Bait (1954)

79 mins | Drama | March 1954

Director:

Hugo Haas

Producer:

Hugo Haas

Cinematographer:

Edward Fitzgerald

Editor:

Robert S. Eisen

Production Designer:

William Glasgow

Production Company:

Hugo Haas Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title for this film was Fever . Before the opening credits, actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke appears in a suit and bowler hat in a dark room, lit only by a spotlight, and signs autographs for a small crowd. Introducing himself as the Devil, he explains that he will demonstrate how he operates, then goes into a projection booth and begins the main part of the film. Hardwicke provides sporadic voice-over narration throughout the picture, goading "Marko" ... More Less

The working title for this film was Fever . Before the opening credits, actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke appears in a suit and bowler hat in a dark room, lit only by a spotlight, and signs autographs for a small crowd. Introducing himself as the Devil, he explains that he will demonstrate how he operates, then goes into a projection booth and begins the main part of the film. Hardwicke provides sporadic voice-over narration throughout the picture, goading "Marko" on. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Feb 1954.
---
Daily Variety
17 Feb 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 Feb 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 53
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 53
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 54
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Feb 54
p. 2190.
New York Times
24 Feb 54
p. 21.
Variety
17 Feb 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story and scr
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Chief elec
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Editorial asst
MUSIC
Mus score comp and cond
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and optical eff
Titles and optical eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Dial supv
Prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
SONGS
"What Am I Going to Do?" and "No Questions Asked," words and music by Martin Schwab, arranged by Lewis Raymond, sung by Edna Neilson and Robert Dale.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Fever
Release Date:
March 1954
Production Date:
early June--mid June 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 March 1954
Copyright Number:
LP3506
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
79
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16623
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Ray Brighton, a young, unemployed farm worker, meets Marko, an eccentric older man who years earlier discovered a gold mine in the mountains, which he and his partner did not chart. Marko's partner froze in a blizzard and after the storm cleared, Marko was unable to locate the mine again. Obsessed with rediscovering the mine, Marko has long sought help for his search, but rumors that he murdered his partner have kept local people away. Ray agrees to help Marko, despite warnings from the townspeople. Marko and Ray decide to split any gold they find and, with Ray's dog, Mike, begin the long ride into the mountains. Along the way, the men stop at Foley's, a small supply store, where Ray meets Peggy, a socially ostracized single mother who can only find work with the aging Foley at his remote store. When Marko notices Ray's interest in Peggy, he tells Ray about Peggy's bad reputation and cautions him to keep away from her. Marko takes Ray to a small, weather-beaten cabin, and soon the men begin their search for the mine shaft. Days pass with no results and Marko grows despondent, while Ray wonders if he is on a fool's errand. Peggy visits the men with more supplies and Ray asks her for a date, but she refuses. Several weeks later, Ray at last locates a boarded-up shaft, which Marko identifies as his gold mine. With the threat of winter looming, the men hasten the grueling work of mining the gold, and despite Ray's exhaustive efforts, Marko resents having agreed to split the gold with him and wonders how to get around it. ... +


Ray Brighton, a young, unemployed farm worker, meets Marko, an eccentric older man who years earlier discovered a gold mine in the mountains, which he and his partner did not chart. Marko's partner froze in a blizzard and after the storm cleared, Marko was unable to locate the mine again. Obsessed with rediscovering the mine, Marko has long sought help for his search, but rumors that he murdered his partner have kept local people away. Ray agrees to help Marko, despite warnings from the townspeople. Marko and Ray decide to split any gold they find and, with Ray's dog, Mike, begin the long ride into the mountains. Along the way, the men stop at Foley's, a small supply store, where Ray meets Peggy, a socially ostracized single mother who can only find work with the aging Foley at his remote store. When Marko notices Ray's interest in Peggy, he tells Ray about Peggy's bad reputation and cautions him to keep away from her. Marko takes Ray to a small, weather-beaten cabin, and soon the men begin their search for the mine shaft. Days pass with no results and Marko grows despondent, while Ray wonders if he is on a fool's errand. Peggy visits the men with more supplies and Ray asks her for a date, but she refuses. Several weeks later, Ray at last locates a boarded-up shaft, which Marko identifies as his gold mine. With the threat of winter looming, the men hasten the grueling work of mining the gold, and despite Ray's exhaustive efforts, Marko resents having agreed to split the gold with him and wonders how to get around it. Later, on a visit to Foley's, Marko helps Peggy fend off the unwanted advances of a man, and apologizes for having spoken badly about her. Back at the cabin, Marko hatches an idea to rid himself of Ray by using Peggy as bait. On the next visit to the supply store, Marko discovers Foley and Peggy quarreling about Foley's advances. Marko offers Peggy protection and over dinner proposes, explaining that he wants to give her a name and the opportunity to get her young son out of the children's home. Peggy agrees, and when she and Marko return to the cabin, Ray is stunned to learn they have married, but agrees to continue mining. As more weeks pass, Ray grows increasingly agitated about the cabin's close living quarters and Peggy's presence. Marko goads Ray about Peggy, suggesting that the younger man is in love with her. Winter comes and a heavy snow falls, delighting Ray and Peggy but leaving Marko anxious. When Marko chafes about Peggy's obvious affection for Ray, she assures both men that she intends to respect her wedding vows. Nevertheless, Peggy privately admits later her attraction to Ray, but insists that neither can act upon their feelings. Marko tries spying on the couple, hoping to catch them in a compromising situation, but when the dog, Mike, gives away his hiding place, he poisons the animal and makes it look like an accident. Over Christmas dinner, Ray suggests that the men rearrange their fifty-fifty split to include Peggy, but Marko balks. Sensing the rising tension between Ray and Peggy, Marko hides the salt supply in order to make a solitary trip to Foley's. Alone with Ray that evening, Peggy tells him about her son Charlie, and how rumors spread that she was unmarried because she wed a stranger, a soldier on furlough who was later killed. When Ray kisses her, Peggy insists they must restrain themselves. Ray reluctantly agrees, then while searching for tobacco to roll a cigarette, discovers the sack of salt and realizes Marko has lied. Ray also notices a spot of melted ice on the outside window and suspects that Marko is watching them. Ray orders Peggy to pretend to seduce him, and when Ray turns out the lamp, Marko bursts into the cabin with a gun. Marko jumps the older man and accuses him of setting a trap that would allow Marko to kill Ray and keep all of the gold. Peggy is stunned and agrees to leave with Ray the next day. The following morning, Ray divides the gold dust into three parts, but as he departs Marko attacks him. Ray throws Marko onto the floor, and he and Peggy depart as a snowstorm threatens. The stunned Marko comes to and, realizing that his leg is broken, calls for help, but Ray and Peggy are far away climbing toward the pass. Clutching the can of gold dust, Marko crawls outside into the storm calling for Peggy, then collapses and freezes to death just as Ray and Peggy reach the highway. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.