Treasures from the UCLA Archive: MANTRAP – Newly Restored 35mm Print!


Paramount Pictures paid $50,000 for Sinclair Lewis’s justifiably forgotten novel MANTRAP, but happily, screenwriters Ethel Doherty and Adelaide Heilbron turned Lewis’s misogynistic tirade into a light-as-a-feather comedy romp. New York lawyer Ralph Prescott and a friend escape city life on a camping trip near Mantrap, Canada, but soon find themselves out of their depth. After the two get into a fight, a local trading post owner takes Prescott home, where Prescott meets his flirtatious new wife Alverna (Clara Bow). Sparks fly instantly between Prescott and Alverna—all thanks to Bow and her Jazz Age characterization of an outrageous good-time girl who leads at least two men by the nose but nevertheless honors her commitment…at least until the next prospect comes along. (86 mins.)


US, 1928
“Its very title reeks of strange people, mystery, suspense!” read the publicity for this silent melodrama, loosely inspired by “The Taming of the Shrew.” Secretary Norma Forbes accepts the proposal of wealthy diamond miner Michael Bream but reveals to her boss and actual love interest that she’s only marrying for the money. Eavesdropping through a conveniently open door, Michael schemes to teach her a lesson by leading her to believe he is penniless. After the wedding, he takes her to South Africa, where they settle in a bleak shack and where Norma discovers the hardships of life in the jungle. She sends a cable to her former employer to retrieve her. After the two men fight, Michael is bound and left prey to a lion—prompting Norma to realize her true feelings and attempt a daring rescue. (65 mins.)

MANTRAP preservation funded by David Stenn. Preserved in cooperation with Paramount Pictures from a 35mm acetate fine grain master positive. Laboratory services by YCM Laboratories.

MIDNIGHT MADNESS preservation funded by Sony Pictures Entertainment. Preserved by Sony Pictures Entertainment and UCLA Film & Television Archive from a 35mm nitrate print. Laboratory services by Film Technology Company, Inc. Additional laboratory services by The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory. This film was preserved through a partnership of the New Zealand Film Archive, the American archival community, and the National Film Preservation Foundation, as part of a project supported by Save America’s Treasures, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

MANTRAP and MIDNIGHT MADNESS screen Sunday, January 12 at 6:30m in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).  The films are being presented as part of our Treasures from the UCLA Archive series.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

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