Monday, September 6, 2010

'Trapped by Television' is an outdated techno-thriller

Trapped By Television (1936)
Starring: Mary Astor, Nat Pendleton, and Lyle Talbot
Director: Del Lord
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Want to see what contemporary techno-thrillers will look like to your grandchildren? Take a look at "Trapped By Television" and you'll get an insight into the future, as this action-comedy revolves around the latest, greatest, cutting-edge technology of 1936... TELEVISION!

In "Trapped by Television", a techno-geek bill collector (Pendleton) is sent to repo some equipment from a deadbeat (Talbot). The deadbeat turns out to be an inventor who has created the perfect television recording/broadcasting device, so instead of doing the repo job, the bill collector becomes the inventor's assistant, hooks him up with a couple of spunky (if crooked) promoters (led by Astor), and sets him on the path to selling his invention with a major broadcast company that has been attempting to develope their own television device.

Unfortunately, standing between the scientist and his roguish companions are a group of violent techno-thieves who have stolen some designs the broadcast company was developing and intend to sell them back to the company at a huge profit. Will our intrepid heroes gain fame and fortune and advance the technology of entertainment, or will television be their death trap?

"Trapped By Television" features a sharp script, likable characters, and some nice acting. It's fun watch, and it is a great illustration of how much things have changed in our world in 75 years.

It's a fun viewing experience on several different levels, and I recommend it very highly... assuming you can get yourself in a mindset that has television broadcasts as something new and exciting.

(A review of this movie also appears in the "Creaky Classics" chapter of 150 Movies You Should Die Before You See. It contains additional details and trivia about the film and actors appearing in it. It's one of the films included that I enjoy, but that I know many others will not.)