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(1942)

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Good mystery
k_jasmine_9916 November 2000
This is a good, keep-you-guessing mystery. William Powell plays a man who doesn't remember anything of his life beyond 13 years ago. Circumstances begin to make him doubt himself and wonder what he had done before an accident caused him to have amnesia. He is very much in love with his wife (the beautiful Hedy Lamarr), and it is riveting to watch his self-assurance crumble as clues begin to reveal a possible shady past. Also starring Claire Trevor and Basil Rathbone. Good movie, especially if you are a William Powell ("The Thin Man") and/or Hedy Lamarr fan.
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7/10
a mystery wrapped in an enigma
blanche-210 August 2006
William Powell is a rising diplomat whose past may - or may not - have come back to haunt him in "Crossroads," also starring Hedy Lamarr, Basil Rathbone, and Claire Trevor. Powell plays David Talbot, a successful man with the French government, who is happily married to Lucienne (Lamarr) when he is accused of being a criminal named Jean Pelletier. He is blackmailed by the slimy Sarrou (Rathbone) and the flashy Michelle (Trevor). In fact, Talbot has amnesia and doesn't remember anything before the last 13 years. Is he Pelletier or isn't he?

This is an interesting story with a huge hole in it, but nevertheless, the cast is talented and the story intriguing enough to keep the viewer interested. Powell is excellent in a serious role, which by this time had become somewhat unusual for him, and Lamarr is lovely as his wife and looks beautiful. No surprise there. Rathbone and Trevor make a neat pair of crooks.

"Crossroads" makes for fun watching. Just don't think about it too much.
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6/10
unexpectedly good intrigue flick
rupie11 June 2003
I was drawn to this by the presence in the cast of William Powell, an actor whose graceful charm always lent class to any movie he appeared in. His work in this surprisingly good story of mystery and blackmail, lives up to expectations. The plot manages to surprise one throughout and keeps one's interest going right to the end. Good script, good direction, and a nice setting in 1920's France. Basil Rathbone turns in a nice bit as a villainous character from the past. Worth seeing.
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7/10
William Powell in a Psychological Mystery
atlasmb10 August 2014
William Powell plays David Talbot, a French diplomat. When he receives a cryptic letter seeming to ask him for repayment of an old debt, he involves the police, who capture the apparent blackmailer. When the mysterious apprehended man goes on trial for extortion, the story of David Talbot develops. He was in an accident 13 years prior, leaving him with no memory of the previous years. Because he cannot absolutely deny things attributed to him before the accident, we are not sure of the truth. It would have been interesting to see how Hitchcock might handle this story.

We wonder if Talbot, the man with he dubious past, really suffers from amnesia. The evidence, as it is revealed, pulls us back and forth. Is Talbot's behavior due to his confusion? Is he angry at the charges leveled against him? Or is he feigning forgetfulness? Perhaps every new development is bringing his memory back to him?

It is William Powell's acting that creates the ambiguity that keeps this story interesting. Hedy Lamarr, Basil Rathbone and Claire Trevor perform admirably in their supporting roles.

It's a simple premise. But the action develops the story in such a way that the viewer's interest is always engaged. Clues--at least what we think are clues--are parceled out cleverly. Powell's reactions are well-studied, always maintaining the veil that clouds his intentions. It is totally believable because we know that Talbot is probably confused too. This is a mystery worth watching.
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MGM Programmer
dougdoepke12 April 2008
Slickly done MGM programmer. It may not be a top-of-the-line production, but it still has the studio's signature polish and glamor. The premise is an intriguing one-- is successful diplomat Powell also a murderer with a bad case of memory. With luscious wife La Marr and an ascending career, he's got a long way to fall if he is. Powell is his usual urbane self, while La Marr and Trevor get to play dress-up, big time, while Rathbone gets a break from Sherlock by playing a rather nasty villain. There's nothing special here, just an entertaining diversion with a rather unsurprising ending. For those interested in European types, this is a good opportunity to catch them under a single roof, as it were-- especially Felix Bressart, whose pixilated professor lifts the sometimes stolid proceedings. Aesthetically, there's one really striking composition of black and white photography. Powell's on his way to the river to end it all. But next to the coursing dark waters separated by a zigzagging wall is a shimmering cobblestone boulevard lit by three foggy street lamps. It's an uncommon depth of field with subtly contrasting shades of black and gray. All in all, it's a real grabber, and demonstrates vividly those values that have been lost in the wholesale move to Technicolor.
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7/10
Delicious...
inspectorfernack28 July 2010
Not a lot to add to what others have suggested, but this is a very lovely bit of movie making.

