Retrospektive 2018

Plunder Road

Hubert Cornfield
USA 1957
72 min

Raised in Paris where he befriended Godard and Chabrol, Hubert Cornfield brought a stylized European flair to his low-budget films of the 1950s. With his taut heist thriller PLUNDER ROAD one can also detect a clear influence on the late sangfroid crime films of Jean-Pierre Melville, beginning with an incredible extended opening sequence, a deftly choreographed freight train robbery by silent masked bandits impervious to the torrential rain that lashes about them. Wasting no precious time, Cornfield’s band of world-weary robbers divides the loot into three Los Angeles bound getaway trucks, setting into motion a tense race against luck, each moment on the road fraught with danger. Rarely have routine traffic encounters been so loaded with the tension conveyed by the veteran actors assembled by Cornfield, featuring Thirties musical star Gene Raymond as the team’s suave mastermind and the ever-anxious Elisha Cook Jr. as their guilty conscious. Making brilliant use of the black-and-white widescreen, master DP Ernst Haller crisply delineates the action with noir abstraction while using bold Pop imagery of roadside Americana to ironically punctuate the perilous criminal journey. (Haden Guest)


  • Nora Hayden - Dr. Iris Ryan
  • Gene Raymond
  • Jeanne Cooper
  • Wayne Morris
  • Steven Ritch
  • Elisha Cook Jr.
  • Stafford Repp
  • Steven Ritch
  • Jack Charney
  • Ernest Haller
  • Irving Gertz
20th Century Fox
35 mm
Related Movies