» » The Hunted (1948)

Short summary

A police detective investigating a jewel robbery discovers evidence that points to his girlfriend as the culprit, although she claims she was framed. He arrests her anyway, and she is convicted and serves several years in prison. Finally out on parole, she is soon mixed up in a murder. The detective is torn between his love for his girlfriend and his belief that she may have committed the murder.

Final film of Cathy Carter.

There really was a Polar Palace Ice Rink in Los Angeles but it burned down in 1963.

George Chandler plays a bartender.

On Laura's record form it lists her address as "Tehachapi". That would mean the California Institution for Women, the state's first women's state prison at Tehachapi, which opened in 1932.

In the July 12, 1945 edition of the Los Angeles Examiner, an article notes that King Bros. Productions purchased Steve Fisher's original screenplay and intended Joel McCrea to play the lead. Then an article in the April 2, 1947 edition of Variety noted that Allied Artists had purchased the property for $75,000 ($881,000 in 2018).

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Slowly writer
    Imported from her native England as a second-string Sonja Henie, ice-skating novelty star Belita soon found that there was little call in Hollywood for her to lace up her blades. After a couple of ice musicals, she landed in three Poverty-Row noirs. In the first of them, Suspense, her skating skills were worked, however awkwardly, into the plot. But in the second, The Hunted, her prowess on the ice was a mere afterthought – she briefly shows off her twirls and figure-8s because what audience she could still command expected them of her.

    Too bad, because on the solid ground of The Hunted, Belita's not bad (with a tough, long forties face) and no longer needed the gimmickry. She's just finished a four-year stretch in Tehachapi for her part in a jewel robbery (she may have been framed). When her bus pulls into town one night, waiting for her, unseen, is Preston Foster, the cop who once loved her but sent her up anyway. He's convinced that Belita will come gunning for either him or the prosecuting attorney (Pierre Watkin). But when she has no place to go, he lets her bunk at his apartment, and lands her a gig skating during intermissions at hockey games. He slowly relents, thinking she's on the straight-and-narrow. Then Watkin is found murdered, and all the evidence points her way. When Foster turns against her once more, she lams it to Arizona to sling hash in a diner....

    Jack Bernhard, who two years earlier had the good fortune to have Jean Gillie and the script for Decoy fall into his lap, directs this much less flamboyant script. He's good on atmospherics (dark highways in hard rains, cheap apartment houses) and keeps the story moving along (near the end of the movie, an uncredited Charles McGraw turns up as a hard-nosed cop). Bernhard made one or two more low-budget entries of passable interest (Blonde Ice among them), but Decoy's lightning was never, alas, to strike him again.
  • comment
    • Author: Uris
    One of those very good, but forgotten film-noirs, it's a relatively strong story, of a girl who spent 4 years in prison for a crime she may or may not have done, and a cop who loved her and turned her in. It has good, tight execution and it's a film for film-lovers. The female lead is excellent in her portrayal, and it's too bad she only got used in several films, mostly for her skating and dancing abilities; and you should keep an eye out for the name of Jack Bernhard, the director, as he has other great noirs, such as The Decoy.
  • comment
    • Author: Black_Hawk_Down
    This is a film that manages to keep the viewer's interest through well- conceived plot twists and a well-played romantic relationship between the two lead characters. Preston Foster is believable as a tough cop with a hard-nosed exterior who has a complicated emotional entanglement with an enigmatic and dangerous woman. Foster does a great job in the role.

    A now rather obscure actress named Belita gives a studied and endearing performance as the ex-con blonde noir babe who maybe does or does not love the cop. She manages to convey a vulnerable yet dangerous persona that is not easy to maintain for an entire film length but she pulls off this feat with remarkable consistency and aplomb. The multi-talented Belita also gives us a fine and professionally done figure skating routine wherein her rather tall, lean and graceful style reminds me of the great Olympian Peggy Fleming. And its good to see noir icon Charles McGraw in a supporting role.