Powell really gets to display the acting chops that he had in spades. His ability to show pain, uncertainty and angst is not something that he got to do a lot, and it's enjoyable here. And the writing really helps. Powell seems, in so many ways, to be a contemporary actor, despite the thin mustache! He was just such a natural!

Hedy is mostly eye candy, but that's not her fault. Felix Bressart puts in a spot-on performance. He really nails his role beautifully. Trevor and Rathbone are solid, as always.

And this movie is really shot well, too. Great B & W photography that helps maintain a noir- esquire mood.
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6/10
Once a thief--or was he?...
Doylenf1 January 2007
WILLIAM POWELL and the gorgeous HEDY LAMARR co-star in a tale of an amnesiac who can't recall what happened to him when a train wreck wipes out part of his memory. Two very cunning crooks (BASIL RATHBONE and CLAIRE TREVOR) take advantage of him by posing as people who want to help him and then plotting to extort money from the wealthy French diplomat and his wife in order to hush up the crime they say he actually did commit.

While the story itself seems far-fetched at points, it does make for an intriguing tale and it's played to the hilt by a very competent cast--although Powell as a French diplomat is a bit hard to swallow.

The sinister overtones are well played by Rathbone and Trevor, both of whom always excelled at playing shady characters in films of the '40s, with Rathbone shifting from his Sherlock Holmes roles to those of the villain. They do much to give the film a flavor of film noir, as does the B&W cinematography.

It's a clever tale, well directed by Jack Conway, and gives Powell and Lamarr a much better chance to emote than they would have two years later in a misguided comedy called THE HEAVENLY BODY.
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Mysterious Mystery
GManfred2 April 2011
I don't think that's redundant. Think of how many mysteries in which the culprit/villain/murderer is known from the beginning of the film (for instance, "Sleuth"). Those are 'cat-and-mouse' stories, and it's a matter of time before the perp is found out.

"Crossroads", however, remains mysterious until the very end, and the mystery deepens as the film unfolds. William Powell, at his urbane best, is the amnesia victim who may or may not have been a criminal before his accident. Hedy LaMarr is his devoted wife and is gorgeous but with little else to do. Basil Rathbone is in one of his patented Loathsome Villain roles and gives the picture the rating I gave it.

