Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Forgotten (or Overlooked) Film Tuesday: DARK PASSAGE(1947) starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

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?


  1. The first time I watched this film I was sick to my stomach until the camera view changed. Partly it was the shaky camera, but most of it was thinking about the surgery. I'm a weakling.

    I really do enjoy this film, though, especially with the two of them. So good. A couple of years ago, I re-watched it when I had what I term my "noir fall" - I made a list of the top 50 noir films and just watched film after film. It was fantastic.

  2. I saw this one a few years ago and enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, I think it's the only Bogart/Bacall pairing I've seen.

  3. I liked this movie so much. Then again, I like Bogart and Bacall together.

    Lauren Bacall was 20 when she was in To Have and Have Not; Humphrey Bogart was 45. They fell in love and got married at those ages.

    It does happen. It seemed to have worked out for both of them, but the smoking not so much. Didn't Bogie die of lung cancer?


  4. An old favorite of mine. Young Bacall never hurts.

  5. Great choice Yvette! This is a wonderfully eccentric mystery, from its glorious cast of characters actors to it wonderfully directorial flourishes (love the shot of the dead man filmed literally from beneath the body through a glass floor) - a real favourite (plus lots of it turn up in DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID, surely a postmodern badge of honour).

  6. Bacall was such a sexy Gal.
    She had "IT".
    I loved that movie and also Key Largo.

  7. Picky, where's that list? I'd love to see it. Was it published on your blog? If so, I missed it.

    Time for another 'Noir Fall' - :)

  8. It's one of the best. For me, the best. I'm not as fond of the others as many people are. Something I rarely mention to anyone for fear of strange looks. Ha!

  9. Yeah, but Bogart was married at the time. Classic story of younger woman trumping older wife. But who knows? Maybe it was true love.

    I heard years later that Bacall had an affair with Frank Sinatra while Bogie was sick. I hope this isn't true.

    Yeah, lung cancer, I believe, did him in.

  10. Sergio, I had forgotten about DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID - you're right.

    I like your term: eccentric mystery. Yes, exactly.

    Maybe I'll make a list of 'eccentric mysteries' unless you beat me to the punch. :)

  11. Hi Yvonne, I thought I might hear from you on this one. :)

    I know how you like Bogie and Bacall.

  12. I was just talking about Bogart with a friend of mine today. I've seen Casablanca, and truth be told, it's not one of my favorite movies. The only other movie I've seen with him in it was, The Two Mrs. Carols with Barbara Stanwyck. Once again, not one I loved. He just seemed to overact the entire movie. Maybe it's not his normal thing, but from what I've seen that is my main issue with him. I loved Stanwyck in it though, so it wasn't a total loss.

    I adore Moorehead so may watch the movie just to see her.

  13. Love this movie. One thrill for me was seeing the apartment house where Lauren Bacall lived in this movie...located in San Francisco. Someone had a picture of Bogart in one of the windows.

  14. Ryan I'm going to whisper something for your ears only: I'm not that big of fan of Bogart either. Though I like him more than you do and I have seen several films of his, a couple that I do like. I'm not that big a fan of CASABLANCA either. Sacrilege!

  15. Mine too, Pat. I think this and ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT are my two favorite Bogart films. Oh, and SABRINA.

    But I'm not the world's biggest Humphrey Bogart fan, it's true.

  16. Dear Anonymous (SO mysterious) I'm glad you got to see the building shown in the film. It's always a treat to see an actual movie location especially when you have good memories of the movie. :)

  17. I like a lot of Bogart's movies: Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, Key Largo, Dark Passage, The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, and I like All Through the Night and They Drive by Night.

    I'm going to put All Through the Night on my list to see again. I remember that one with the gangsters discovering "Fifth Columnists" in Yorkville. That is a good one!

    I did not like Bogart in Sabrina, thought he was miscast. When Audrey Hepburn races to him at the end, I thought he was a cold fish, with few emotions. I read that they did not get along during the filming of the movie. It shows.

    I liked an anecdote about him, that when Lena Horne moved to Hollywood, people in the neighborhood were objecting based on their bigotry. Humphrey Bogart stood up for her strongly and made a difference in a principled way.

    By the way, he died of cancer of the esophagus, from being a smoker.

  18. I had to take a minute to make sure I had in fact seen this film. Alas my memory served me well and I recall having seen this on at least two occasions.

    A 'fun' noir.

  19. I once read that Bogart fell in love with the character Bacall played in their first movie together and she basically had to go on playing that character for the duration of their marriage. Don't know if the affair with Sinatra occurred while Bogart was still alive (like you, I hope not) , but they definitely had a relationship after Bacall was widowed. In fact, they got engaged and Bacall even signed an autograph as "Betty Sinatra" (Betty is her real name). Then she said Sinstra just dropped her cold--and the lucky person who got the Betty Sinatra autograph has a one-of-a-kind piece of Hollywood memorabilia.

  20. I think that's a common cancer among heavy smokers, Kathy. It's really too bad.

    Good story about Bogart standing up for Lena Horne. She was a neighbor of Rex Stout at one point and their families became close. She wrote the forward for one of the paperback re-releases. Now there was a woman with IT.

    In truth, I actually like Bogart more than I think I do. Ha. I'm just not madly crazy about him.

    I read somewhere that Hepburn and William Holden were having an affair during the making of the movie. Don't know if it was just gossip or truth but maybe that had something to do with any discord on the set? (I'm probably wrong. All these notions flit about in my head and I wind up getting stories half-assed backwards.)

    I still like the movie. Bogart's character was supposed to be a cold fish.

  21. Wow, interesting story, Deb. My feeling is, she should have known better. Sinatra was not what you'd call steadfast. I wonder what on earth she ever saw in him. Ugh.

    I like that story about Bogart falling for the character Bacall played in the movie. I'll bet that happens a lot with actors. Falling for each other's characters, I mean. How could it not?

  22. Well, according to that veritable fountain of information, Wikipedia (Not!), Bogart didn't get along with Billy Wilder, Sabrina's director, nor with his co-stars. Wilder liked William Holden and Audrey Hepburn more.

    Also, according to this source, Bogart got sick of the script and thought it inane.

    To me that shows.


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