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GREEN GLOVE, THE(AKA: THE WHITE ROAD) (AKA: THE GAUNTLET) (director: Rudolph Maté; screenwriter: story by Charles Bennett/Charles Bennett; cinematographer: Claude Renoir; editor: Lola Barache; music: Joseph Kosma; cast: Glenn Ford (Mike Blake), Geraldine Brooks (Chris Kenneth),Cedric Hardwicke (Father Goron), George Macready (Count Paul Rona), Roger Treville (Inspector Faubert), Gaby Andre (Gaby Saunders), Jany Holt (The Countess), Georges Tabet (Jacques Piotet), Meg Lemonnier (Madame Piotet), Juliette Greco (Singer), Roger Legris (Conrad Vernot); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Georges Maurer; Alpha Video; 1952-USA/France)
“Standard thriller, that has a few twists but bogs down over too many hysterical melodramatic moments.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Rudolph Maté (“D.O.A.”/”Union Station”/”Miracle in the Rain”) directs this standard thriller, that has a few twists but bogs down over too many hysterical melodramatic moments and the unbelievability of the characters and story line. It’s weakly scripted by Charles Bennett and is based on his novel.

DuringWorld War II, in 1944, at the time of the Allied invasion to liberate the south of France, American paratrooper Lt. Mike Blake (Glenn Ford) bails out over enemy lines in Monte Carlo and lands in an abandoned building. There he discovers on-the-run Polish Nazi sympathizer Count Paul Rona (George Macready), an international art dealer, and arrests him as a collaborator despite Rona’s bargain offer if he lets him go free he will be given info on a German counter-attack at dawn and that he will also be given an invaluable medieval religious artifact – a bejeweled green glove called the Gauntlet, an item he stole from an isolated church in the village of St. Elizar, that he possesses in his leather briefcase. Then a bomb falls in the area knocking Blake out while Rona escapes, but without the Green Glove. An honest French couple, who live there, revive Blake and he accepts their kind offer to hold the briefcase for safekeeping until after the war.

After the war a broke Blake returns to France to recover the Green Glove and sell it to an art dealer, despite knowing it belongs to the church. While at the Eiffel Tower, Blake notes he’s being followed and gets American tour guide Chris Kenneth (Geraldine Brooks) to delay the pursuer while he escapes. Later while wining and dining the bubbly Chris, Blake’s informed by Inspector Faubert (Roger Treville), of the Paris police, that a man (Roger Legris) has been found dead in his hotel room holding a sketch of him. The corpse is ID’d by the couple as the man following Blake. So the cops ask the American to remain in Paris for further questioning, believing there’s a link to the dead man and Blake. But the determined Blake decides to flee to Monte Carlo.

We’re asked to believethatChris leaves her job and follows Blake to Monte Carlo, even though she has no idea why he’s going there and that he’s a stranger she just met who could possibly be up to no good.The cops follow the couple on the train, but are not aware that Rona also has his men on Blake’s tail. When the detective following Blake is killed by one of Rona’s henchman, the cops believe that he was killed by Blake and intensify their investigation of him. As Blake has a change of heart and decides to the right thing and return the Green Glove to the church at St. Elizar, which sits atop a mountain, he finds himself in great danger from Rona’s goon squad and depends on Chris to get word to Flaubert in Monte Carlo what he’s up to. The film revives from a long dead spell to come to life with a stirring climax, that has Blake successfully scale the steep church wall though followed by a pistol-wielding Rona. Blake is determined to return the Gauntlet to its rightful place so the bells could once again ring in the church.

There’s a good story here, but too bad it wasn’t told convincingly and the featured sudden romance came about so quickly that it was not possible for me to believe it; nor was I able to find the suspense story even close to the way a top-notch director like Hitchcock would have built up the suspense and made things more exciting (If not convinced then perhaps check out “The 39 Steps,” directed by Hitchcock and also written by Bennett!). The former cinematographer Maté can’t keep things real and all the plot points seem nothing short of schematic. But Glenn Ford is in it, and he’s so good in these type of adventure roles that he at least keeps the flawed pic entertaining.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”