The picture is extremely well written and holds the interest throughout its 84 minutes, which in this case fly by - no chance to check your watch in this one. Don't know if it was an 'A' or a 'B' at the time, but "Crossroads" is one of the best unheralded movies ever made.
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7/10
Great Mystery
whpratt111 April 2008
Enjoyed viewing this film on late night television starring William Powell, (David Talbot) a very successful man working for the French Government and happily married to a very beautiful woman named Lucienne Talbot, (Hedy Lamarr). Every thing is going great for this couple until David has an accident and develops amnesia and cannot remember a period of his life for 13 years. Henri Sarrou, (Basil Rathbone) meets up with David Talbot and blackmail's him for a crime he committed under the name of Jean Pelletier several years ago. Henri also has a woman named Michelle Allaine, (Claire Trevor) who also confirms that David is guilt of this crime and seeks thousands of dollars to keep everything quite. This is a great mystery story starring great classic veteran actors.
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8/10
Variations in the usual type casting of the characters
misctidsandbits15 January 2012
Claire Trevor is my pick for interest in this, though William Powell is always engaging. He does well in a different sort of part for him, a man who has cause to doubt himself. But character shows true, not something you can hide with such close alliances as in his life and over time. He just does not have the criminal bent about him. But you begin to wonder as it goes along. The marriage is one of those society types, where it's always "darling" and other formalities, yet they demonstrate a solid bond. Good Hedy Lamarr vehicle for a deeper sort of character and inner attractiveness. It's not just the background and beauty here that make up her weight. But Claire Trevor has that intriguing woman thing down in this, doing both the refined veneer along with the bald adventuress well. Rathbone has a different role type also, having more of the nervous edginess, needing side coaching from the Trevor character. The old lady playing the fake mother is good also. As one said here, there is the formula element about the film, but there is depth of interest as well.
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10/10
Excellent and harrowing amnesia drama
robert-temple-117 December 2011
This is a superb amnesia thriller directed by Jack Conway (1887-1952, no relation to actor Tom Conway whose real name was not Conway), which he made towards the end of his career. He was famous for so many noted earlier films, A TALE OF TWO CITIES (1935), A YANK AT OXFORD (1938), RED-HEADED WOMAN (1932), LIBELED LADY (1936), and so on. In this excellent film we have superb interplay between the lead actors William Powell and Hedy Lamarr. Conway had worked with Powell before. Powell was able to transfer his delightful and insouciant on screen relationship which he had had with Myrna Loy in the six 'Thin Man' films and several other screen pairings with her to Hedy Lamarr in this one, with the greatest of ease. This shows pretty clearly that it was Powell's wit and personality which were the ultimate origin of his magnificent on screen charm with women. (My brief acquaintance with Loy when I was young had already convinced me that the sparkle did not originate with her, and that her part in it was reactive, just as Lamarr's is here. However, both Loy and Lamarr, who in real life was something of a genius who invented a naval torpedo, were highly intelligent women who were able to decode and return the Powellian signals and amplify them for the camera. Above all, Powell needed intelligence and wit in the women with whom he interacted for his magic formula to work.) This film has a superb script, although I would say that the intensity and the mystery sag towards the end because too much is revealed before the finish by letting us see the villains plotting, at which point the mystery leaks out of the balloon to a large extent. It would have been better to keep all the revelations to the very end and to have constructed a more dramatic finale which would have released all of the suspense at the last moment. However, the plot is not a simple one. William Powell plays a French diplomat in Paris who cannot remember anything about his life before July 27, 1922, the day of the Marseilles to Paris train crash in which many people were killed, and when he suffered severe brain damage. After the crash, he was identified by someone, so that he knows his name, but nothing else. He and Lamarr have a happy marriage and his career is thriving. But suddenly he receives a strange letter from a stranger demanding one million francs, which he says he is owed. The man is arrested for extortion but in his defence at his trial accuses Powell of being someone else and living under a false identity. The man says Powell is called Jean Pelletier, but Powell has never heard this name. A complex blackmail plot evolves, whereby Powell himself becomes convinced of his identity as Jean Pelletier, especially when he meets his own 'mother'. Meanwhile, Hedy Lamarr is getting more and more up tight, because of these events, and wondering whether she really knows her husband at all. Everything is greatly complicated by the sudden appearance at the trial of Basil Rathbone, who testifies that Powell is not Jean Pelletier, but then afterwards approaches him wanting a million francs for his silence, saying that he lied in court and that Powell really is Jean Pelletier. Pelletier, by the way, was a bank robber and a murderer, so not the sort of person one wants as an alter ego, or even as an ego. Thrown into the mix is the sultry and slinky Claire Trevor, always a favourite femme fatale. She says she and Powell were once in love, when he was Jean Pelletier, and she has a photo of them together to prove it, which she wears in a locket round her neck. Powell looks insufficiently interested in Trevor, considering how intriguing she is, not to mention attractive. But then he has Hedy Lamarr, so there is presumably no contest. It is an excellent yarn, and although it does not keep you biting your nails until the very end, at least it does so until near the end, and even then things remain ambiguous. So there is plenty of wondering to do, and those are the best kind of films.
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9/10
This film surprised me--it was exceptional
MartinHafer3 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I went into this film with relatively modest expectations. Sure I am a fan of William Powell, but I had never heard of the film and had no idea what it was about. Wow, was I surprised to find that it was one of his best films--a mystery-suspense film that packed exceptional writing and acting into a fun to watch package.

