Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

CORNERED


CORNERED (1945). Director: Edward Dmytryk.

Laurence Gerard (Dick Powell), a Canadian shot down over France and helped by the underground, learns that the resistance fighter he married and hardly knew was murdered along with many others under the orders of a collaborationist named Jarnac -- who is supposedly dead. Gerard travels to Buenos Aires to find Jarnac, even though he doesn't know what he looks like or what name he might be using. Helping and hindering along the way are Jarnac's widow (Micheline Cheirel), the hostess Mrs. Camargo (Nina Vale), her mousy husband (Steven Geray), a shady tourist guide (Walter Slezak of Lifeboat), and the sinister Dr. Satana (Morris Carnovsky). Even Edgar Barrier and Nestor Paiva get into the act as, respectively, an insurance agent and a police official. Powell and Slezak give terrific performances, with a sharp assist from Luthor Adler and the rest of the supporting cast. The movie is unpredictable and basically absorbing, though it has no great Hitchcock-like set-pieces and is rather talky at times. Still, it is undeniably intriguing and has an exciting climax. NOTE: Cornered is one of the eight films on Warner brothers' Film Noir Classic Collection Volume 5.

Verdict: Powell proves again that he's not just a song and dance man. ***.

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