6.8/10
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41 user 21 critic

Cornered (1945)

Canadian flyer Laurence Gerard finds that his wife has been murdered by a French collaborator. His quest for justice leads him to Switzerland and Argentina.

Director:

Edward Dmytryk

Writers:

John Paxton (screenplay), John Wexley (story and adaptation)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dick Powell ... Laurence Gerard
Walter Slezak ... Melchior Incza
Micheline Cheirel ... Mme. Madeleine Jarnac
Nina Vale ... Señora Camargo
Morris Carnovsky ... Manuel Santana
Edgar Barrier ... DuBois, Insurance Man
Steven Geray ... Señor Tomas Camargo
Jack La Rue ... Diego, Hotel Valet (as Jack LaRue)
Gregory Gaye ... Perchon, Belgian Banker (as Gregory Gay)
Luther Adler ... 'Marcel Jarnac'
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Storyline

On being demobbed at the end of the war, Canadian flyer Laurence Gerard returns to France to discover who ordered the killing of a group of Resistence fighters including his new bride. He identifies Vichy collaborator Marcel Jarnac, who is reported as dead himself. Not believing this, Gerard follows the trail to Argentina where it is apparent that Nazism is also far from dead. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | French

Release Date:

11 March 1946 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Acorralado See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Four men involved in the making of "Cornered" were later blacklisted for Communist activities: producer Adrian Scott, director Edward Dmytryk, and actors Morris Carnovsky and Luther Adler. See more »

Goofs

Gerard isn't willing to wait for the investigation so he can a passport to travel to France legally. So he uses a small boat to sneak into France. But it's never explained how he got to and traveled to Argentina and back to Switzerland in Europe with no papers (passport). See more »

Quotes

Laurence Gerard: She couldn't have made a mistake. I knew her well. Who betrayed her?
Etienne Rougon: If there was any betrayal, I betrayed her by fathering her in a century of violence. She died well. Celeste made no mistakes.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Crossfire (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Men who pack suitcases make me nervous"
11 January 2009 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

If it was post-war disillusionment that fuelled the booming film noir movement of the 1940s, then 'Cornered (1945)' might just be the most bitter, disillusioned noir of them all. Though I can't claim to be Edward Dmytryk's greatest fan, I enjoyed 'Murder, my Sweet (1944)' because of its evocative atmosphere and Dick Powell's cocky, swaggering Philip Marlowe. This film gets the atmosphere angle right, but is so utterly devoid of humour that there's little entertainment to be found through watching it. Powell, in his second and final film for the director, seems to be taking the role so seriously that he's almost bored with the material. His exceedingly grim performance has shades of the sleepy-eyed austerity that Robert Mitchum did so well – unfortunately, only Mitchum could ever pull it off correctly. Nevertheless, the shadowy photography of Harry J. Wild {who has many noirs to his credit, including 'The Woman on the Beach (1947),' 'They Won't Believe Me (1947)' and 'Macao (1952)} is predictably gorgeous and enigmatic, re-enforcing the murky themes at the film's heart.

When Canadian pilot Laurence Gerard (Powell) is released from captivity at the end of WWII, he is understandably grief-stricken to learn that his wife has been executed by Nazi conspirators. Though the man responsible, Marcel Jarnac, is presumed dead by authorities, Gerard suspects deception, and travels down to Beunos Aires to uncover the truth. What Gerard encounters is a party of dubious Frenchmen, whose continued loyalty to greed and corruption are keeping the Nazi spirit well-and-truly alive. Our hero's approach is not the most subtle of tactics – he never bothers to hide his true intentions, and so deliberately places his own life in constant jeopardy, rushing determinedly into danger without ever considering the possibility that he's walking straight into a trap. Is Jarnac's beautiful wife (Micheline Cheirel) really as innocent as she claims to be? Is the city's leading "tour guide" (Walter Slezak, in another terrific role) an impartial operator who can be trusted with secret information? Is the German collaborator Jarnac right before Gerard's very nose?

I've always found Dmytryk to be a very workman-like filmmaker, though there's little doubt that his 1940s noirs constitute the creative peak of his career. Clever stylistic touches, like the climactic bashing that slides out of focus in an adrenalin-charged delirium, complement the narrative nicely, and Wild's cinematography can do nothing but enhance the film's merits. However, the story itself dwells too long in gloomy territory, such that there's little of the usual entertainment or invigoration to be derived even from the richly-crafted atmosphere. Only in the blood-soaked climax is Dmytryk able to build up some degree of momentum, and Luther Adler's enigmatic cameo role is certainly memorable; he has a strong, deep voice that occasionally suggests that it is Satan himself speaking diabolically from the shadows. 'Cornered' is a worthwhile film noir, with solid craftsmanship throughout, but the unrepentantly dark tone makes for somewhat empty, unsatisfying viewing. Just like the story it depicts, I suppose. Once the adrenaline of war has worn off, there's nothing left but sadness, regret… and shadows where our loved ones once stood.


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