Powell plays a French diplomat (strange casting, I know). He gets an extortion letter that threatens to expose him as having a criminal past. Unfortunately, although he is now a decent and well-respected man, this past COULD be true. You see, Powell had been in a train wreck many years before and still has no idea who he was before the accident due to his having received a substantial head injury.

At first, the accusation appears to just be a jerk trying to bleed him of his wealth--this is especially apparent when a man (Basil Rathbone) testifies categorically in court that Powell is NOT the criminal. However, when Rathbone later shows up and wants money not to divulge that Powell REALLY IS the crook, the movie becomes more interesting.

While I could tell more of the plot (thus ruining the movie), I want to talk about the writing. So many times this film COULD have taken the easy or clichéd way out, but instead of insulting the intelligence of the audience, what unfolds seems believable and fascinating. This is truly an example of a film where the writing is the star. Sure, Powell, Rathbone, Hedy Lamarr and Claire Trevor are wonderful in the film--top actors performing with great gusto and flair. And, of course, the direction is superb, but it all boils down to a film that could have just been an ordinary or above average movie, but rises to a higher level of entertainment. An exceptional and relatively undiscovered film.
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9/10
What an amazing film!
deltascorch904 November 2011
This film is extraordinary. If you are drawn to it by either the names William Powell or Hedy Lamarr being attached to it, then you'll be pleased to know that the both of them give performances here that are of their respective bests. William Powell is the type of character here that everyone loves to see him as, and he very well conveys the distraught that his character goes through ... there are quite a few moments here of suspense that particularly kept my unblinking eyes glued to the screen!

Hedy Lamarr isn't at all in one of her "stone face" roles here, or those in which she demonstrates little of acting ability I mean, and plays the "Myrna Loy" character in a way worthy of admiration (the true "ideal marriage" concept that Powell and Loy put together so well always).

I'm not particularly well versed in mystery films otherwise to know how predictable the plot is, though I was kept guessing throughout and really found myself hooked. I think this is a fantastic collaboration and film altogether, and was pleased to see Felix Bressart working together with Hedy Lamarr again, in a truly comical role, after having appeared next to her already in Comrade X and Ziegfeld Girl.

For fans of Lamarr and Powell this film cannot be more recommended!
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8/10
The Thin Man Meets Pirandello
benoit-330 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I was really taken in by the premise of this film: A respectable French citizen (William Powell) married to a lovely and loving wife (Hedy Lamarr) is accused at the onset of having been a cheat in a previous incarnation before a train accident destroyed his memory and he had a chance to assume a new life and identity.

Some shady characters (the always alarming Basil Rathbone and the equally ambiguous Claire Trevor) then approach him ("out of the past", in film noir fashion) in order to get back from him money he supposedly absconded with during his previous life as a devious and cowardly petty criminal. Or is it just a case of blackmailing a perfectly innocent man?

What makes this storyline fascinating at first, of course, is the chance to delve in a rather profound and affecting manner into the mysteries of identity, the kind of subject that Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello had tackled spectacularly in his 1930 play "As You Desire Me", turned into a MGM blockbuster starring Greta Garbo in 1932. In that respect, the scene where the hero confronts his supposed mother (Margaret Wycherly) is especially affecting: the very fact that the woman does everything she can to deny her motherhood is all the encouragement the hero needs to imagine she really is whom she claims she isn't.

The film's photography, music and editing are all sufficiently slick and atmospheric for the possibility of this version of events to stick with the viewer for a while. This makes it only more regrettable that the seemingly grafted-on happy ending and Agatha Christie-type final revelation make all this soul-searching seem ridiculous in retrospect. It might as well have been a bad dream. And the message might as well be: Don't be taken in by those fancy European dramas, fellas; life is much more simple than you think in the real (American) world.

