(Check out my previous film noir essay here: Strangers on a Train)
The little-known 1946 noir, The Chase, is something of a deep-cut within the genre. At the time, it had a modest budget with some star power, but managed to barely break even at the box office. Since then, it has been forgotten within the canon of American films and of film noirs in particular as something of a minor film.
The film was directed by one Arthur Ripley who is a pretty minor director in the history of American film with very few features to his name. Ripley began his career in the 1910s as a screenwriter studying alongside Frank Capra. Into the twenties, he continued his screenwriting work and made a series of short films alongside W.C. Fields. After this experience cutting his teeth with some of the greats, he began making the occasional feature film before retiring in 1946 after The Chase to become a professor at U.C.L.A. where he would later go one to help found the Film Center there.
The story details the life of an ex-Navy man named Chuck Scott who has fallen on hard times. As he wanders about the streets of Miami one day, he finds a wallet on the street with $81 inside (the equivalent of nearly $1000 today). Scott uses a buck to buy himself some food in an adjacent restaurant before going to the address listed in the wallet to return it to its rightful owner. When he arrives at the address, he finds a stately mansion owned by one Eddie Roman, a crime lord with a group of thugs and goons always hanging around to do his bidding, like the cunning Gino (played by Peter Lorre).
Roman offers Scott a job as his chauffeur on account of Scott’s forthrightness, honesty, and respectability. Roman also respects the fact that Scott served his country during the war and wants to do his part by helping the man out of a financial bind. On the following morning, Roman awakens Scott, who is installed in his home by now, and requests a drive into the countryside. During this event, the boss demonstrates and interesting feature within his car: a backseat pedal system he can engage at will to break or speed up the car to his liking. The loss of control is unnerving to Scott who finds the car climbing to upwards of 130 mph (20 mph higher than the speedometer’s highest labeled speed). They just narrowly avoid slamming into a train as it crosses the tracks ahead, as the boss stops the car in the nick of time.
Eddie Roman, although an affable enough guy to friends, has a much darker side. The viewer is shown rather than told (always the best approach) about Eddie’s temperament throughout the film’s establishing scenes. Eddie beats his barber and her friend for no particular reason beyond bringing joy to himself in the process. Later, he will invite a competitor in his racket to his home. The discussion seems cheery enough, but eventually Eddie lures the man into his wine cellar only to lock him inside with Eddie’s fierce attack dog who kills the unwitting racketeer. Eddie’s wife Lorna is also subject to his abuse. However, this abuse takes the form of neglect and and overbearing relationship toward her in which she is not allowed to leave the house, to go out with him to social events, and remains a relative slave to his will with no recourse of escape.
As Chuck takes on his full duties at the house, Lorna increasingly calls upon him to drive her to her favorite spot by the sea. After some weeks of driving together, they begin to develop a romantic attachment and Lorna asks Chuck to bring her to Havana aboard a steamer. She offers him money for his accompaniment, which he will eventually refuse to take. Chuck has little problem finding a ticket aboard a ship and the two leave in the dead of night for their trip, but Chuck accidentally leaves behind a brochure about Havana in the trash bin in his room at Eddie’s manor. The chase is on and eventually, both Lorna and Chuck will end up dead in Havana, assassinated by Eddie’s goons, people on his payroll, and others willing to be bribed.
And here is where the revolutionary act of the film really begins in earnest. Chuck wakes up in Miami. It is still the day Lorna and him are set to leave for Havana. the trip never took place, no one is dead as of yet, and everything seems set to go much smoother one would think. Unfortunately, Chuck suffers from shell shock and has somehow manifested his illness through forgetting about Lorna, about his job as a chauffeur, and about the trip. But a series of events will unravel, which will lead him back towards rediscovery of his memories and his obligations. The real chase begins here, the more dense paranoia and drama, which gains its strength by moving through the dream in a dialectical relation that could lead to either negation or sublimation, and the journey to find out which one will be the result is pretty riveting.
[Check out my next film noir essay here: Notorious]
The episode opens with a party that Mimi seems to have attended in the states. Back in the computer lab at the Digidestined’s school in Japan, Izzy is musing over how Kari was able to enter the Digital World without going through a computer terminal portal in the last episode. Yolei notices a new Digi-Egg on her D-3 scanner and the five Digidestined children head off into the Digital World to check it out. Just after they have left, Izzy, who has remained behind, registers a new Digi-portal on his computer. One that has apparently opened in America.
The Digidestined kids are in the Digital World looking for something to eat when they come across a Diner owned and operated by the same Digitamamon who enslaved Joe and Matt as indentured servants in Digimon Adventure 01. The Peter Lorre impersonating egg tells them, after they have eaten, that their total comes to $87 Digi-dollars. Yolei has plenty of Japanese yen, but Digitamamon won’t take their human currency and insists that they work off their bill. Luckily, Mimi and her American friend Michael show up in the nick of time and offer to the pay the bill themselves.
As the gang go back to sit down in the diner while Michael and Mimi order more food, they notice that Michael has a Digimon partner, Betamon! It turns out that a Gorillamon attacked New York City at around the same time that other Digidestined were being terrorized by a Parrotmon in Highton View Terrace. Michael, as well as other children presumably, saw the event and were later gifted with Digivices and Digimon partners of their own as they were called to defend their own areas of the Digital World. Michael’s Digivice is an old model, which means that he is probably no longer a Digidestined, just as the older kids like Matt and Tai have passed on their titles as Digidestined.