    I found "The Hunted" to be a rewarding blend of constant emotional tension between the characters and plot tension related to the twists and turns of its basic noir story line. View it if you get the chance.
  • comment
    • Author: Mikale
    Internet Rule 34 says if there's a subject on the Web, there's porn about it. Maybe we need something like that for Film Noir: if it exists in the movies, there's a Film Noir about it. I suppose that's why this one has Belita as a femme fatale who does ice dancing routines.

    Four years ago, cop Preston Foster arrested his girlfriend Belita for a jewelry robbery. Now she's out on parole, and he's gotten her a job at a hockey rink, teaching and performing. She says she was framed. He yearns for her and drinks. Eventually they reconcile, but then the defense attorney she claims threw her case is murdered.... and Belita's ring is found at the murder site.

    Foster was at the end of his starring days. He was in his late 40s, and had been mature-looking when he entered the movies in the early days of sound. Fortunately, his solid presence would keep him working in star character roles. Belita is all right, but awkward off the ice. Longtime B cinematographer Harry Neumann (more than 300 films from 1918 through 1959) offers a lot of night-time shots, particularly a carnival midway sequence, for shadowy film noir lighting.

    It's not a great movie -- Monogram didn't distribute those -- but it is a solid film noir for fans of the genre.
  • comment
    • Author: Morad
    I stumbled on to this movie this morning on tv this morning and afterward got on my computer to rate it and purchase me a copy. I even put my breakfast on hold until the movie was over. This is a love story involving a man dedicated to his law and order profession (Preston Foster) who does not compromise it even when he is in love, and a beautiful woman (Belita) of questionable ethics and integrity. Belita, though she had limited acting experience was flawless in her role. She and Preston Foster had such outstanding chemistry, you thought that they were in love in real life! The ending is a huge surprise, and I'm not sharing any of it! See the movie and then post your comments. You may even do like I did and purchase it.
  • comment
    • Author: Samuhn
    "The Hunted" starts off very well and showed tons of promise as a film noir picture. However, by the time it ends, I found myself incredibly the movie seemed afraid to really allow itself to be tough and cynical like most noir pictures. Plus, the happy ending just seemed stupid and like a wimp out!

    This movie stars Belita, a one-namer who was a skating star and appeared in just a few movies. Much of it might be because although she IS pretty, she's not traditionally pretty and her looks are a tad tough...which is a plus for noir. It seems that Laura Mead (Belita) just got out of prison, where she'd been for four years after being convicted of robbery. However, to complicate things, her old boyfriend, the Lieutenant (Preston Foster), is the man who arrested her! Now that she's out, he is interested in re-starting their relationship...though he's not sure if she can be trusted. See the movie to find out the answer.

    Belita was excellent--mostly because they gave her some amazingly snappy dialog. But the was as if they'd lost the ending and just EXPLAINED the ending...a terrible way to wrap up any film. Plus, the upbeat ending just didn't seem to fit...hence me score of only 6. I really wanted to like this movie more than I did.
  • comment
    • Author: Tygrarad
    In this detective story, a private eye must send his fiancee to prison as he truly believes that she was involved in a bank robbery. Unfortunately, she is innocent. Still she serves her time. Upon her release someone frames her for murder. The detective is in quite a quandary until the real criminal is found. The woman finally returns to her beloved private eye. More romantic melodrama than 'noir' 'The Hunted' still shines as 'Belita ' the "Ice Queen" who was in the 1936 Olympic games as a figure skater for England ; serves up a great cat and mouse performance as Laura Mead . B-film crime story ably directed by Jack Bernhard. The Hunted is lit on 'noir' but is still a great Crime, Drama and Film-Noir in the end . Highly entertaining .
  • comment
    • Author: Dikus
    A B movie noir from 1948. The only reason I bring up B movie is that this particular outing had a cheaper budget than most in this tale of a recently released woman from prison & the cop who arrested her re-entering her life to see if she really is walking the straight & narrow. Starring Belita (a once popular ice skater, I kid you not) who parlayed a film career specializing in noir roles, plays the ex-con & since she wasn't trained as an actor, most of her line deliveries sound strange & ill prepared but it actually works in the narrow confines of this story. Shot handily on minimal locations, this slight nugget of noir may not redefine the genre but it does what it sets out to do.
  • comment
    • Author: Nikok
    ...because cop Johnny Saxon (Preston Foster) is literally haunted by his old relationship with recently released ex con Laura Mead (Belita). Four years ago she was his girl, but then the jewels from a robbery showed up in her apartment, and her brother was involved, but before he could say anything about Laura's involvement he was murdered. Laura went up the river for four years, vowing to kill her attorney and Johnny when she got out. This either means she was very guilty or very innocent.

