ⓘ Crossroads (1942 film)

                                     

ⓘ Crossroads (1942 film)

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. The film was inspired by the 1938 French film Crossroads which had also had a British remake Dead Mans Shoes in 1940.

                                     

1. Plot

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.

                                     

2. Cast

  • Philip Merivale as the Commissaire
  • Sig Ruman as Dr. Alex Dubroc
  • Claire Trevor as Michelle Allaine
  • Basil Rathbone as Henri Sarrou
  • Vladimir Sokoloff as Carlos Le Duc
  • Hedy Lamarr as Lucienne Talbot
  • Felix Bressart as Dr. Andre Tessier
  • H.B. Warner as the Prosecuting Attorney
  • William Powell as David Talbot
  • Margaret Wycherly as Madame Pelletier
                                     

3. Reception

Box Office

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.

Critical response

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."