Starring: Lew Ayres & Teresa Wright
Director: John Sturges
Virtually ignored at the time of its release, this film has built up a small but enthusiastic following since its lapse into public domain. American oil man (Ayres) kills a coworker whom he suspects of robbery. Thinking it over, he wonders whether or not the man was innocent. He seeks out his victim's widow, played by Teresa Wright. They fall in love and marry, which does nothing to soothe Ayres' guilty conscience. When he discovers who was actually behind the robbery, he goes after the real culprit, who is accidentally killed before justice can be done. Falsely accused of murder, he now fully understands the untenable position of the man he'd killed so long before. The Capture was produced by Niven Busch, the then-husband of Wright.
The Capture is a treat for viewers looking for an intriguing drama that they haven't seen time and time again. Relatively obscure, thanks to its financial failure when first released, it is a lean, crisply directed thriller that plays with interesting questions or morality, innocence and guilt. Playing at times like a Western, at other times like a mystery, and at others like a romance, it perhaps tries a little too hard to be all three types and thus becomes slightly unfocused; but most viewers will be adequately rewarded by its assets and forgive it for being perhaps a little overly ambitious in trying to bridge these genres. Certainly there will be no complaints about its cast, with an appropriately guilty Ayres and a typically luminous Wright leading the way and a dependable supporting cast. Busch's screenplay is well constructed, setting up its situations with a sure hand, utilizing the flashback structure most effectively, and raising moral issues in a manner than both supports the story and adds depth to the characters. Sturges' direction is spot-on, and there's fine cinematography from Edward J. Conjager that adds to the atmosphere and tension. Thos seeking something a little off the beaten path should keep an eye out for the Capture. (67 mins.)
My Rating: ***