Still, the film stands out as a perfect example of what cultured, educated and potentially creative script writers can come up with when they have to model their storyline on the prevalent Hollywood trends.

The "French" setting is equally devious. The actors, set designers and art directors make minimal efforts to create the illusion that the action is set in that strange, foreign Neverland called France, just enough for the viewer to assume that this is either a true story, a story of substance or at least based on a famous French novel or play, the better to disillusion everyone in the end.

What most people don't know, of course, is that this film really is the remake of a French 1938 film, "Carrefour", directed by Curtis Berhardt, based on a script by German émigré writer Hans Kafka, where the hero had lost his memory during WWI. The French film was later remade in England in 1940 as "Dead Man's Shoes". The original script, loosely based on a real event in Italy in the 20's (the Bruneri-Canella case that Kafka investigated and which also inspired Pirandello's "As You Desire Me") was of course one of the main inspirations for the novel "The Wife of Martin Guerre" by American writer Janet Lewis (1941), a story set in France in the Middle Ages, which became the French film "The Return of Martin Guerre" (Daniel Vigne, 1982), which was of course remade as a Hollywood film starring Richard Gere, "Sommersby" (Jon Amiel, 1993) and set after the US Civil War. The same Italian story also inspired Edward Wool's 1935 play "Libel!" (filmed in 1959), which has several similarities with the classic film "Random Harvest" (1942). All of those various versions, adaptations and rip-offs showed, in various degrees, considerably more respect for the theme of identity and memory inherent in this inspiring premise than "Crossroads" did.
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7/10
I thought I was watching a Thin Man movie
CCsito10 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The film involves a French government worker (William Powell) who all of a sudden is accused of having another identity several years ago involving a murder and stolen money. Hedy Lamarr plays the wife of the French government employee. This movie had me second guessing whether William Powell did have amnesia or if he was being "conned" into a past history for which he had no recollection (he has suffered a coma several years ago). Eventually, William Powell does figure it all out and I thought I was looking at the Nick Charles character piecing together all of the evidence at the end of the movie. The only thing missing was Myrna Loy and Asta. A somewhat different role for William Powell in this film. Instead of the "take charge" persona that you often see for him in other movies, he is the one who is totally unsure of himself in this film. A somewhat refreshing change of pace for him. Hedy doesn't have that much of an impact in this movie, but is still her usual glamorous self. Claire Trevor and Basil Rathbone portray the major villains. Felix Bressart (from the Shop Around the Corner) plays a psychologist friend of William Powell.
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The Cast Makes it Worth Viewing
Michael_Elliott15 August 2010
Crossroads (1942)

*** (out of 4)

Great performances highlight this thriller about a diplomat (William Powell) who is quickly rising in power and has recently been married (Hedy Lamarr). His life turns upside down when a defendant in a trial accuses him of being a criminal, which he might be but he wouldn't remember since he suffered amnesia for some early years of his life. Things take a turn for the worse when a man (Basil Rathbone) shows up claiming to be his former partner and he wants cash to keep quiet. There are a few minor problems with the screenplay including Rathbone's character being able to predict what would eventually become of Powell but outside of that this is a pretty good little thriller that contains some great performances, nice direction and some early touches of shadows that make this very much like a noir (but before the term came to be). I think the most impressive thing here are the performances as they're all extremely good but you can also tell that the actors are having fun playing off one another. Powell is his usual charming self as he perfectly handles the more dramatic parts but he of course adds all sorts of light humor. Lamarr doesn't get as much to do as the wife but she still gets a couple good scenes early on. Rathbone was one of the best when it came to playing villains and he adds another good character to his resume. His performance is right on the mark but the way he and Powell act off one another is the most entertaining thing and it's what keeps the film moving. We also have Claire Trevor playing Rathbone's assistant and she too gets some wonderful moments with Powell. The rest of the supporting cast includes H.B. Warner, Margaret Wycherly and Felix Bressart. The noir genre didn't really get started until a few years later but many of those touches can be found here. You have the wonderful use of darkness and shadows, the femme fetale and of course the good guy behind held captive by thugs. I really enjoyed the visuals here and the way director Conway used the shadows to build up some nice atmosphere and this here really helped push the film over the edge. Add the atmosphere with the performances and you've got a pretty good little gem that's well worth watching.
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5/10
Less Mysterious than Boring
rhoda-911 February 2019
A wealthy diplomat who, after a head injury thirteen years earlier, remembers nothing that happened before then, is told that he was a criminal who murdered a man in the course of a robbery. The criminals who tell him this want blackmail money he cannot afford, but a greater problem is coping with this knowledge.

