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CORNERED
DVD. Odeon Films.

CorneredEx POW Laurence Gerrard (Dick Powell) is an angry man. After WW2 ends, he’s forced to sneak back to France to find out what happened to his murdered bride. After discovering that she was one of several resistance fighters slaughtered by a collaborator who supposedly died in 1943, he sets out to track down the war criminal Marcel Jarnac, who is convinced is still alive. After travelling across Europe, the trail finally leads to Argentina (of course), where Gerrard suddenly finds himself caught up in various schemes by both Jarnac’s agents and Nazi hunters trying to capture both him and his allies. Not knowing who to trust, and frequently betrayed, Gerrard battles his way through, not always doing the right thing.

Cornered is a fascinating puzzle of a film, touching on the Noir genre and the paranoid thrillers of Hitchcock, as director Edward Dmytryk and writers John Paxton and John Wexley weave a twisting tale where no-one is quite what they seem, and double or even triple crosses are common-place. Powell is excellent as the bitter, often blundering hero, who is so blinded by his own need for vengeance that he doesn’t care about the bigger picture. The supporting cast are excellent, notably Walter Slezak as a fat, conniving and thoroughly untrustworthy character.

Decidedly grim, Cornered could probably stand to have ten minutes or so chopped from the running time, but nonetheless, this is a fairly gripping, if sometimes frustratingly confusing post-war thriller with an agreeably cynical edge to it. Well worth checking out..

LES DE MONZE

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