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

Monday, April 14, 2008


CROSSROADS (1942). Director: Jack Conway.

Parisian government official David Talbot (William Powell) winds up in the center of a mystery when a man who tried to blackmail him claims that he is actually petty thief Jean Pelletier, who appropriated Talbot's identity after a train crash. As Talbot has amnesia, even he can't be certain that he isn't Pelletier. This situation is complicated by Henri Sarrou (Basil Rathbone) who claims that he and Pelletier committed a robbery that resulted in a man's murder, and Michelle Allaine (Claire Trevor), who says that she and Pelletier -- Talbot -- were once lovers. This last is especially distressing to Talbot's wife Lucienne (Hedy Lamarr). The suspenseful film doesn't reveal the truth about Talbot until nearly the end, and the acting is great. Powell and Lamarr play very well together, Powell a bit more intense than usual and Lamarr giving one of her loveliest interpretations. Rathbone is perfection as the oily Sarrou, and Trevor is tough and saucy as Michelle. Margaret Wycherly nearly steals the picture from everyone as Pelletier's old mother, however.

Verdict: Very engaging mystery. ***.


Neil A Russell said...

Thanks for spotlighting this one, can't believe there's a Powell movie I haven't seen, at least a talkie anyway.

William said...

My pleasure!