AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Chase
Director: Arthur D. Ripley (Dir)
Release Date:   22 Nov 1946
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 17 Nov 1946
Production Date:   mid-May--early Aug 1946
Duration (in mins):   86
Duration (in feet):   7,748
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Cast:   Robert Cummings (Chuck Scott)  
    Michèle Morgan (Lorna Roman)  
    Steve Cochran (Eddie Roman) Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn
    Lloyd Corrigan (Johnson)  
    Jack Holt (Commander Davidson)  
    Don Wilson (Fats)  
    Alexis Minotis (Lt. Acosta)  
    Nina Koshetz (Madame Chin)  
    Yolanda Lacca (Midnight)  
    James Westerfield (Job, the butler)  
    Jimmy Ames    
    Shirley O'Hara (Manicurist)  
  and Peter Lorre (Gino)  

Summary: When veteran Chuck Scott finds a wallet in front of a Miami diner, he uses some of the money inside to buy himself breakfast and a cigar before returning the wallet to its owner, Eddie Roman. The wealthy and sadistic Roman is astonished by Chuck's honesty and rewards him with a chauffeur's job. One day, as Chuck is driving Roman and his assistant, Gino, Roman turns on a second set of controls in the back of the car and, without informing Chuck, increases the driving speed. When Chuck comments on it, Roman instructs him to pay attention to steering and then proceeds to try and outrun a train. At the last minute, Roman slams on the brakes and, thanks to Chuck's skill at driving, narrowly avoids a crash. Roman viciously punishes those who cross him, murdering a competitor when the latter refuses to sell him a pair of ships. He also keeps a tight reign on his wife Lorna, who obtains some solace on long drives with Chuck. One night, after spending hours looking at the ocean, Lorna offers Chuck one thousand dollars if he will take her to Havana. The next day, Chuck buys two tickets to Havana and, together with Lorna, plots their escape. That night, Chuck packs his suitcase and lies down for a rest. Later, looking for Chuck, Gino finds a travel brochure for Havana, and he and Roman set off after the escaping couple. On board ship, Chuck and Lorna begin an affair. After landing in Havana, they take a tour in a horse-drawn carriage and the driver forces them to leave the carriage in front of a bar. Trying to make the best of it, they go inside for a drink. There, Lorna is stabbed to death and Chuck is accused of her murder. Chuck tries to convince the police of his innocence, but every clue he turns up seems to prove his guilt. Chuck creates a disturbance and escapes, only to be shot by Gino. When Chuck awakens, he is still in his room at Roman's house. The trip to Havana was a dream, but he is disoriented by it and does not recognize his surroundings. Chuck hurries to the naval hospital and there tells his doctor what has happened. Although the doctor reminds him that he is suffering from shock, Chuck anxiously keeps watching the clock, sure that he is late for some appointment that he does not remember. The doctor takes him to a nightclub for a drink, and there Chuck sees Roman and Gino. The sight of the two men jogs Chuck's memory, and he hurries back to the house to meet Lorna. In the meantime, Roman accidentally discovers that Chuck purchased two tickets to Havana, and he and Gino rush to the docks. On the way, Roman tries to outrun a train, but Gino, who is driving, is not able to control the car and the two men are killed in the ensuing crash. Chuck and Lorna arrive safely in Havana, where they will begin their new life together. 

Production Company: Nero Films, Inc.  
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: Arthur D. Ripley (Dir)
  Jack Voglin (Asst dir)
Producer: Seymour Nebenzal (Pres)
  Seymour Nebenzal (Prod) (Prod)
  Eugene Frenke (Assoc prod)
Writer: Philip Yordan (Wrt for the screen by)
Photography: Frank F. Planer (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Robert Usher (Art dir)
Film Editor: Edward Mann (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Victor A. Gangelin (Set dressings)
Costumes: Peter Tuesday (Miss Morgan's gowns)
  Bill Edwards (Ward)
Music: Heinz Roemheld (Mus dir)
  David Chudnow (Mus supv)
  Michel Michelet (Orig mus score)
Sound: Corson Jowett (Sd rec)
Special Effects: Ray O. Binger (Spec photog eff)
Make Up: Don Cash (Makeup)
  Marjorie Lund (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Joe Popkin (Prod mgr)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel The Black Path of Fear by Cornell Woolrich (New York, 1944).
Authors: Cornell Woolrich

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Nero Pictures, Inc. 22/11/1946 dd/mm/yyyy LP739

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Film noir
Sub-Genre: Psychological
Subjects (Major): Chauffeurs
  Post-traumatic stress disorder
Subjects (Minor): Automobile accidents
  Havana (Cuba)
  Miami (FL)

Note: According to HR news items, Joan Leslie was signed to play the role of "Lorna" on 6 Mar 1946, although she was still under contract to Warner Bros. and had not obtained a release from them. The studio refused to lend her and obtained a restraining order on 18 Apr 1946 to prevent her from appearing in pictures for other producers. Leslie attempted to void her studio contract, which still had three years to run, claiming that as she had signed the initial contract when she was a minor, she had the right to disaffirm her contract when she reached the age of consent as she did in Feb 1946. On 25 Mar 1947, the district court of appeals upheld a 23 Apr 1946 ruling that freed Leslie from her Warner Bros. contract. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   19 Oct 1946.   
Daily Variety   14 Oct 46   p. 3.
Film Daily   15 Oct 46   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Mar 46   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Apr 46   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   17 May 46   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   27 May 46   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Aug 46   p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Oct 46   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Mar 1947.   
Hollywood Reporter   4 May 48   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   19 Oct 46   p. 3262.
New York Times   18 Nov 46   p. 31.
Variety   16 Oct 46   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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