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Trapped (1949)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1 October 1949 (USA)
U.S. Treasury Department agents go after a ring of counterfeiters.


Richard Fleischer


Earl Felton (story), George Zuckerman (story) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Lloyd Bridges ... Tris Stewart
Barbara Payton ... Meg Dixon
John Hoyt ... John Downey
James Todd James Todd ... Jack Sylvester
Russ Conway ... Chief Agent Gunby
Robert Karnes ... Agent Fred Foreman


The Secret Service of the US Treasury learns that a new batch of counterfeit bills has been in circulation using the plates that Tris Stewart, having completed three years of a ten year prison sentence, had used that led to his conviction. They are able to make a deal with Stewart, in consideration for early parole, to stage a "mock" escape so that he can help them locate the source of the counterfeit bills and hopefully recover the plates to shut down this counterfeit operation for good. In discovering that the plates had been sold by Stewart's deadbeat former partner Sam Hooker to one of their old associates, Jack Sylvester, Stewart may have other things on his mind, such as reconnecting with his old girlfriend, Meg Dixon, a nightclub cigarette girl who now goes by the professional name Laurie Fredericks, and together living off the proceeds that those plates and resulting counterfeit bills can provide. What happens with Stewart and Laurie will not only be affected by Sylvester and ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


WHEN A KILLER DREAMS OF MILLIONS...and a girl to spend them on! (original poster) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 October 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Menschenfalle See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bryan Foy Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


1949, when a phone call only cost a nickle. See more »


When Sylvester is being chased through the trolley barn the pistol he is using changes from a revolver to a semi automatic. See more »


Featured in Crime Wave: 50 Movie Mega Pack (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Counterfeit Film Noir
29 April 2004 | by sol1218See all my reviews

****SPOILERS**** Semi-documentary movie about a convicted counterfeiter Tris Stewart, Lloyd Bridges, allowed to escape from custody as he was being transferred from Atlanta to Kansas City in order to have him unwittingly help the FBI and police find the counterfeit ring using the plates that he had hidden to flood the West cost with fake $20.00 bills.

Tris get in touch with his girlfriend Laurie, Barbara Payton, in L.A not knowing that her apartment is being bugged by the FBI. With the police knowing every move that Tris is making they set up a trap for him only after he finds who's printing the phony money and where the fake $20.00 bill plates are. Tris finds out from his former partner Sam Hooker, Douglas Spencer, that he sold the valuable plates to an investment consultant in L.A named Jack Sylvester, James Todd.

Going to Sylvester's office in downtown L.A Tris strikes a deal with him on getting 250 grand in fake money for 25 thousand in real money from him saying that he can have it by the next day. Laurie who works as a cigarette girl at the Chanteclair Night Club knows a big spender named Johny Hackett,John Hoyt, who's ready to lay out the cash for Tris so he can share the 250 thousand in fake money. What Laurie and Trish and Sylvester don't know is that Johnny Hackett is really John Downey Federal Agent.

Everything is going well until one night Laurie overhears at the club one of the costumers who recognizes Johnny as working for the Fed's. Laurie ends up telling Tris about Johnnys real intentions with setting up the deal in order to trap him and Sylvester. Tris instead of telling Sylvester about it kidnaps Johnny and has him drive out to a deserted beach and when he tries to shoot him Johnny turns and knocks Tris out.

With Tris behind bars Johnny now has to think fast to get Sylvester and the plates and his gang apprehended. Johnny then goes to Sylvester's office and tells him that Tris was caught by the police and is talking and not to answer any phone calls; knowing that Laurie will call him and expose him to Sylvester as a Federal Agent.

Johnny talks Sylvester into leaving his office and take him to his hideout where he has his counterfeit operation in order to seal the deal with the 250 thousand fake to 25 thousand real money switch. Sylvester in return plans to take the real money and counterfeit plates and check out of the country to Mexico. Johnny also got in touch with the police to follow him and come to his aid when he's in danger of being found out since he doesn't have the 25 thousand in real money to make the exchange.

Laurie not being able to contact Tris, in her not knowing that he's in police custody, gets it touch with one of Sylvester's hoods and they both head for his hideout. Johnny taking his time counting the money he's getting in the switch gives the police and FBI time to get there and rescue him. When Laurie arrives and tells Sylvester what Johnny is really all about all hell breaks loose and just in the nick of time the police arrive.

For what I still can't understand Sylvester shoots and kills Laurie and then makes a run for it along the railroad tracks outside his hideout. Getting on top of a train car Sylvester sees that he's trapped and puts his hands up to give himself up but there's a live wire over his head that he doesn't see and when his hands touch it Sylvester gets electrocuted.

Pretty good Film Noir movie but with one major flaw; Why did Sylvester shoot Laurie who did nothing to set him up to be caught by the police at the end of the film and not shoot Johnny who did? Lloyd Bridges and Barbara Payton really had sparks flying and electricity surging in all their scenes together and I guess the motto of the movie "Trapped" is "Crime does not pay; Even in counterfeit money!

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