughs and thrills even if you've seen the play before.
Director Chloe Bronzan has opted to set the play back in time to the 1960s, paying homage to Hitchcock's indelible influence on the genre of thrillers—a smart concept, since his works are referenced in Levin's script, held up as masters to model for the two main characters who are attempting to write their own hit plays.
Acclaimed but fading playwright Sidney (Gregory Crane) and Clifford (Bryce Smith) apparently met in a workshop Sidney ran for aspiring writers, leading to Clifford mailing a draft of his latest work to Sidney for feedback. But Sidney rails over the script, titled "Deathtrap," as it's so brilliant he's instantly jealous and depressed at the thought of its imminent success. Sidney's wife Myra (Amber Collins Crane), ever supportive both with funds and vicarious ambition, attempts to soothe his dismay, but also reveals her fear of how far hubby might go to alter the play's path to Broadway for his own benefit.
And ... that's about all one can say without spoilers for this clever script filled with surprises, twists and turns. There's a good dose of comedy along the way, as well as jump-out-of-your-seat and "aha!" moments. It's a lot of fun for both theatre company and audiences, and still packs a persuasive thriller punch.
While Tom O'Brien's scenic design ably fulfills the description of converted stable, with requisite doors and ample playing space, the blue hue of the wood stain renders an exceedingly dark set overall. Perhaps it's thought to be Hitchcovian? But it's a bit relentlessly blue. Tina Johnson's lighting design wonderfully captures nighttime and thunderstorms, focusing our gaze when it's needed. Costumes by Michael A. Berg serve the concept beautifully, especially for Myra and Gregory. Bruce Vieira's cinematic sound design adds intrigue and suspense to the action, and Dhyanis Carniglia furnishes amazing props. Fight choreographer Richard Squeri does a superb job with the many varied requirements for action. Bronzan misses some comedic opportunities and hasn't perfected her blocking yet, but the concept and all-around action work well to deliver the demands of the script.
Last week, after three and a half years of generating profit from their abundant catalog in spite of a declining marketplace, the Warner Archive Collection, the leader of the catalog DVD manufacturing on demand movement, took the next logical step: Blu-ray. Warner Archive's first two high definition releases weren't obvious choices, but both are well-regarded, were released on DVD a long time ago, and originated on the Broadway stage. Comprising this pioneer wave were the 1962 musical Gypsy and the 1982 comic thriller Deathtrap.You would think Deathtrap to be the more obscure of the two, but it has actually received more than twice as many user votes on IMDb, where it holds a respectable 6.9 average rating. The film is adapted from the play of the same name by Rosemary's Baby author Ira Levin. Opening in February 1978, the show was nominated for six Tony awards including Best Play. It would be performed at the Music Box Theatre through January of 1982, making it the longest running thriller in Broadway history. From there, it moved to the Biltmore Theatre, where it played for another five months, then closed on the very same June Sunday that the film version ended its weekend box office tracking.Adapting Levin's play was Jay Presson Allen, the Oscar-nominated Cabaret scribe who also penned Hitchcock's Marnie, Funny Lady, and the stage and screen versions of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Deathtrap was her last of three official collaborations with director Sidney Lumet, whose triumphant film credits include 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, and fellow 1982 release The Verdict (on which Allen performed an unused, uncredited rewrite). Deathtrap opens with the opening of the latest thriller from accomplished Broadway playwright Sidney Bruhl (Michael Caine). It is a dud both with critics and audience members. Convinced he's lost his touch and uncertain of his financial future, Sidney is dejected. Adding insult to injury, he receives a script from a student in his previous year's seminar. The submission, which comes with a humble request for guidance, is more than just promising. It's perfect and Sidney sees it as a surefire hit certain to earn up to $5 million in profits. Those big numbers get his mind racing and soon he's plotting on how he can take the work and call it his own, by killing its young writer. It's a morbid plan, but one that Myra (Dyan Cannon), Sidney's excitable, weak-hearted wife of eleven years, reluctantly agrees to.That premise establishes Deathtrap as a dark comedy, something comparable to Arsenic and Old Lace. Held by Victor Garber on stage, the role of the guileless student Clifford Anderson is here played by Christopher Reeve, who made this only his second film role after Superman and its sequel. The plot advances more quickly than you would expect and we come to discover that nothing that has occurred is as it seems.Deathtrap relies heavily on twists, ones major enough to feel like spoilers, even if they come early and are undercut by the billing and case artwork. If you haven't seen this 30-year-old movie and would like to without any knowledge of surprises, then feel free to skip to the disc parts below. Still reading? I don't really want to spoil anything for you either. Suffice it to say, the leading character killed off early on is not the film's first death, a development that makes the abrupt second/truly first death suspicious. Deathtrap emerges as much more of a twisty thriller than the comedy advertised. The unpredictable incidents fuel Sidney's creative juices but come with consequences, guilt, and an intrusive psychic German neighbor (Irene Worth).Lumet, who began his long show business career as a child actor on Broadway and began directing plays in the mid-1950s, often treats the film as a product of the stage, favoring long takes, distant shots, and minimal camera movement. That is a fitting approach for a play that is the very thing it explores at length, as Sidney and his collaborator ruminate on the elements and keys to a successful stage thriller.It's easy to imagine Deathtrap as captivating theatre, but it only makes for adequate cinema. At 116 minutes, it is much too long and slow. I'm of the belief that films succeed or fail on characters and story. The small cast of five principals gets ample opportunity to define their bold, distinctive parts. But, as in most non-musical theatre, the convoluted plot unfolds with an abundance of dialogue. Allen's Wikipedia entry not so encyclopedically claims that she cleaned up Levin's "weak confusing ending for a more directly resolved one." The next point it makes seems more meaningful, that Allen's screenplay didn't open things up, keeping us in Sidney's rustic East Hampton, Long Island mansion for nearly the entirety. On stage, a lack of set changes reduces distraction and adds intimacy and comfort. On film, it tends to provide stagnancy. And so it does here, especially once we become aware of our manipulation and the fact that we're expected to take any twist in stride.There's still a good deal of intrigue found in Deathtrap's tense, complex plotting, which is important in light of the lack of jokes and laughs. "Directly resolved" though it may be, the film's ending isn't too satisfying, especially following a climax that alternates between gimmicky lightning strikes and darkness.Pretty progressive for its time, Deathtrap features some gay content, including a kiss by two men not found in the original play. Quoting (without citation) Reeve via gay film historian Vito Russo (the author of The Celluloid Closet), good old Wikipedia claims the kiss was booed by Denver, Colorado preview audiences and that Time magazine's report of the kiss supposedly cost the film $10 million in ticket sales. Earning $19 million in spite of that, the movie performed well enough. Adjusted for inflation, it actually stands as Reeve's highest grossing movie not to dress him in tights and a cape. Nominated for four honors in the genre-minded Saturn Awards and one Razzie (Dyan Cannon for Worst Supporting Actress), Deathtrap came away from each empty-handed. Though originally a Warner Bros. release, the film is for some reason fitted with a more recent version of the studio's logo. 041b061a72