The Trap (1966 film)

The Trap is a Canadian-British romantic adventure film released in 1966, written by David D. Osborn and directed by Sidney Hayers. Shot in the wilderness of the Canadian province of British Columbia, Oliver Reed and Rita Tushingham star in this unusual love story about a rough trapper and a mute orphan girl. The soundtrack was composed by Ron Goodwin and the main theme (Main Titles to The Trap) is familiar as the title music used by the BBC for London Marathon coverage.

The Trap
Film poster by Arnaldo Putzu
Directed bySidney Hayers
Produced byGeorge H. Brown
Written byDavid D. Osborn
StarringRita Tushingham
Oliver Reed
Music byRon Goodwin
CinematographyRobert Krasker
Edited byTristam Cones
George H. Brown Productions
Distributed byJ. Arthur Rank Film Distributors
Release date
15 September 1966 (World Premiere, London)
Running time
106 minutes
United Kingdom

The film had its World Premiere on 15 September 1966 at the Leicester Square Theatre in the West End of London.


French-Canadian fur trapper Jean La Bête (Oliver Reed) paddles his canoe through wild water towards the settlement in order to sell a load of furs. At the settlement, a steamboat is landing and the trader and his foster-child Eve (Rita Tushingham) arrive at the seaport to fetch mail and consumer goods. The trader explains to Eve that the ship brings "Jailbirds ... from the east" and that "their husbands-to-be had bailed them out and paid their fines and their passages with a guarantee of marriage". Later, the captain is auctioning off one of those women because her husband-to-be has died in the meantime. Jean La Bête decides to take his chance to buy the wife, but he makes his bid too late.

Two American Indians, Yellow Dog and No Name, have told the Trader that La Bete is dead. The Trader, heavily in debt, has spent money he owes La Bete so that when La Bete calls to collect his dues, the trader has to use his own savings, to the fury of his wife.

Next day, the trader's wife, in the need to compensate for the loss of her savings, seizes the opportunity to offer her foster-child for a thousand dollars to the simple-minded, rough-cut trapper. She praises the qualities of the shy girl and explains, that her inability to speak is caused from the shock she suffered when she had to witness how her parents were barbarously murdered several years ago.

La Bête finally agrees to buy the mute girl and takes her against her will into the wilderness of British Columbia. Here the strange couple starts a difficult relationship characterized by mistrust and Eve's fear and dislike of the trapper. Eve vehemently rejects the advances of the gruff trapper. La Bête takes her for hunting and acquaints her with the beauty and the dangers of the wilderness, but here, as well, he fails to win her trust. Eve defends herself from his advances with a knife.

One day, on checking his traps for caught animals, La Bête is threatened by a cougar. He successfully shoots the cat but inadvertently gets his foot into his own bear trap. Badly injured, he tries to drag himself back to his hut, hunted by famished wolves. Meanwhile, Eve is waiting at the cabin and hears the distant howling of the wolves approaching the hut. Equipped with a gun she sets out in search for La Bête, and together they can get rid of the wolf pack.

La Bête's lower left leg is broken, so he asks Eve to bring the medicine man from the next Indian village, a two days trip away. The Canadian winter has already come, so Eve puts on her snowshoes, and starts a long, arduous walk over snow-covered hilltops. She finally reaches the village only to find it totally deserted.

Returning empty-handed, Eve finds La Bête already suffering from blood poisoning. Having no time to lose, he urges the terrified girl to immediately cut off his poisoned leg using an axe. After La Bête has stunned himself by gulping the last drop of rum, Eve acts as commanded and her patient instantly passes out from pain. Eve succeeds in saving the trapper's life in the following period of nursing. In that time she has learned to hunt on her own and is now capable to provide for the couple. Eventually, after La Bête learns to say 'please' to her and then thanks her for saving his life, and declares he could not live without her, they become intimate.

But the morning after Eve seems to regret her decision and leaves the cabin holding a rifle against La Bete who follows her to the river, angry and perplexed. Eve flees in his canoe, leaving La Bete floundering in the shallows. Her journey is fraught and she is thrown from the canoe in white water Rapids. The empty canoe is found by Native American tribespeople and Eve is rescued, being taken to the settlement where other white people reside.

Here, although being welcome, she remains an outsider. The viewer is told that she remained in bed for two months and lost the child she was carrying. The settlers have arranged a marriage for her to a man we first saw her flirting with early on in the film. Eve does not appear happy, however.

On the day of marriage, her 'sister' and foster mother dress her whilst the 'sister' demands to know how she lived in the wild and if she killed La Bete. Eve runs away again in order to finally return to the man she's come to love, Jean La Bête (or perhaps to get away from the unpleasant family she was sold to).

She arrives on the river beach and La Bete touches her face gently, then welcomes her home by telling her to clean the house! Eve smiles. In the last scene, she stands in the doorway and watches La Bête hobbling into the forest singing a song. Eve chops wood and carries it into the cabin.

"When I'm a man, I'll take me a wife; We'll live in a house on the hill, the hill; With carriage and horses all white, all white; And she shall have diamonds and pearls, and pearls; And she shall have diamonds and pearls"


  • Rita Tushingham as Eve
  • Oliver Reed as Jean La Bête
  • Barbara Chilcott as the Trader's Wife
  • Rex Sevenoaks as the Trader
  • Linda Goranson as the Trader's daughter
  • Merv Campone as Yellow Dog
  • Reginald McReynolds as the Captain
  • Joseph Golland as Baptiste
  • Walter Marsh as the Preacher
  • Blaine Fairman as the Clerk


Filming took place in autumn 1965 in Panorama Studios in Vancouver (it was one of the first films ever shot there). It resumed in 1966 in Scotland.[1][2]

London Marathon theme tune

A tune from Goodwin's score for the film is used every year as the theme tune for the BBC's live coverage of the London Marathon, performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.[3][4]


  1. What's the Real Goal of This 'Girl With Green Eyes'? By HOWARD THOMPSON. New York Times 6 Feb 1966: X9.
  2. 'Park' a Lark in Vancouver Loynd, Ray. Los Angeles Times 22 Dec 1968: b26.
  3. Goodwin, Ron. "The Trap - The London Marathon Theme". BBC Music. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  4. "Ron Goodwin: The Trap". Classic FM. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
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