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The Chase
The Chase
Actors: Robert Cummings, Michele Morgan, Steve Cochran, Lloyd Corrigan, Jack Holt
Director: Arthur Ripley
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
NR     2003     1hr 26min


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Movie Details

Actors: Robert Cummings, Michele Morgan, Steve Cochran, Lloyd Corrigan, Jack Holt
Director: Arthur Ripley
Creators: Franz Planer, Edward Mann, Eugene Frenke, Seymour Nebenzal, Cornell Woolrich, Philip Yordan
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 07/22/2003
Original Release Date: 11/16/1946
Theatrical Release Date: 11/16/1946
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 26min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

A curiosity for Noir fans...
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 11/24/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

""The Chase" is probably one of the strangest film noirs you're ever likely to see.An out of work, but honest WWII veteran, Chuck Scott (Robert Cummings), happens upon a lost wallet. When he returns it to the wealthy owner, one Eddie Roman, Scott is given a job as chauffer by way of reward. But not all is as it seems with Scott's new benefactor. Roman is a vicious gangster, and a heartless control freak on top of that. When Roman's abused wife turns to the innocent Scott for help, they plan an escape to Havana. The vengeful Roman organizes some payback, and soon Scott is framed for murder. Along the way, there's a dream sequence that adds a real twist to the familiar plot."The Chase" has gotten the reputation for being somewhat of a cult classic, but I'm not sure how much of that following is truly deserved. The ultra-low budget and vague direction keep the film from reaching the lofty heights of "Out of the Past" or "Kiss of Death". The romance between Scott and Roman's wife is also a bit too pat, and leaves the viewer feeling somewhat dissatisfied. Probably the most interesting element here is the remote-control device Roman has fitted in his car, which allows him to take control of the accelerator and brake pedal, making him the ultimate back-seat driver. The device is introduced in a truly suspenseful sequence that serves as the highlight of the film.Robert Cummings, best known for the Hitchcock film "Sabatour" does do a very good job as the troubled Scott, and his fans will be pleased by his efforts in "The Chase". Peter Lorre is also in top form as Roman's evil aide de camp, while Steve Cochran's Eddie Roman is suitably chilling. Don Wilson, who plays a Roman henchman, will be recognizable to fans of the Jack Benny radio program; Wilson was Benny's announcer for years.The film is worth a viewing, although the print offered by Alpha video has seen better days."
A Strange, Neurotic Noir Based On A Book By Cornell Woolrich
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 12/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In Hollywood, directors get the credit. With The Chase, a strange, fascinating, neurotic noir, the credit should go to one of the masters of noir pulp fiction, the writer Cornell Woolrich. Like Phantom Lady, another Woolrich creation, the story centers around what might be struggling to get out of a person's head.

Woolrich wrote masterful pulp using his own name or the pseudonyms William Irish or George Hopley. He was a homosexual who loathed himself. He married a girl he idolized and saw the marriage annulled. Despite the money he made, he lived most of his life with his mother in decaying New York apartment buildings where his neighbors were lushes, prostitutes and drug addicts. At night, he'd troll the waterfront for anonymous sex partners. He became a deep alcoholic. And he turned out a stream of mystery novels and short stories that still are worth reading nearly 40 years after his death. Much of his material has been made into movies. If you like Hitchcock's Rear Window, you're watching a Cornell Woolrich short story. More often than not, the stories revolve around the black struggles that can happen inside a person's head. The Chase, based on Woolrich's The Black Path of Fear, is a noir worth watching.

One morning a down-and-out young man, Chuck Scott (Robert Cummings), finds a wallet on a Miami sidewalk. He finds the owner's name and address and delivers it to him. The owner, Eddie Roman (Steve Cochran), is a soft-spoken gangster with a penchant for hitting women, eliminating business competitors and for always being the man in control. His partner, Gino (Peter Lorre), who grew up with him, is just as ruthless and amoral, but not as psychopathic. Roman has been married three years to Lorna (Michelle Morgan), a beautiful, frightened woman who wants only to escape from him. Eddie Roman is amused by Chuck Scott's honesty and hires him as a chauffeur. Scott quickly learns two things. First, Roman has a car that is built so that from the back seat Roman can take over the accelerator. When he flips a switch he can move the car up to over 100 miles an hour. The driver can only steer and pray. The second thing Scott learns is that he is drawn to Lorna Roman.

It all comes together when Scott agrees to flee with Lorna to Havana. And then we descend into a dark swirl of murder, pay back, amnesia and fear. Half way through the movie we find ourselves in a paranoid dream of night-time Havana, of a horse-drawn carriage that rides off into a busy street, of a man glimpsed throwing a knife in a crowded bar, of a Cuban detective who casually uses a murder knife to spear a piece of melon from the table of a sobbing prostitute. Only later do we learn what is dream and what is real. If what was dream is frightening, what is real may turn out to be worse.

