Cornered - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Cornered Reviews

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July 20, 2016
Dick Powell is a shell-shocked Canadian airman at the end of his tether looking for the Vichy French collaborator who killed his wife (and dozens of others) and fled to Argentina. He doesn't listen to nobody but that's probably a wise idea when the people he meet are like Walter Slezak's oily guide (a.k.a. go between) who leads him straight to the fascists hiding his target only to double or triple cross him (although everyone is out for themselves here). It isn't clear whether we are meant to be seeing things from distrustful Powell's perspective or whether the endless lies told by all of the secondary characters were craftily designed to fool us. This is a film noir that is constructed to create a world that is confusing as hell. Even at the end, I wasn't quite sure until the final minute who had won. Director Edward Dmytryk was notorious as a member of the Hollywood Ten, jailed for contempt of Congress for not speaking to the House Un-American Activities Committee, who eventually named names. Whether he inserted a message willingly or not, Cornered does contain some pleas for solidarity against the fascists who could be anywhere, even today. Indeed, the fascists in this film attribute the credit for their own success to the policies and acts of major governments that keep people in poverty and refuse to take notice of them and to treat them with respect. The film looks grimy and burnt out, exactly as a post-war noir should.
½ November 27, 2013
Solid bit of noir that was Dick Powell and Edward Dmytryk's follow-up to their classic film "Murder, My Sweet." This one is a post war crime story about Powell trying to find the murderer of his French wife, so it's a pretty unique setting and set-up for a noir. It's not as hard boiled at "Murder, My Sweet" but it's still a solid film.
½ November 13, 2013
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.
July 26, 2013
Dick Powell stops at nothing to corner the rat that killed his wife...
½ June 24, 2013
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.
½ August 24, 2011
Dick Powell puts in a strong performance in a classic 40's style thriller.
July 19, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

(1945) Cornered
FILM NOIR

Another film noir film I barely remember since they all involve murder, double crosses and a femme fatale! This one involves a Canadian flier coming home after WWII then discovering that a group of resistence fighters along with his wife are dead and Dick Powell as Laurence Gerard investigates leading him to suspect that it involves a cover up! All I remember is that this film had a good ending!

3 out of 4
dietmountaindew
Super Reviewer
½ March 19, 2011
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?
½ January 21, 2011
Dick Powell and Edward Dmytryk follow up "Kiss Me Deadly" with a bleak, confusing Noir about the post-war hunting of a Nazi collaborator in Buenos Aires. Many twists, turns, and double-crosses, but rarely gripping.
September 6, 2010
good stuff wonderful noir
September 4, 2010
Supremely satisfying noir thriller has Dick Powell chasing trail of nazi collaborator to Argentina and a nest of fascists. Dark streets and a sombre post-war anti-fascist mood permeate the stink of deep corruption. Script is very smart on all points and Powell transcends all previous roles. In film before this he plays Philip Marlowe in adaptation of Farewell My Lovely (titled Murder My Sweet.) Cornered captures even more of the Chandler essence, the rather unhappy recognition of human evil, and the persistent adherence to values of dignity in an effort to route out the corruption, with a catalogue of human depravity listed along the way. Here Powell plays a Canadian air force vet whose French wife is murdered by a collaborator leader whose gone into hiding. Powell's good-natured looks are drawn and scarred and performance-wise he musters an extraordinary range of weather-beaten moods. I've never seen him so haunted. It's a far cry from his singin' and dancin' days (and he is irrepressibly appealing in his Busby Berkely mode), and even a leap beyond his prior Marlowe incarnation. Perhaps it's the drive for vengeance that gives him that edge. Film itself is striking in its twists and turns, and frank recognition of war-time excesses of behavior. This one has real bite, and a racy rhythm of revelations and questions. Instant favorite.
September 1, 2010
Excellent mystery/thriller. A Canadian soldier goes a globe-trotting manhunt for the war criminal responsible for the death of his wife. Dick Powell is terrific in the lead, edgier and less snarky than his portrayal of Marlowe the previous year in Murder, My Sweet. There's also a fine array of intriguing character actors, especially Walter Slezak. The plot is twisted and complex, where no one can be trusted, and a double-cross is always right around the corner. Occasionally confusing, but satisfying by the conclusion. However, the cinematography is rather bland, with most of the best camera work saved for the climax.
August 27, 2010
Solid flick from the actor-director team behind MURDER MY SWEET. I know Dick Powell has done hard-boiled before, but I kept having to do a double-take whenever I was reminded of his many musical comedy roles. Maybe a little more enjoyable for its style than its storytelling, but at least it had style.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2010
Cornered is a decent representation of film noir, just not a shining example. Dick Powell plays a bull in a chinashop trying to get revenge on he man responsible for the deaths of not only his wife, but his French resistance fighter friends. Dick Powell is decent in the role but I just never really rooted for him. The plot is a series of screw jobs and double crosses that goes on a little too longer than it needs to but Edward Dmytryk's direction is solid and is probably the only real standout here. Well, Nina Vale didn't hurt, either...
July 22, 2010
This one nearly gets undone by an overly convoluted plot. That said, Powell is so good as the Canadian flier on a tare to kind his wife's killer that it keeps you interested.
December 13, 2009
Not Dmytryk's finest, but nonetheless terrific noir with Dick Powell sporting a perpetual 5 o'clock shadow and barking snappy lines with conviction. Slezak is great, working up a substantial flop sweat and alternately schmoozing or manipulating everyone he can. Cheirel adds a nice sophistication and gives Powell a good romantic foil for his cynicism.

The real fun comes at the end with Luther Adler revealed as the mastermind. I won't spoil it, but he gets a terrific monologue mocking postwar reconstructionist idealism. Then, some nice interaction with a rightly scared Slezak. Solid, enjoyable noir with tight direction and some very fun dialogue.
½ September 15, 2009
One of those noirs that gets by on attitude and look, because, clearly, plot comprehensibility is not going to carry the day.
½ November 24, 2008
Edward Dmytryk's tight direction keeps this post-war noir thriller clipping along, but excellent black and white cinematography and an exotic locale can't make up for a conventional and talky plot that goes on way too long. Dick Powell is strong in the lead, but most of the supporting cast are bland cyphers. Solid Golden Age filmmaking, but not particularly memorable.
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