I liked CROSSROADS, though Hedy Lamarr didn’t really deserve costar billing with William Powell.
Claire Trevor, Basil Rathbone and Felix Bressart had more to do in this slick MGM story about amnesia and blackmail.
Set in Paris in 1935. William Powell plays a French diplomat married to the glamorous Hedy. Powell’s character is an amnesiac after a train wreck 13 years earlier. He remembers nothing of his former life.
Claire Trevor and Basil Rathbone claim they knew him before he lost his memory and threaten blackmail, saying he was involved in robbery and murder.
Not knowing the truth , he offers Claire 50,000 francs, to which she replies, “You’re talking about cabbage – I want Caviar.”
She even says his mother is still alive and gives him her address.
Margaret Wycherly is so good pretending to be the little old lady who mourns her son.
It’s all an elaborate con and Powell eventually catches on.
There’s a lovely scene where the three conspirators get together – Trevor, Rathbone and Wycherly, arguing among themselves while figuring out the final part of their plan.
I’d have settled for a film starting these three!
Claire Trevor’s character is a night club singer and she delivers a Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz song, ‘Till You Return’, dubbed by Connie Russell.
Poor Hedy is mere decoration, as the devoted wife.
Felix Bressart plays Powell’s doctor and has a good scene in court with Sig Ruman, as they argue over the meaning of memory loss.
William Powell is never disappointing and, after a string of comedies, it was good to see him in a dramatic role.
The setting in Paris was typical Hollywood and couldn’t have been less convincing. Why they didn’t just relocate the plot to New York or Los Angeles, I don’t know.
The plot was used three times within a 4 year period. In 1938, the French film CARREFOUR was directed by Curtis Bernhardt ( Carrefour meaning crossroads).
Then, in 1940, there was a British version called DEAD MAN’s SHOES, starring Leslie Banks.
“Carrefour ” is on You Tube, but, alas, no subtitles.
It would be interesting to compare the three films.
Two publicity photos for the film: