THE HUNTED 1948

image Preston Foster was just a little too old to be convincing as the police lieutenant ,Johnny  Saxon who is obsessed by a woman Laura Mead (Belita) he cant trust. Saxon puts Laura in prison for 4 years for a robbery she claims she didn’t do.

The Steve Fisher script opens with Saxon observing Laura coming off a bus – she’s just been released from prison.  Speaking to Laura’s parole officer he says, “I’m the guy that was in love with her and locked her up.”

But he hasn’t forgotten her( though there is no indication he visited her in prison) – he has arranged a job for her and somewhere to stay.

Back at his apartment,he finds Laura waiting for him. She remarks, “What’s the matter? Are you afraid of me? I promised to kill you.” . She adds, “I spent four years hating you.”

She again says she is innocent. Her brother gave her a package to keep for him – it was full of diamonds. There’s no one who can back up her story.. as Laura says, “It’s funny how untruthful the truth can sound.”

Saxon tells her he spent months checking and re-checking everything but was convinced she was guilty. (Not helped by the fact that her attorney,(played by Pierre Watkin) tells Saxon that she confessed fully to him.)

As Laura is played by Belita,the job Saxon gets for her is in an ice show run by Frank Ferguson. and of course we see a skating number.

Finally Saxon lets down his guard and admits he still loves her. But the lawyer is murdered and Laura is framed for it and runs away. Saxon is ready yet again to believe her guilt (she had threatened the lawyer for not defending her properly at her trial.)

In a final confrontation,Laura says to Saxon,”You’ve hounded,tormented and hunted me, made me fall in love with you again. I never committed a crime before in my life,but if you try to follow me,I’ll kill you.” 

In the end, the truth and Laura’s innocence is proved. A tacked on happy ending doesn’t ring true.

This story has a lot going for it, and English born Belita was convincing as Laura. Charles McGraw ,who had a minor role, would have been a better costar.

The conflict between Laura and Saxon reminded me of Ford and Hayworth in Gilda,but Belita and Foster couldn’t generate the heat and passion we got from the Columbia duo.

3 responses »

  1. Vienna,I decided not to read this piece just in case your review
    may contain spoilers. This film is VERY high on my wants
    list and I do know that Warner Archive plan to release it at
    some point. I love those Monogram Noirs.
    Did you ever see DECOY from the same director (Jack Bernhard)
    with a knockout performance from Brit actress Jean Gillie.
    I understand Bernhard and Gillie were married at the time.
    Bernhards directing career only lasted from 1946-50,wonder
    what happened to him after that..I also understand that Berhhard
    served with the RAF during the war.
    Thank you by the way, for pointing me towards OPEN SECRET
    from an earlier post,finally caught up with it and found it quiet
    impressive,a rather bold film considering the subject matter and
    the time that it was made. Yet another little gem from poverty
    row.

  2. Don’t read it.Definite spoilers! Great news that it may be released by Warners.
    Jean Gillie is amazing in Decoy. Must catch up with it again.
    Glad you liked Open Secret.
    Your comment went straight to my Trash! Don’t know why.

  3. I was having computer troubles on Saturday,all my WordPress stuff
    bounced back,was very surprised to see my post here today!
    So glad that you saw DECOY……..I understand that it has a sort
    of minor cult reputation.Jean Gillie made only one other film after
    DECOY in a supporting role;before passing away at a very young
    age.THE HUNTED is on Warner Archives to be released list,
    do not know when though.They are certainly churning out the
    Monogram titles that they hold.

    i

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