The Bribe

  • 1949
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Mystery

Robert Taylor stars as Federal Agent Rigby, sent to a banana republic to break up a ring dealing in contraband war surplus materials. The ring is headed by Price, a naive American playboy-sportsman, and the slovenly Laughton, a broken-down beachcomber with aching feet, sly and sleazy, with a slightly humorous shading (perfect meat for Laughton). The story...read more

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Robert Taylor stars as Federal Agent Rigby, sent to a banana republic to break up a ring dealing in contraband war surplus materials. The ring is headed by Price, a naive American playboy-sportsman, and the slovenly Laughton, a broken-down beachcomber with aching feet, sly and sleazy, with

a slightly humorous shading (perfect meat for Laughton). The story concerns the classic love/duty dilemma, with Gardner playing the femme fatale in her first star billing at MGM after a seven-year build-up. Agent Rigby tells his story in flashback, tipping off the plot too early, but the tropical

locale is intriguing and the angle of war surplus racketeering was timely enough to save the picture. Hodiak, Gardner's sickly husband, owns the ship used to smuggle goods out of the country; he is killed by Price, leaving Taylor and Gardner free to pursue their hot love affair. This juicy chunk

of melodrama was particularly notable for its climax, a fight between Taylor and villain Price, staged by Robert Z. Leonard amid a stupendous fireworks display. Gardner even sings a Nacio Herb Brown-William Katz tune, "Situation Wanted." Some of the frantic chase scenes during the fiesta, and

Price's hammy overacting, which sometimes infects Laughton (who steals every scene), verge on the absurd, but much of the laughable camp is controlled through Ruggiero's skilled editing. The excellent cast, the exotic setting, and Leonard's pell-mell direction aided by Ruttenberg's moody graphics,

firmly entrenches this production in the film noir genre. (Steve Martin's sophomoric spoof DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID drew extensively from scenes in this film.)

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Robert Taylor stars as Federal Agent Rigby, sent to a banana republic to break up a ring dealing in contraband war surplus materials. The ring is headed by Price, a naive American playboy-sportsman, and the slovenly Laughton, a broken-down beachcomber with… (more)

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