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Cornered (1945)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,075 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 18 critic

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.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Walter Slezak ...
Melchior Incza
Micheline Cheirel ...
Mme. Madeleine Jarnac
Nina Vale ...
Señora Camargo
Morris Carnovsky ...
Manuel Satana
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)
...
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 <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

25 December 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Acorralado  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luther Adler is given a special solo credit card at the film's conclusion. See more »

Goofs

In the window of the Bern insurance company, the German word for insurance, "Versicherungen" is misspelled "Vesicherungen". See more »

Quotes

Marcel Jarnac: I'm afraid the Anglo-Saxon is a poor fanatic. He only takes action when you disturb his visceral emotions. He thinks with his gall bladder.
Laurence Gerard: [Sarcastically] We're stinkin' poor fighters too! We got lucky and plastered you off the map by accident.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Crossfire (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pardon Me, But is That a Nazi in your Burrito?
9 November 2008 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Just count the number of daylight scenes in this unusually dense and dark slice of international intrigue. No doubt about it, noir has come to South America. And by golly, revenge-obsessed Laurence Gerard (Dick Powell) is going to track down his wife's killer, a Nazi collaborator, even if he has to turn Argentina upside down. And what's more, he's about as humorlessly driven as any grim character from that grim decade.

As good as Powell is, it's Walter Slezak as the slippery operative Melchior Incza who steals the show. I've seen the movie several times and I still can't figure out what side he's on. But never mind, he's all either oily politeness or hulking menace, to the point that for once I enjoyed watching a bloody beating. In fact, the 90 minutes is full of sinister foreign types, all polished gentlemen sporting high-class suits and slinky ladies modeling 40's high fashion. Nonetheless, you may need a scorecard to keep track of who's winning.

There are a number of nice touches, but maybe the most inventive is the subway scene. Gerard is trying to get important information from the untrustworthy Mme. Jarnac. Okay, she seems ready to cooperate and he's warily hanging on every word. But before she can complete a sentence, a noisy train rumbles by. They wait. She tries again. Same thing. Could it be that the Nazis are running the Buenos Aires subway? Of course, by this time the frustration has spread to the audience who may never ride a subway again.

The movie's message comes at the end and is reflective of the time (1945). Gerard may be pursuing justice, but the allies who help him are chasing Nazism itself. Following war's end, the survivors have escaped to Latin America and must be apprehended before the Third Reich festers all over again. (In fact, the West was unsure of Hitler's actual demise until 1956 when the Soviets finally released conclusive proof that he hadn't escaped his bunker.)

The identity of these pursuers is never disclosed, probably a touchy topic given the politics of writers Wexler and Paxton, subsequent victims of the Hollywood blacklist. In fact, the whole production crew reads like a Who's Who of the list, including producer Scott and director Dmytryk, two members of the high-profile Ten. Seems odd, finding Republican- conservative Powell in this leftish mix-- but then it's true that the war had enlisted Americans of all political stripes.

Politics aside, it's a crackling good yarn, even if a bit heavy-going at times. And for fans of noir, the lighting comes across as a textbook of shadow and menace. So much so, I doubt that the electricity bill for the entire production exceeded 10 bucks. Sure, the details seem dated but the sinister characters, passionate convictions, and convoluted schemes still entertain.


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