The amnesiac who turns out to have a past greatly different from his present is an old standby--for instance, in Somewhere in the Night, with John Hodiak. This version must be the worst of the lot. The entire picture is just William Powell looking grim , worrying, and having conversations that are not interesting and do not advance the plot. Hedy Lamarr, as his wife, is affectionate and supportive and looks gorgeous in several evening gowns, and Basil Rathbone and Claire Trevor are wasted in nothing parts.

With little on screen to engage the viewer, one's mind is busy wondering: Didn't William Powell have any friends or family to identify him? How did he enter in the diplomatic service, and how did he become rich? (You don't become rich because you're a diplomat: you become a diplomat because you're rich.) What happened to the 2 million francs he had on him? Why aren't the criminal's fingerprints, photograph, or any record of his activities on file? What is Basil Rathbone's "proof," and is it genuine or isn't it?

Right to the silly and disappointing ending, the greatest mystery about this movie is how so little could come of so much talent.
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6/10
Pretty good mystery with (amnesiac) William Powell and Hedy Lamarr
jacobs-greenwood16 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Directed by Jack Conway, with a screenplay by Guy Trosper, this slightly above average mystery has its ironies: William Powell plays an amnesiac, two years and three films after playing one in the comedy I Love You Again (1940) (with Myrna Loy), who's married to Hedy Lamarr, as he was in his next film, the comedy Heavenly Body (1943), and only other pairing with her; all three films were made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Even though this one is not a comedy, it is a fairly compelling mystery, featuring two twists in the final 15 minutes. Excellent support is provided by Claire Trevor (whose character sings), Basil Rathbone, Margaret Wycherly, Felix Bressart, Sig Ruman, and H.B. Warner.

David Talbot (Powell) and his newlywed wife Lucienne (Lamarr) have just celebrated three months of marriage when he receives a mysterious letter. Though it's unsigned, it insists that Talbot pay his debt of one million francs in a most unusual & discrete way. Talbot, a diplomat that expects to become France's ambassador to Brazil soon, pretends to follow the instructions so that the authorities can arrest La Duc (Vladimir Sokoloff, uncredited). In court, La Duc claims that Talbot is really Jean Pelletier, a man who borrowed the requested sum 13 years prior. During the proceedings, Talbot's friend Dr. Tessier (Bressart) testifies that Talbot has suffered from amnesia, that Talbot was badly injured around the time of the date in question and doesn't remember anything prior to when Tessier found him, and helped him to recover. The prosecuting attorney (Warner) introduces Dr. Dubroc (Ruman), who successfully counters Tessier's testimony. He also introduces Michelle Allaine (Trevor), who solidifies the prosecution's case that Talbot and Pelletier are one in the same. However, Henri Sarrou (Rathbone) comes forward and exonerates Talbot, given legal documentation that proves Pelletier is dead.

