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Cornered

Cornered(1945)

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NOTES

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The credit for Luther Adler, who played the role of "Marcel Jarnac," was not presented until the end of the film in order to keep Jarnac's identity secret. According to a September 1944 pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter, RKO purchased a treatment titled "Cornered," written by Ben Hecht, Herman J. Mankiewicz and Czenzi Ormandi and assigned it to Adrian Scott to produce. (A modern source claims, however, that Hecht wrote the original "Cornered" treatment by himself and told the story of a Canadian prisoner-of-war who learns that his wife has died at the hands of French collaborators and follows the man responsible to Buenos Aires, which is essentially the same story we see onscreen.) Story materials contained in the RKO Archives Script Files at the UCLA Library Arts Special Collections include an August 1944 treatment entitled "Cornered," written by Hecht, Mankiewicz and Ormandi. That treatment outlines a far different story line from the one quoted by the modern source. The August 1944 treatment tells the story of an American who tracks the man responsible for his brother's death. His search leads him to the West Indies, and not Argentina, and thus the focus on the Nazis is missing from that treatment. In 1946, the year following the release of Cornered, RKO changed the literary property number on the treatment written by Hecht, Mankiewicz and Ormandi, possibly intending to produce another version of the story. The outcome of that project is not known, however.
       According to another news item in Hollywood Reporter, credited screenwriter John Wexley was hired in November 1944 to write an adaptation of the August 1944 treatment. The modern source claims that Wexley's treatment was so filled with anti-Nazi propaganda that John Paxton, who had worked with Scott and director Edward Dmytryk on RKO's 1944 film Murder My Sweet, was called in to rewrite it. The materials contained in the RKO script files support this claim. In an estimating script written by Wexley and dated March 1945, Argentina is shown as a Nazi base in which the Nazis control the country's newspapers, social organizations, industries and secret police. In the final film, the Nazi activity is confined to a small group of conspirators. In early July 1945, soon after the film began production, Dmytryk agreed to consult with the noted South American director Luis Cesar to assure the film's authenticity, according to a news item in Hollywood Reporter.