It's Forgotten (or Overlooked) Film Tuesday once again, a weekly meme hosted by Todd Mason at his blog, Sweet Freedom. Don't forget to check in and check out the links.
DARK PASSAGE (1947), directed by Delmer Daves and based on a novel by David Goodis, is a Humphrey Bogart film seldom shown anywhere. It's my favorite pairing of Bogart and Bacall. (Their third film together) There was less posing by Bacall and the love story worked for me. I'm not a 'put your lips together and blow' fan. (I know I'm in the minority but it made me uneasy that Bacall was so damn young in those movies.)
The improbable plot:
Vincent Parry (Humphrey Bogart) is an innocent man convicted of murdering his wife. He escapes from prison and gains the sympathy of artist Irene Jansen (Lauren Bacall).
Where would thrillers be without a beautiful woman to pick up the pieces and help the hero hide out?
She conveniently knows one of the persons involved in Bogart's conviction, the viperish Madge (Agnes Moorehead), a woman once spurned by Parry. It's hard to imagine the two of them together (Bogart and Moorehead) under any circumstances, but hey, this is the movies and the script says he did spurn her.
The first third of the film is shot (as was THE LADY IN THE LAKE with Robert Montgomery, coincidentally in the same year) mostly (though not entirely) from Vincent Parry's point of view - through his eyes. His face is never seen.
Parry meets a friendly cab driver named Sam who recognizes him as the escaped convict, but decides to help. Conveniently, Sam knows of a plastic surgeon who won't ask too many questions.
Houseley Stevenson and Tom D'Andrea (Doctor and Cabby)
Once Parry gets the surgery, he arranges to recuperate at his friend George's apartment. Bogart spends part of the film wrapped in bandages - an atmospheric touch.
No matter what, a man's gotta' have his smokes.
Unfortunately, when George is murdered, Parry is once again suspected of the dirty deed - his fingerprints are found on the murder weapon (a trumpet ?!).
The man cannot catch a break. But at least he has a beautiful, sultry woman to look after him.
Lots of smoking going on this film. In more ways than one.
Another couple of deaths follow before Vincent Parry (correctly) decides he is not going to be able to prove he didn't kill anyone. (You think?) I mean, the grim shadow of death follows this guy wherever he goes.
But not to worry.
I especially like the pragmatic yet romantic ending of the film in which Parry and Irene meet up in South America. Where else is a guy on the lam gonna' go?