This really is an excellently developed story, and photographed with all the poorly lit streets and shadowy rooms a good noir needs. Cummings does a credible job as the uncertain but determined hero. Steve Cochran is first-rate as the menace. He's quiet, even thoughtful, but ready to do violent and unpredictable things in an instant. He has no intention of letting Lorna go. Lloyd Corrigan, a long time character actor, makes a memorable appearance as a businessman who won't sell his ships to Roman. He spends the rest of his life, which is brief, in Roman's wine cellar with a large dog. The music score is a strange dreamy underlay that suits the movie just fine.

This Alpha Video DVD, unfortunately, is barely watchable. The picture is soft, dark and full of scratches. The audio is not much better. There are no extras and only six chapter stops. This is an interesting, effective noir which deserves better treatment."
All roads lead to Havana
Steven Hellerstedt | 04/20/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"A seedy, disheveled, and unshaven man (we'll learn in a bit his name is Chuck Scott, a displaced WWII vet played by Robert Cummings) stands in front of a diner, longingly watching the fry cook flip pancakes and bacon. Before he can wipe the slaver off his lips a money-laden wallet drops at his feet. THE CHASE is filled with such moments of coincidence that reward neither scrutiny nor reflection, although they do their part to push the plot forward.
So, after breakfast Scott returns the wallet to its owner, Eddie Roman (Steve Cochran), a rich thug in a swank house attended by right-hand thug Gino (Peter Lorre). Our first view of Roman has him slapping a bloody lip onto a manicurist who accidentally poked him when he jerked his hand away. To its credit, this movie doesn't waste much time establishing core character traits. Roman, a character who finds it easier to esteem than emulate virtue, hires Scott on as his chauffeur. Oh, yeah, Roman's got this hot wife, Lorna (Michèle Morgan) who he keeps locked up and isolated, save for the nightly car rides to the seashore he allows her to take alone with the chauffeur. Lorna looks at the sea the same way Scott eyes pancakes and bacon, and sooner than you can say "I love you, Chuck" the chauffeur and the wife are booking tickets to Cuba.
What follows is both tense and extremely bizarre. The third act of THE CHASE has a big twist that had me shaking my head in disbelief. It doesn't help the story at all and it undermines our faith in everything that happened before. Too bad. The cast is competent, although Cochran doesn't have quite enough evil weight to pull out the tough crook routine, and Peter Lorre is underutilized. The transfer print is awful, scratchy and grainy and dulled out so badly that some night scenes are impossible to make out. Considering some of the weird stuff that happens towards the end of the movie this is a serious problem. With a few less gimmicks (ie, the accelerator pedal in the back of Roman's car, the better to emphasize his need to control, I guess), a few less unexplained coincidences, giving the Lorre character more to do - this one may have been very good. As it is, THE CHASE is an enjoyable and unexceptional little thriller.
An underated classic in desperate need of restoration!
Dave | Tennessee United States | 08/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The bizarre, dreamlike "The Chase" from 1946 was based loosely on Cornel Woolrich's novel _The Black Path of Fear_. Robert Cummings stars as Chuck Scott, a penniless WW2 veteran who happens to find a wallet filled with cash. But because he's a "sucker", he returns the wallet to it's owner, who happens to be Eddie Roman (Steve Cochran), a wealthy gangster. Eddie's right-hand man Gino (Peter Lorre) doesn't like or trust Chuck, but Eddie does, and he hires Chuck as his new chauffer. Chuck likes his new job but soon falls for Eddie's beautiful wife Lorna (Michèle Morgan), who desperately wants to escape her mean and violent husband. The next thing you know Lorna and Chuck have fled to Havana, Cuba, with Gino (and other henchmen) hot on their trail.

Several murders later, we find out that the whole thing's been a nightmare in the troubled mind of Chuck. By the end of the movie the viewer doesn't quite know what to believe, except that this is clearly the most bizarre film noir ever made! Be aware that it'll take multiple viewings to figure out everything that's going on in the plot. I can understand why some viewers might not enjoy this movie, but I love it more everytime I watch it. The acting was excellent, not just Robert Cummings and Michèle Morgan but also Steve Cochran and Peter Lorre, who always played villians to perfection. "The Chase" is unusually violent, even by 1940's film noir standards. There's two scenes where women get slapped or punched, one where a man gets killed by a big dog, one with a woman getting stabbed, two scenes of people getting shot, and one with a car getting destroyed (with two people inside) by a speeding train!

Please note that the 5-star rating is for the film, not the DVD!The Alpha DVD of "The Chase" is one of the worst quality DVDs they've ever released. The original print used for the DVD is badly damaged, with tons of scratches, various other age-related flaws, and some water damage. The sound quality is equally poor, with a terrible background "hiss" throughout the movie. VCI did their best to restore this classic for their Film Noir Double Feature DVD Vol. 2, and the picture quality is far better than the Alpha DVD. Although VCI wasn't able to fix the audio problems, I strongly suggest you purchase the VCI DVD instead of this unrestored version. We can only hope that a fully restored version will be available someday. Criterion Collection, perhaps?"