The Chase (1946)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Film Noir, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Nov 17, 1946 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

A problematic but fascinating excursion into film noir, The Chase is not to everyone's taste but will thrill and delight those who are tuned in to its wavelength. Chase is revered by many noir-ists for its decidedly dreamlike atmosphere; indeed, part of the film is an actual dream, and the shift back between reality and dream is one of the picture's hallmarks. Blessed with dazzlingly expressionistic lensing from the excellent Franz Planer, Chase is a nightmare made real and like most nightmares, it can be hard for some people to take. They have a right to decry the slipperiness of the script, which at times is difficult to follow and doesn't always make sense: not everything adds up the way it's supposed to. But the atmosphere director Arthur Ripley creates is highly individualized and leaves a strong impression. Moments crash into the memory and stay there, and any film that forces impressions onto the subconscious in this way is worth respecting. In the lead, Robert Cummings is good but not great. He's a little lightweight, not able to give the part the underpinnings that it needs. Better but still falling somewhat short of the mark is Michele Morgan; she has the femme fatale concept down but doesn't give it a distinctive enough mark. That leaves the field clear for bad guys Steve Cohran and Peter Lorre to steal the show, which they do with ease.