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Directed by Arthur Ripley • 1946 • United States
Starring Robert Cummings, Michèle Morgan, Steve Cochran
The noir genre is known for its labyrinthine plots, but Arthur Ripley’s THE CHASE takes the “wrong man” premise to delirious extremes. Robert Cummings stars as Chuck Scott, a down-on-his-luck veteran who lands a job as chauffeur to a sadistic millionaire (Steve Cochran) and his reptilian bodyguard (Peter Lorre). Scott plays white knight to his boss’s suffering wife (Michèle Morgan), stealing her away to Cuba. But when she is fatally stabbed in a crowded nightclub, Scott is accused of murder and must flee through the shadowy streets of Havana in a reckless attempt to prove his innocence. Adapting a novel by hardboiled existentialist Cornell Woolrich, screenwriter Philip Yordan introduced a number of twists to the original story, including a third-act surprise that transforms what might have been a conventional story of doomed love into something truly mind-bending and surreal.