Cornered (1945)





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Canadian WW II pilot Gerard (Dick Powell) intends to track down and kill collaborationist Marcel Jarne, the man responsible for the wartime death of Gerard's French wife. The trouble is, Jarne has never been effectively identified by the authorities -- and in fact could be just about anyone whom Gerard meets. Following the trail of evidence to Buenos Aires, Gerard's strongarm methods run afoul not only of the Argentine authorities, but also of a pro-French underground movement which also wants to bring the villain to justice. Weaselly Incza (Walter Slezak) plays all sides down the middle until he too is ruthlessly rubbed out by the bad guy. From start to finish, Cornered is a superb thriller, directed with graphic ingenuity and economy -- and with a dash of endearingly naïve left-leaning politicizing. (With Edward Dmytryk as director, how could it be otherwise?) Avoid at all costs the computer-colored version of this beautifully photographed black-and-white film.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
RKO Pictures


Dick Powell
as Laurence Gerard
Walter Slezak
as Melchior Incza
Luther Adler
as Marcel Jarnac
Micheline Cheirel
as Mme. Madeleine Jarnac
Nina Vale
as Senora Camargo
Edgar Barrier
as DuBois
Steven Geray
as Senor Camargo
Jack LaRue
as Diego, Hotel Valet
Gregory Gaye
as Perchon
Jean Del Val
as 1st Prefect
Igor Dolgoruki
as Swiss Hotel Clerk
Ellen Corby
as French Maid
Louis Mercier
as Rougon
Jacques Lory
as French Clerk
Georges Renavent
as 2nd Prefect
Nelson Leigh
as Dominion Official
Leslie Denison
as Finance Officer
Tanis Chandler
as Airline Hostess
Egon Brecher
as Insurance Man
Byron Foulger
as Night Clerk
Michael Mark
as Elevator Operator
Kenneth MacDonald
as Businessman
Al Murphy
as Bartender
Al Walton
as Waiter
Cy Kendall
as Detective
Belle Mitchell
as Hotel Maid
Carlos Barbe
as Regules
Hugh Prosser
as Police Assistant
Jerry De Castro
as Taxi Driver
Stanley Price
as Hotel Clerk
Nestor Paiva
as Police Official
Frank Mills
as Stumblebum
Carl DeLord
as Mean-faced Man
Richard Clark
as Cab Driver
Paul Bradley
as Policeman
Rod de Medici
as Bellboy
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Critic Reviews for Cornered

All Critics (3)

...basically, we have a revenge plot, with a reckless, impetuous man willing to go to any lengths to find the man he's after.

Full Review… | July 16, 2010
Movie Metropolis

A humorless, no-nonsense revenge thriller directed by Edward Dmytryk and produced by Adrian Scott.

Full Review… | December 6, 2001
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quote not available.

July 17, 2005

Audience Reviews for Cornered


Never been a huge Dick Powell fan, but I like him best in noirs like this one. His single-minded pursuit of a French WWII collaborator responsible for killing his wife makes for a very linear and compelling revenge story. Entertaining, but by-the-book as far as this type of movie goes.

Daryl Kuxhouse
Daryl Kuxhouse

Cornered (1945) Lately, I've been trying to see any Film Noir with Dick Powell that I can get my hands on. This is a good one, directed by Edward Dmytryk. Laurence Gerard (Powell) is a Canadian airman who had crashed landed in France and, after being released from service, is trying to make it back to France to find the grave of his short-lived Wife and to take revenge on the man who killed her, a French Vichy commander named Marcel Jarnac (played by a shadowy Luther Adler). Laurence follows his quarry all the way to Argentina to his widow, Madeleine (Micheline Ceirel) who is partying with her X-Nazi friends. People are not who they seem including a guide, Melchior Incza (Walter Slezak). Laurence isn't sneaking around, and is determined to get his man no matter who he meets.

Rick Rudge
Rick Rudge

one aspect of film noir (in 1940s, the post-war period) focuses on the WWII veterans' ill-adjustments traumatized by the loss the war has caused them, usually taken place in foreign landscape that even thickens the feel of alienation, story complicated and spiced up by the trickeries and cconspiracies from the crooked spies . "cornered" is that sort of film noir, which concentrates upon the individual's disorientation affected by the war. i supoose that sort of bereavement is less universal than other noirs like maltese falcon, the big sleep or murder, my sweet which put more emphases on the grassroot americans' angsts over society and the injustice induced by society's super-structure (the elite and aristocrats, or just the filthy rich),,,thus "cornered" may just possess much less public appeal due to its narrowed themes, but it also has a crisp outlandish feel which transcend itself into a kafkaesque state, which reflects how in general the war has crippled a man's sense of complete self and avidly motored into the course of revenge. cornered, as the title suggests, is a movie about a veteran who aspires to take revenge on his wife's murderer, and his need for vegence drives him into a strange city in argentina, where he gets himself cornered.orson wells' "the third man" might have some paralleled points with "cornered" since the american protagonist in both films recklessly stumbles his way to investigate the truth he assumes he's entitled to learn despite the damage of harmony he has inflicted upon the foreign town where he inhabits. (why movies always portray american cocky in this way? it's like, i wanna do the thing i think it's right and i don't give a damn to your standards of values.)...but joseph cotton (in third man) does it due to his complacent assumption of himself or he does it to get his friend's woman in the name of hot-headed chivalry, and he is just a detective novelist who thinks he could really solve a criminal case due to his vast experiences on writings.. dick powell here has a more justified course of doing it: he wishes to expose his wife's murderer. the film lacks the poignant cynicism "the third man" has toward...ok, the notion of americanism...on the contrary, it casts somehow more sympathetic light, kinda like the oppositional compensation to the third man. and it's also quite honest in the dialogues: the man even confesses he doesn't exactly recall what his wife used to look like but the brief memories of the warmth and solace she has brought him during the war is enough for him to mourn for her deeply. also, the other reason cornered might not be so contagiously intriguing is the abscence of femme fatale. yes, it may have sinister woman in fancy dress to entrap the protagonist in a crime-scene, but the dosage is so feeble that it doesn't provide any stimulus to really stir up the indigenuous sexual antagonism between man and woman in extreme circumstances of life. (i suppose, that could be the best pleasure people get from noir.) in some ways, it could be noir, but in some other ways, it's not so sheer noir. in a nutshell, cornered is a decently made post-war drama shot in elaborated chiascuro. and it might surpirse you to a mild degree that it was directed by the same man who made "murder, my sweet" (starring dick powell as philip marlowe and claire trevor as the femme fatale)..if you're a really careful-minded film-viewer who pays attention to the styles of cinematography, you would immediately learn the resemblances of camera-angles and photographies these two movies have. cornered is like a black coffee to awaken you in the morning by laying bare of all the sorrows within the deprived people which are usually contained in the post-war noir, but the director or the scriptor just forget to (or just reluctant to) put any sugar in it. in other words, they don't add any other stuff which usually gives noir a titlating aura. (like sexual anatagonism...okay, i seem to focus on sex a lot..ha) but who says black coffee ain't also tasty sometimes?

Veronique Kwak
Veronique Kwak

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