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Trapped by Television 1936
Description: An inventor looking for backing for his tv invention gets involved with a crooked businessman and gangsters who test to steal his invention.
Released: 15 Jun 1936 Director: Del Lord Writers: Lee Loeb (screenplay), Harold Buchman (screenplay), Sherman L. Lowe (story), Al Martin (story) Actors: Mary Astor, Lyle Talbot, Nat Pendleton, Joyce Compton Genres: Drama
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Trapped by Television Reviews:

This public-domain movie is often told to be a Science Fiction movie because of the title. In reality it is a B drama/comedy, and there is nothing Sci-Fi about it.Inventor Lyle Talbot has invented a TV camera and TV monitor. He is trying to finish it despite being broke and having bill collectors like Nat Pendleton breathing down his neck. When a scientist working on his own tv format vanishes and is held by gangsters, a crooked radio executive thinks he has a method to gain more cash from his company.This is a interesting movie for the time. TV was still in developmental stages at this point, and it is interesting to see what set designers thought a TV of the time would look like (big screens!).The acting is good, Lyle Talbot was a staple in B-Films, as was helping users Marc Lawrence, Joyce Compton and Nat Pendleton. Mary Astor, again unbelievable and natural, would eventually graduate from B-Films to become an under appreciated A-list star.


The storyline starts at a collection agency. The boss is mad at Nat Pendleton (who plays his typical likable idiot in this film) because he's been a total failure at the job--particularly since Pendleton is too great a guy for this sort of work. However, he gives him one more chance--he's to either receive the cash or parts purchased by a young inventor (Lyle Talbot). But, when Pendleton sees the cool tv that Talbot is working on, he becomes excited about it and offers to purchase Talbot dinner AND support him receive a job so he can afford to work on his experimental TV! I had a laugh when moments later, Pendleton introduced Talbot to the boss--and got him a job as a collection agent as well! How did he convince the boss? He said him that Talbot had job gotten out of jail for roughing up folks on his previous job as a collection agent! At that point, Talbot starts threatening the boss--and is hired! Soon, Talbot is sent out to accumulate from a client (Mary Astor). She is broke but Talbot, like Pendleton, is a softy and cannot bring himself to repossess the property. Instead, they strike up a friendship and she promises she'll support him search financing for his television, though considering she's broke this seems like a hollow gesture. But Astor has the "gift of blarney" and is somehow able to receive the $200 Talbot needs. Things certainly are looking up for his invention. However, some crooks decide to sabotage the machine so that they can capitalize on television--leaving Talbot and his mates flat broke. What happens next is something you'll have to see for yourself.I guess I have a soft spot for this movie. Since it's one of the earliest films to discuss the fresh medium of TV, it's now a very necessary historical piece. Plus, at the time, audiences gotta have been cute excited to see this fresh gizmo. The acting is cute good, there are a several great laughs and it's a pleasant tiny B-movie. Not nice but certainly cute nice and worth seeing--especially if you like movies from the classic era in Hollywood.


'Trapped by Television': an intriguing game that sounds as though the movie might detail folks being accidentally sucked into the fictional realm of TV.It doesn't.In 1936, tv was very much in its infancy and the mere concept of broadcasting photos was still fantastical enough to be the topics of a entire movie. This fun romantic drama/thriller sees Lyle Talbot as inventor Fred Dennis, who finally perfects his tv camera and receiver set with help from opportunistic promoter Barbara 'Bobby' Blake (Mary Astor), her secretary Mae Collins (Joyce Compton) and well-meaning bill collector Rocky O'Neil (Nat Pendleton). Paragon Broadcasting CEO John Curtis (Thurston Hall) shows interest in the invention, and success for Dennis and pals looks assured, but a corrupt Paragon employee has another plans and sets out to sabotage their demonstration.A light-hearted romp that proves all the more interesting from a historical angle, 'Trapped by Television' is a surprisingly entertaining piece of fluff, with decent performances from its likable leads, some reasonable scenes of tension, and the coolest looking tv camera you're ever likely to see—an wonderful hunk of art-deco metal and glass that is equal parts machine and objet d'art.No-one has to war their method out of a cathode-ray-tube globe of create believe, but the movie is worth seeing nonetheless.



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