The Chase Reviews
If David Lynch had made a film in 1946, this is what it might have looked like. Excellent understated acting by all, particularly Steve Cochran as the psychologically intense but unpredictably explosive villain. Reminds me of a young Robert de Niro. The directing is superb. Smooth, controlled and lets the picture tell the story without a lot of gabby dialogue. It's no surprise Arthur Ripley was making films back in the silent era. He captures the same muted and moody lingering camera style that nearly became extinct. And the script... just great. Woolrich not only "Lynch's" the plot half-way through the third act, he gives us two radically different outcomes. Sure he ends up with a cheap and easy kind of Hollywood ending, but not without first taking us down a strange, disturbing and inevitably tragic path. Don't like your heroines "taken out" at the end of a movie. No problem. This gal comes back to life. Highly original. Strongly recommended. I'm giving it 9/10 since this movie was deliberately flawed. Like a Lynch, it wants to screw with your preconceptions of convention, clarity and expectations.
Is the mobster trying to kill him? Did the wife make a pass at him? Why's he got a chauffeur's uniform on?
Sliding reality's the thing here, confusion every moment.
Maybe you like that in a noir. Me, not so much.
He then proceeds to fall in love with Roman's wife, who is so frightened of her husband that she tries to commit suicide. The two decide to run away together, but Roman finds out about their plans and the chase is on. Or is it?
This is probably the most dreamlike film noir ever made, due in great part to the plot by Cornell Woolrich----the master of bizarre situations------from his novel THE BLACK PATH OF FEAR. It's a bit confusing, but that only adds to it dreamlike atmosphere.
Robert Cummings, Steve Cochran, Peter Lorre, Michele Morgan, and even Don Wilson, more famous as the announcer on the Jack Benny Television Show, are perfect in their roles. And Lloyd Corrigan has a small but dramatic scene where Roman and Lorre decide to put the bite on him in the wine cellar.
It's an obscure film noir that's seldom shown on televison I got my copy from VCI, 5 Stars 4-1-13
The two heavies, played by Steve Cochran and Peter Lorre, have faces that only add to the film's distinctively noir iconography. The film also has lurid, masochistic behavior on display, as in the scene where Cochran slaps his hairdresser in the face. Without giving it away, I will say that the film also contains one of the more bizarre sequences in all of film noir, a fear-inducing moment that takes place within a speeding car. Stylish, violent, and dreamlike, "The Chase" is a noir rarity that is a must for anyone wanting a thorough understanding of the style and its archetypal components.
*** Three Stars
Starring: Robert Cummings, Peter Lorre, Michele Moran, and Steve Cochran
Director: Arthur Ripley
Chuck (Cummings), a down-on-his-luck WW2 vet, is hired as a driver for a psychopathic gangster (Cochran) and his morose, penny-pinching sidekick (Lorre). When Chuck takes pity on the gangster's wife (Moran) and helps her flee to Cuba, he finds himself framed for her murder. Or does he?
"The Chase" is an interesting experiment in filmmaking and storytelling that will draw you in with its moody lighting, quirky characters, and good acting. The film will then confuse you when it takes a sudden turn, revealing that part or all of what you've just witnessed was a fantasy had by someone in the throws of a psychotic break. Finally, it will frustrate you by muddling the lines between the film's reality and the dream sequence, and completely blowing the ending with one cop-out piled upon another.
The end result is a film that's worth seeing, even if the experience will be somewhat dissapointing. It teeters on the brink between a 5 and 4 rating, mostly because of the botched ending. If a stronger finale than a car crash and a stronger resolution of Chuck's mental situation had been offered, this could have been a 6 or perhaps even a 7, because everything leading up to the end is pretty good. Lorre's performance is particularly noteworthy. Watch him closely during the scenes in the car for a demonstration of how little a good actor needs to do to establish a character's feelings.