The Bitter Man
During the war Canadian pilot Laurence Gerard (Dick Powell) met and married a French resistance fighter only to learn than she along with others was sold out by a traitor and was killed. When the war ends Laurence returns to France in a need to find out not only what happened but also her killer and doesn't believe it when he is told her killer is dead. When Laurence gets a tip off that the killer may have gone to Argentina he heads there and walks straight into an underground Nazi operation and a world where he can't trust anyone.
It's amazing how different people can watch a movie and come out with opinions which might suggest that have all been watching completely different movies. Of course there is nothing wrong with that at all because if we all thought the same thing life would be boring. But that brings me to "Cornered" a black & white thriller from 1945 which saw Dick Powell take on another hard boiled role and show that he was more than a song and dance man. Now some see this as classic film noir, others see it as a wordy bore and for me; well I see it as a bull in a china shop.
So what do I mean? Well it comes down to Dick Powell as he stomps through the movie as a bitter man, devoid of humour and unstoppable when it comes to getting answers. At times it is good as you get a sense of hurt and drive yet at times it is incredibly heavy handed and lacks the rise and falls of a believable character. Powell is not the only one at fault as their several other actors whose performances are too heavy handed with only Walter Slezak finding the rises and falls of a believable character.
It is a shame that Powell ends up delivering a too hard boiled character as "Cornered" certainly has intrigue and director Edward Dmytryk does well to make us curious with various shifty looking characters. But again that humourless performance from Powell dominates the movie and the knock on effect of this is that some of those scenes where we observe a character acting curiously end up feeling forced because of the contrast.
What this all boils down to is that "Cornered" could have been a good black & white thriller if it wasn't for Dick Powell who by sucking the life out of his character to make him a bitter man sucks the life out of the movie. Film noir aficionados might enjoy this more but for general movie fans it is hard work.
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