Later, however, Sarrou arrives at the Talbot's and privately demands one million francs from the diplomat. He claims that Talbot really is Pelletier, that as such he participated in a theft of two million francs 13 years ago and even suffered a powder burn on his hand from killing the messenger during the robbery. Later, Michelle visits Talbot at his office and shows him a locket she wears around her neck which contains an intimate picture of the two of them. She also tells him that he should be ashamed of letting his mother live in poverty, giving him the address. Talbot visits the elderly Madame Pelletier (Wycherly) who convinces him, without overtly admitting it, that she is indeed his mother. Throughout all of this, Talbot keeps his wife in the dark and tries to cover his tracks. However, she begins to suspect there is something going on and visits Tessier for council & comfort. Tessier is intrigued enough to visit Sarrou himself. When Sarrou then visits Talbot at a diplomatic luncheon, the hopeful future ambassador is pressured into a deadline by his blackmailer.

The film keeps one guessing right up until this point, one doesn't really know what to believe and Powell does an excellent job playing the role such that one's not sure if he was in fact Pelletier. It is then revealed that Sarrou, Michelle, and Madame Pelletier, who is really La Duc's wife, are scamming the diplomat. After an elaborate embezzlement attempt at the embassy, in which the suspicious wife who'd followed her husband also finds herself, the police arrive to arrest everybody. Then Talbot plays the game, pretending to think that he must be Pelletier and therefore guilty of murder in order to get Michelle to crack and admit the ruse.

Apparently, Talbot had alerted the authorities beforehand about the robbery to setup the all too convenient confession. If not for this, and the loose end of the powder burn on Talbot's hand (e.g. how did Sarrou know it was there?), I would have given this film an even higher rating.
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8/10
Enjoyable did-he-didn't-he mystery
toonjamie20 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I'd not seen Hedy Lamarr before, I don't think. Wow. She'd definitely be a stunner whatever era she lived in.

(very slight spoiler here) Plus, an early example of opening scene with woman outrageously flirting with 'stranger' - who of course turns out to be her husband.
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6/10
Not as good as I hoped but still enjoyable
utgard1411 August 2014
French diplomat (William Powell), who suffered amnesia years before, finds himself the victim of an extortion plot. He's accused of being a former criminal who has changed his identity. As more information comes to light, it begins to appear the charges against him are true. William Powell is fine in this intriguing but flawed mystery. Hedy Lamarr plays the dutiful wife. Claire Trevor is the villainess. I wonder if the movie wouldn't have been better served by those actresses switching roles? Basil Rathbone is Trevor's partner in crime and he's enjoyable, as you might expect. It's got a lot going for it, not the least of which is the cast and that it is good-looking film overall. But there's just something missing about it. It's a little dull at times and it lacks kick. Still, with a cast like this, you shouldn't pass up giving it a shot.
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1/10
As Suspenseful and Romantic As A Ton Of Wet Diapers
Handlinghandel13 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
William Powell was a charming actor but he had some bombs between the Thin Man series and "Life With Father." This surely is one of them. Hedy Lamarr was gorgeous. And the supporting cast is excellent: Felix Bressart actually imbues a cardboard character with some life. So, in a smaller role, does Margaret Wycherly. Claire Trevor does well with what she's given. Basil Rathbone, though, is stuck with the worst role and he can't bring it to life.

It has a paint-by-numbers feel. It bears no relationship to any sort of reality. The characters are not well drawn and the plot is risible.

Can you imagine William Powell as a French diplomat? Can you imagine William Powell as a murderer? If so, you may like this. Possibly.
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7/10
Bad news / good news
vincentlynch-moonoi15 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The bad news (which isn't really that bad) is that if you're expecting the William Powell that we all love in movies like "The Thin Man", well, you're going to be disappointed. There's no witty comedy here...thank goodness. But what you do have is that rarest of rare things -- a movie about amnesia that actually works (the only other one that comes to mind is "Random Harvest". What's good about this is that it keeps you guessing. First, is he or isn't he. Second, if he isn't, how is he going to get out of his situation.

William Powell, who portrays a French diplomat, is excellent here. In parts of the film he seems a bit befuddled...but he's supposed to be since half his life is gone in his memory, and he questions whether he is the good man of his later life, or a bad man in his former life.

Hedy Lamarr, not one of my favorites, is quite good here as his wife. I must say that recently I've watched a few of her films and I may have to change my mind about her acting ability.

