Ten years ago young Eve (Rita Tushingham) was struck dumb when she witnessed the violent death of her family at the hands of Canadian Indians, and she has spoken nary a word since. After she escaped the fate of her loved ones, she was adopted by a trader (Rex Sevenoaks) and his wife (Barbara Chilcott), but now she is grown she begins to wonder what her place is in the world. When the steamboat arrives with supplies at the isolated river town, she notes the fallen women being auctioned off to the trappers and worries...
Not to worry, Eve, here comes Oliver Reed to shine a ray of sunlight into your life, although you might not be entirely pleased to see him in the beginning. This may have started out as an adventure yarn, but there's a romantic aspect to The Trap which looked to be aimed at the sort of girl who played hard to get but actually wanted some big, strong brute to gather her up in his arms and get in touch with his sensitive side, all thanks to her benevolent influence, naturally. Tushingham, who keeps looking to be about to speak but doesn't quite, put in a sterling performance in the face of a rampant Reed and managed to make something out of a dubious cliché.
Not that Ollie is terrible, far from it as this most physical actor was in his element as the mountain man who wants a companion to stave off the loneliness he cannot quite bring himself to admit he feels, it's just that his Candian accent wasn't the best, and tended to work against his overall reading of the character. What British viewers would be most distracted by, on the other hand, was Ron Goodwin's music, for the main theme was the same one as used by the BBC for the coverage of the London Marathon - even more alarming was that it had lyrics here, sung by Reed, as if it were some traditional folk song.
"When I'm a man, I'll take me a wife!", "And she shall have diamonds and pearls!", that sort of thing, it sounds authentic unless you have an image in your head of someone dressed as a gorilla huffing and puffing around the streets of the British capital for charity. Anyway, put that to the back of your minds and concentrate on the plot, which was not too bad as these things went. Once Eve has been sold off to Reed's La Bete (meaning The Beast, a fairy tale allusion that just about holds water), much against her wishes, he takes her in his canoe to his log cabin in the wilderness where she spends her time glaring wordlessly at him and pondering how she'll ever get back to some approximation of civilisation.
La Bete makes his living catching and skinning animals for their fur, but after a fashion teaches Eve to hunt for creatures they can eat, and she begins to predictably warm to him without showing much overt affection, smiling demurely at his jokes and seeing the vulnerability underneath that rough exterior, which becomes all the more apparent thanks to a late on twist when he gets careless one day and catches his ankle in one of his own traps. Could that be the trap of the title, or does it refer to the situation Eve has found herself in, or does it more sweepingly indicate the crazy little thing called love? That's up to you, the viewer to decide, but for a rugged outdoors yarn blessed with a woman's touch this was perfectly decent, and Reed and Tushingham made an intriguing couple; set against this striking landscape and you had a film good to look at, if not perhaps as much to listen to, and the sexual politics were more complex than hinted at first glance with Eve stubbornly fighting to retain her identity in harsh surroundings.