    So one minute Johnny is acting cold towards Laura because he thinks she played him for a fool by acting the good girl when she was actually a thief, and the next minute he is getting her a job at an ice rink(???). Yes I said ice rink, and there is even about a 5-10 minute number with Laura (Belita) figure skating in all of this in the middle that has nothing to do with the plot. But I'll get to this later.

    So after Johnny spends a significant amount of time wandering around tormented about Laura, trying to get back to where he was emotionally in a way that reminds me of James Stewart in Vertigo, wandering the streets of San Francisco looking for a lost love he knows is gone, suddenly Johnny is OK with Laura. He believes her. Surprisingly Laura accepts Johnny's acceptance and seems to return this double minded man's love.

    But then over one hour into this 84 minute film Laura's lawyer is found shot to death in his apartment with one of Laura's personal belongings lying close to the body. So has Johnny been made a fool of by this woman AGAIN, or is she really that unlucky? Watch and find out.

    This is not one of those non stop action noirs. It is mainly just Johnny and Laura and their verbal dance of regret and attraction combined with some great cinematography and some classic noir scenes - the 40's diner, the bus stops, the long haul truckers, the line ups and inquisitions under hot lights. And there are a couple of LOL moments that are probably because this came from poverty row. Why is it every time there is a break in one of Johnny's cases the entire police force comes to a stop while he recovers from a punch or a wound or whatever? Can they not go after the suspect themselves? Then there is the case of X-Ray eyes Johnny has where he enters a room and goes straight to the place where a gun is hidden! Make this guy officer of the year!

    Earlier I said I would explain the ice skating. Belita was a championship figure skater before her short acting career. I think her uncertain and untrained acting style worked for her in the films in which I've seen her, because you really don't know where she is coming from, and that adds to the suspense. I recommend it, especially if you've seen or heard Eddie Muller's comments on the film.
  • comment
    • Author: Ricep
    Belita (Laura) is back in town after spending 4 years in prison. She's vowed to kill her ex-boyfriend Preston Foster (Johnny) because he arrested her and her lawyer Pierre Watkin (Simon). She protests her innocence for her original crime and then one of the two men in question is killed. Well, we have a suspect number one......and she goes on the run.

    The cast are ok but the story, whilst it sounds interesting, develops at a slow pace. The beginning scenes go on far too long in setting the scene and we need more location changes to keep things interesting. The film gets a bit boring right at the point where it should be drawing you in. Belita gets to do some skating and she does well in the lead role. Preston Foster's character is a ghastly jobsworth who turned in the woman he loves just because he is a cop and that comes first. I was certainly hoping that Belita would get to carry out her threat against him. Maybe she does....
  • Cast overview:
    Preston Foster Preston Foster - Johnny Saxon
    Belita Belita - Laura Mead
    Pierre Watkin Pierre Watkin - Simon Rand - Attorney
    Edna Holland Edna Holland - Miss Turner
    Russell Hicks Russell Hicks - Dan Meredith - Chief of Detectives
    Frank Ferguson Frank Ferguson - Paul Harrison
    Joseph Crehan Joseph Crehan - Police Captain
    Larry J. Blake Larry J. Blake - Hollis Smith (as Larry Blake)
    Cathy Carter Cathy Carter - Sally Winters
    Robert Earle Robert Earle - Spieler
    Charles McGraw Charles McGraw - Detective
    Tristram Coffin Tristram Coffin - Detective
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