The Bribe (1949)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama, Film Noir  |   Release Date - Feb 3, 1949 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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While not a great crime thriller, The Bribe is a very good one and one worth seeking out. The basic elements of Bribe have been seen before, but that's to be expected. Most of the fun in these kinds of films are in the details, the variations on the basic elements, and Bribe does a more than decent job here. True, it does fall down in the "MacGuffin" aspect; the reason that Robert Taylor is sent into this mess in the first place doesn't ring true. But that aside, Bribe takes its familiar playing pieces and arranges them in a pattern that is fairly entertaining. Things bog down in a place or two, but even the slower spot are made up for by two excellent sequences -- the "swimming with the sharks" segment and the wonderful climactic fireworks section. Robert Z. Leonard's direction in these two sequences is spot-on; if he's a little iffy in other places, he knows how to make the big moments pay off. Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner -- both in fine form physically -- do very well with their parts, but it is Charles Laughton and Vincent Price that walk off with the film.