The Bribe, 1949, is playing on Turner Classic Movies on Monday July 3 at 10:15 a.m. est. Closed captioned. The Bribe has a minimal story but great actors including Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton and Vincent Price. The chemistry between Mr. Taylor and Ms. Gardner is sizzling. They became lovers during the production and had to go to his mother’s house to make love because they would have been recognized anywhere else.
“The Bribe” is one of the forties film noir entries, and I love it! Top stars of the era include Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton, and Vincent Price. It is a story of an honest cop, Rigby played with remarkable insight, by Robert Taylor, who falls in love with a suspect (Ava Gardner), and can’t make up his mind on if she is guilty or innocent. John Hodiak is the husband, who is a former fly boy turned crook. Charles Laughton is at his sinister best as the “pie shaped man” who is hired by Vincent Price to pay off Rigby. Laughton dogs Rigby, knowing that he is in love with Gardner, till he caves in and decides to take a bribe to save his love. As in many film noir, only Taylor’s last name is used, we never know Rigby’s first name, interesting. Taylor is very convincing as a man torn between love and honor. He is so conflicted, that you feel sorry for him, wishing that Ava would just run away with him before he turns crook himself. She drugs him and makes sure he can’t stop the crooks, but he recovers, and confronts her, not realizing the trouble she is in herself. In the end, love and honor conquer all. There is a spectacular fireworks ending, that is reminiscent of “Ride the Pink Horse.” All in all the love scenes are sincere, probably because Taylor and Gardner were having an affair at the time of filming, despite the fact that Taylor was very married to Barbara Stanwyck. Quintessential film noir. Review by mamalv for IMDB.
Some behind the scenes photos:
Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner rehearsing a beach scene.
Mr. Taylor and Ms. Gardner with director Robert Z. Leonard.
Left to right: Mr. Taylor with Vincent Price; Charles Laughton; John Hodiak