Saturday, 7 April 2012


. I did not regard Cornered as special until reading information afterwards and learning that four of those involved in the making of the film Edward Dmytryk the Director, Adrian Scott, the producer and two of the actor Morris Carnovsky, and Luther Adler were blacklisted because of their alleged left wing inclinations have made a political film against Fascism released in 1945.

My reservations about the film is that the main character played by Dick Powell as Gerard, a Royal Canadian Airforce Pilot fails to convince me although it is a workmanlike performance given the period when it was made.

It appears that at some point he had a brief 20 day relationship with a French girl and hey were married. He was effected by his experience in a POW camp and is devastated and angry to find out that his bride, a member of the French Resistance had been murdered along with a number of others, including the priest who married them

His father-in-law Etienne Rouging identifies Vichy collaborator Marcel Jarnac as the man responsible and who officially died in 1943, but Rougon has strong doubts. Jarnac was so careful about maintaining his anonymity, so there is no description of him on record. When he manages to locate the man who had dealings with Jarmac he had died in an explosion which has destroyed he property and all his records with the exception of a sheet of charred paper

He then traces the widow of the man having lived in Switzerland although she has moved on but having acquired an official envelope from the insurance brokers/lawyers he sends it to address and then weights outside for the redirected letter to be pout out for the postman, Without knowing the postal system at the time this appears to stretch credulity. The redirected letter is for an address in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I can well believe that the limited travelling of English speaking people to Argentina at that time would mean that every visitor would of interest to the authorities and to the media but that he is met by at the airport by Melchior Incza (Walter Slezak), a stranger who knows all about him or gives the impression of this. Gerard rejects Incza's offer of help, but cannot turn down his invitation to a party hosted by wealthy businessman Tomas Camargo (Steven Geray) for the opportunity to mingle with Mme Jarnac's social set. There he meets Camargo's uncle, Manuel Santana (Morris Carnovsky), and the widow herself (Micheline Cheirel).

When Gerard later questions Mme Jarnac in her hotel room, she refuses to cooperate, so he starts openly following her. Santana asks him to desist, for reasons he will not divulge. Later, Gerard finds a suspicious valet, Diego (Jack La Rue), tidying up his hotel room at an odd hour. All these events are connected.

Mme Jarnac is followed to convent where in fact her sister is being for. She discloses she has never met her husband and was recruited for the role but believes he is alive and gives him an address where she thinks he is and that he is leaving the country. However the note is a false one and he nearly shoots the householder who is in fact part of group of anti fascists on the trail of Jarmac and all those who have fled to the country and South America and who part of a an underground Nazi organisation

Gerard then fools Incza into believing he has the full dossier compiled by Jarnac's associate. Incza breaks into the hotel safe, but the papers are not there. He then arranges for Gerard to be kept occupied, waiting for a phantom meeting with Camargo, while he searches his hotel room. When he is interrupted by Diego the Valet, he shoots him. The man was working for the anti fascists. Gerard is believed to be the killer although he had been lured to the room of a woman encountered at the Party he had attended on arrival. Later her husband supports his wife’s assertion that the two were together and that Gerard was not with them.

Although there is no evidence against him he is told to leave the county Incza tells Gerard that Jarnac will be seeing Camargo at his old office, Gerard decides to stake out a place Mme Jarnac recalls was once their meeting place. It is a trap. Gerard is captured, and Jarnac (Luther Adler) finally makes his appearance. Incza confirms he works for Jarnac, but is killed for talking too much. Gerard is to die as well, with Camargo as a witness that the two men killed each other. Camargo objects to becoming involved, but Jarnac threatens him with a paper in his possession. Gerard seizes the distraction to overpower Jarnac. He punches Jarnac repeatedly, and is only stopped by the arrival of Santana and Dubois. To their disappointment, Jarnac is dead, but Gerard shows them the paper detailing Jarnac's connection to Camargo; Santana states there appears to be enough there to expose the entire organization. There is the suggestion of a possible ongoing relationship between Gerard and the marriage of convenience widow.

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