It isn't that Claire Trevor's acting as a blackmailer is spectacular, but it occurred to me what a broad resume she had in films. She does swell here.

Basil Rathbone is reasonably good as the chief blackmailer.

Character actress Margaret Wycherly has a fine turn as one of the blackmailers, particular in that she SORT OF plays 2 roles here...and is convincing in both.

Felix Bressart (here as a doctor) is always a welcome treat as character actors go, but this role is a bit different for him, and he plays it very well.

There are 2 problems here. The first is not that great a problem -- a slightly slow beginning for the first quarter of the film. The bigger problem is how quickly the film wraps up and hands us a happy ending. It's not an implausible ending...just seems to come around all too conveniently.

Nevertheless, this film really held my interest. A very strong "7". Recommended.
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7/10
Marlene was first choice
bruno-3229 October 2008
According to a certain writer, MGM first offered the Claire Trevor role to MArlene Dietrich who turned it down by saying..."I share glamour with no one..."...but that did not cause any rift between Hedy and MArlene, they were very good friends, especially in the Hollywood Canteen USO, where they both entertained the armed forces during the ww2. In fact they even shared kitchen duty when a furious Bette Davis was suppose to have ordered.."Get those 2 krauts out and have them dance with the boys...". Bette, was 'captain' of the uso along with John Garfield. One time a brooklyn soldier won the prize of kissing Hedy as she puckered her lips and her eyes closed, and he surprisingly kissed her on the forehead, where the joint, including Hedy broke out in hysterics.
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7/10
Basil Rathbone Day on TCM
lastliberal1 August 2010
While TCM showed this Movie on Basil Rathbone Day, he was not the featured character. It was William Powell of Thin Man fame that was central to the film, and who made it very enjoyable.

Powell played a French diplomat, married to the absolutely lovely Hedy Lamarr.

Rathbone and Claire Trevor, with help from Oscar nominee Margaret Wycherly (you will remember her as Sgt. York's mother) hatch a plot to blackmail Powell for a crime committed prior to his present memory when he had amnesia 1 years ago.

As you would expect, there are some great plot twists in the last scene, and Powell and Lamarr can go off happily to his new post as Ambassador of Brazil. Lucky man, that Powell.
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7/10
Felix Bressart shines again
HotToastyRag23 January 2020
In Crossroads, William Powell has a beautiful new wife, Hedy Lamarr, and a successful teaching career at a university, but no memory of his life before the war. He woke up in an army hospital with amnesia, and Doctor Felix Bressart was left to put together the pieces. His perfect little world gets shattered when he gets blackmailed, threatened that his former identity will be exposed as a bank robber and murderer. The case goes to court, and Bill is left to prove he isn't who the bad guys think he is. But with no memory, it's a hard thing to prove.

This one has lots of twists and turns, so be prepared to sit on the edge of your seat. The courtroom trial is just the beginning of the movie, and so much more happens afterwards that will keep you guessing. Claire Trevor claims Bill was her husband before the war, and Basil Rathbone claims he has undisputed factual proof that can decide the case one way or another. Felix fights hard for his friend and patient, showing yet another new side of his versatility. He's a psychologist who rattles off phrases that would be difficult for a native English speaker, let alone a newcomer to America. As much as I was entertained by the plot twists, I have to admit my favorite part of the movie was the way Felix looked at Hedy. He'd already acted with her in 1940's Comrade X and played her father, but he practically blushes whenever she smiles at him in Crossroads. This is more than just fatherly affection, because in Kathleen, he didn't look at Shirley Temple with the same expression. It's pretty obvious he's smitten with Hedy's beauty as he takes every opportunity to hold her hand, pat her arm, and return her smiles. And why not? I say. They could have private conversations in German in between takes if they wanted to!

Unfortunately, it's not Felix's movie, even though he does have a substantial, meaty role. If you like William Powell and think it would be interesting to see him in a different role than Nick Charles, you'll definitely like this one. Next up, check him out in Take One False Step!
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