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The Chase

1946

Taken from IMDB: Chuck Scott gets a job as chauffeur to tough guy Eddie Roman; but Chuck's involvement with Eddie's fearful wife becomes a nightmare. Originally uploaded by www.k-otic.com


The Chase is a 1946 American black and white film noir directed by Arthur Ripley. The screenplay written by Philip Yordan is based on the Cornell Woolrich novel The Black Path of Fear.

Plot

Chuck Scott (Robert Cummings) is a World War II veteran who is now a penniless drifter in Miami, Florida tormented by bizarre dreams. After finding a wallet and showing his honesty by returning it to Eddie Roman (Steve Cochran), a vicious gangster, Roman hires him to be his driver. Roman tests his new driver, who he nicknames 'Scotty,' by assuming control of his car from the back seat. Unbeknownst to Scotty, Roman has an accelerator installed in the rear passenger compartment so that he can "take over" the vehicle whenever he wants. This bizarre trick serves unnerves his new driver as well as Roman's right-hand man, Gino (Peter Lorre).
Roman reveals himself as a tough gangster by killing any competition, and even locks his wife, Lorna (Michèle Morgan), in her room every night to control her. Lorna goes for a drive every night at 9:30, and one day she asks Scotty to take her to Havana, Cuba in exchange for $1,000. He consents and realizes that he is in love with her. When they get to Havana, they stop for a drink at a club, but Lorna is murdered with a knife in Scotty's arms. All the evidence, including the fact that Scotty apparently purchased the knife that was used to kill Lorna earlier that day, points to Scotty being the killer, however he is being framed. The photograph from the club that proves Scotty was innocent is destroyed by Gino, who has come down to Cuba to exact revenge against Lorna and Scotty. Scotty escapes police custody, but is gunned down by Gino when he returns to the curio cabinet store where the knife came from.
Suddenly, Scotty wakes up back in Miami on the night he and Lorna are supposed to abscond to Havana. He is sweating profusely and immediately takes his pills that he is prescribed, presumably to deal with posttraumatic stress disorder from battle. Scotty remembers nothing, and goes to the U.S. Navy hospital to seek treatment from his doctor, Commander Davidson (Jack Holt (actor)). Davidson urges him to try to remember details of why he was dressed as a driver, but Scotty is unable. The two go drinking at the Florida Club.
Meanwhile, Lorna is shocked that Scotty abruptly quit his job and left earlier that night, and she is locked in her room after Roman discovers her writing a love letter to Scotty. Roman and Gino go to the Florida Club to cool down, unknowingly sitting across the club from the missing Scotty. Davidson, who presumably had been treating Roman, realizes that the woman Scotty is in love with is actually Roman's wife, but by this time, Scotty remembers where he was supposed to be and leaves to find Lorna. He rescues her and the two head for the port, but Gino and Roman are also heading to the port once they find out that Scotty was seen at the port buying tickets earlier that morning. Because Roman uses his master accelerator to push the car up to speeds of 100 Miles per hour, it crashes with an oncoming train, killing both gangsters. Scotty and Lorna are now free to sail to Cuba and be together.

Cast

File:Michèle Morgan The Chase 2.jpg
  • Robert Cummings - Chuck Scott
  • Michèle Morgan - Lorna Roman
  • Steve Cochran - Eddie Roman
  • Lloyd Corrigan - Emmerich Johnson
  • Jack Holt (actor) - Cmdr. Davidson
  • Peter Lorre - Gino
  • Don Wilson - Fats
  • Alexis Minotis - Lt. Acosta
  • Nina Koshetz - Madame Chin
  • Yolanda Lacca - Midnight
  • James Westerfield - Job the Butler
  • Jimmy Ames - The Killer

Reception

Film criticism Dennis Schwartz gave the film a mostly positive review, writing, "This film noir is memorable for its dark dream-like feel, as reality becomes indistinguishable from the dream sequences. Because of those shots, this film became a cult classic; but, it is one that is rarely shown on TV. The film was adapted from a Cornell Woolrich book -- he is a noted writer of the Black Mask (magazine) mystery school. They specialize in dark and expressionistic works, which this film is perfect example of."
The film was entered into the 1947 Cannes Film Festival.< name="festival-cannes.com"></>

Noir analysis


Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward write in Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style: "Phantom Lady (1944 film) excepted, The Chase is the best cinematic equivalent of the dark, oppressive atmosphere that characterizes most of Cornell Woolrich's best fiction."

See also

  • List of films in the public domain in the United States

  • The Black Path of Fear] on
    Category:1946 films
    Category:American films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:Film noir
    Category:Films based on mystery novels
    Category:Films directed by Arthur Ripley
    Category:United Artists films
    Category:Films based on American novels
  • 3.00
    Eugene Frenke

    More Public Domain Movies