The revelation about Michael’s encounter with Gorillamon elicits memory responses from the three new Digidestined Davis, Cody, and Yolei. It seems that Cody was in the plane that was saved from Digital distortions by Garudamon in Digimon Adventure 01. Davis was in the Convention Center being held by Myotismon during his search for the Eighth Digidestined Kari. Yolei saw the battle between Omnimon and Diaboromon online in Our War Game!. These events had an effect on them similar to the events of Highton View Terrace and New York on the other older Digidestined. There were, however, many other children who were held in the convention center and there may have been a few onboard the airplane that Cody was on. Yolei was only one amongst thousands or millions who saw the battle online against Diaboromon. So why were these three chosen and not some other kids? Does this mean that there may be many, many more Digidestined children throughout the world?
When they get ready to pay for their meal, Digitamamon apologizes for his behavior and reveals that he was just cranky and didn’t mean to berate them for being unable to pay initially, but before the payment can be undergone, Gorillamon appears and threatens to destroy the Digidestined with his Energy Cannon attack fueled by a Dark Spiral! Digitamamon blocks the attack and is thrown far off into the mountain behind. Betamon Digivolves into Seadramon and tries to defeat Gorillamon by dragging him underwater, while Togemon assists and destroys the Dark Spiral while Gorillamon is grappled, thereby freeing Gorillamon.
Kari and T.K. run off to search for Digitamamon who soon returns of his own volition, but exhibits evil behavior. Mimi tries to talk sense into him and Digitamamon attacks her in response. Then, the item whose capture was the sole original purpose for their trip into the Digital World finally appears before Yolei: it is the Digi-Egg of Sincerity: the Crest once held by Mimi. Yolei takes the egg and Digivolves Hawkmon into Shurimon with its use, which gives the gang the muscle necessary to pry open Digitamamon’s shell and destroy the Dark Ring that was placed inside when he was up on the mountain.
The episode ends with Digitamamon once again becoming kind and expressing his friendship with the Digidestined. He decides that their meals are on the house too! Yolei has been crushing on Michael pretty hard, and before he and Mimi leave, Michael asks Yolei out on a date. The saved Digimon total for the series has risen to 109. But the Digidestined have been unable to destroy another Control Spire in this venture and are running behind in their quest to free the Digital World from the Digimon Emperor’s control.
Till next time,
The Digidestined Cody
So what happened to Matt and Gabumon last episode? Why didn’t they return to T.K. and Tokomon at the desert amusement park within the few hours they promised? What could possibly explain Matt abandoning his brother for a full week?
Matt and Gabumon are looking over the surrounding area from the swan boat they commandeered at the amusement park. They see Monzaemon, Frigimon, and Kokatorimon walking toward along and decide to follow. The Digimon go into a building that turns out to be a restaurant run by Vegiemon. Joe and Gomamon are inexplicably working as cooks and busboys in the restaurant. It turns out that the two found the place and ordered a lot of food but were unable to pay for it (they only had real-world money). Vegiemon and his evil friend Digitamamon (who we know is evil because of his Peter Lorre voice. That and he’s an egg with creepy eyes peering out of the darkness of a huge crack across his front) forced them to work for the food, but Joe is a clutz and keeps breaking plates and ruining food by cooking badly, so his bill keeps rising and one day of work turned into six weeks.
Matt and Gabumon offer to help Joe work off his debts once they go get T.K. and bring him back with them. However, their trip is cut short as Digitamamon threatens to bring harm to Joe and Gomamon while they are gone. Long story short, Matt and Gabumon stay and try to help work off the bill and free Joe and Gomamon from indentured servitude, Joe continues to make mistakes that keep them there for much longer than necessary, DemiDevimon convinces Matt that Joe is making mistakes on purpose so that Matt won’t leave him behind, and then Tai and T.K. show up and reveal DemiDevimon for the evil Digimon he is.
The brothers are reunited and four of the seven Digidestined are once again together with Sora not far behind. She and Biyomon have been following the other Digidestined and helping them circumvent the trickery of DemiDevimon (as in last episode when they warned Agumon of the mushrooms of forgetfulness, and earlier in this episode when they prevented DemiDevimon from causing more trouble for Joe).
Before the Digidestined can leave Vegiemon’s restaurant, however, they must get through the Ultimate-level Digimon Digitamamon. His Nightmare Syndrome attack creates a void that sucks in good Digimon and weakens them. Vegimon captures T.K. with his vines and threatens to harm him if the Digimon continue fighting back and trying to to escape the restaurant. Joe shows a bit of bravery and frees T.K., all the while getting himself caught in Vegiemon’s vicegrip. Ikkakumon and Garurumon free him momentarily, but seem beaten moments later by Digitamamon. All of a sudden, Matt’s Crest of Friendship begins to glow and he realizes that he can no longer be the loner he has always tried to be. He understands finally that his role is as one of the Digidestined team: “together we’re strong and we can beat anything.” In one of the most nostalgic scenes of the series, the “Hey Digimon” theme queues up and Garurumon Digivolves into the anthropomorphic WereGarurumon and defeats Digitamamon, Vegiemon flees, and the gang celebrates their victory over the forces of evil who would deter them from fulfilling their destinies and saving the Digital World and their own real world back home.
At the end of the battle, WereGarurumon de-digivolves to his in-training form Tsunemon, which corroborates my observation earlier that Ultimate levels consume so much energy they must revert back to a pre-Rookie level after battling. We see DemiDevimon being punished again for failing to hold back the Digidestined from regrouping. This time his master, Myotismon is named, but we still don’t get a clear image of what he looks like. finally, the team is halfway assembled and again off on their adventures to save the Digital World. This time with the power of Ultimate level Digimon in tow, a little more resolve and acceptance of their roles as Digidestined, and closer bonds between one another and their Digimon partners.
Smell ya later,
The Digidestined Cody
[Up next MegaKabuterimon!]