Crossroads (1942 film)

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Crossroads
Crossroads 1942 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jack Conway
Produced by Edwin H. Knopf
Screenplay by Guy Trosper
Story by John H. Kafka
Howard Emmett Rogers
Based on the screenplay of the film Carrefour 
by John H. Kafka
Starring William Powell
Hedy Lamarr
Claire Trevor
Basil Rathbone
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Cinematography Joseph Ruttenberg
Edited by George Boemler
Production
  company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)
  • July 23, 1942 (1942-07-23) (New York)
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $846,000[1]
Box office $2,321,000[1]

Crossroads is a 1942 mystery film noir directed by Jack Conway and starring William Powell, Hedy Lamarr, Claire Trevor and Basil Rathbone. Powell plays a diplomat whose amnesia about his past comes back to trouble him.[2]

Plot[edit]

In 1935, French Diplomat David Talbot (William Powell) and his bride Lucienne (Hedy Lamarr) are enjoying their third month of marriage in Paris when Talbot is confronted by extortionist Carlos Le Duc (Vladimir Sokoloff) who demands money in exchange for not turning him in to the police.

During a trial of the extortionist, whose defense is that he was seeking a repayment of debt by a former criminal comrade, Talbot is accused of being that notorious criminal. Henri Sarrou (Basil Rathbone) testifies that he is not. Talbot claims that amnesia prevents him from knowing the truth and his story is backed up by a psychologist, Dr. Tessier (Felix Bressart). Le Duc is convicted.

Sarrou then visits Talbot at his home where we learn that Sarrou deliberately testified falsely to set up his blackmail scheme. He demands a million francs, half the loot from an alleged scheme he and Talbot (in his forgotten criminal phase) carried out.

Talbot subsequently struggles to discover the truth about his past, while keeping Sarrou at bay and his wife in the dark.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

According to MGM records the film earned $1,523,000 in the US and Canada and $798,000 elsewhere, making the studio a profit of $739,000.[1]

Critical response[edit]

When the film was released, the staff at Variety magazine praised the film, writing "This is a Grade A whodunit, with a superlative cast. The novel story line, which would do credit to an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, has the added potency of Hedy Lamarr and William Powell ... It’s good, escapist drama, without a hint of the war despite its Parisian locale, circa 1935, and evidences excellent casting and good direction. The script likewise well turned out, though better pace would have put the film in the smash class. Its only fault is a perceptible slowness at times, although the running time is a reasonable 82 minutes, caused by a plenitude of talk."[3]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz thought the screenplay was weak. He wrote, "A weak Hollywood remake of the 1938 psychological French thriller Carrefour, that's about amnesia and blackmail presented in a much too light manner for this sort of a suspense tale to carry much weight ... The cast do the most they can with such a trifle, but the plot has so many holes even a blind person could see through it and find it unbelievable."[4]

Adaptation[edit]

The film was adapted for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on March 29, 1943, starring Jean-Pierre Aumont and Lana Turner.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Crossroads at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. ^ Variety. Staff film review, 1942. Accessed: July 25, 2013.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, April 13, 2008. Accessed: July 25, 2013.
  5. ^ Audio Classic Archive. "Radio Broadcast Log Of: Lux Radio Theatre", last updated July 12, 2012. Accessed: July 25, 2013.

External links[edit]

Streaming audio[edit]