Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dark Passage (1947)

The cast is great. The story is good in Dark Passage.

Be warned, viewers. You won't get a look at Humphrey Bogart until about this film noir from American director Delmer Daves (3:10 to Yuma) is about a third over.

There's a good reason why Bogart's face time is reduced.

He's Vincent Parry, a San Francisco man sent to San Quentin for the murder of his wife. Parry escapes and sets out to find out the real killer. With a mug that's reproduced in the newspapers, Parry gets a new face - literally - from disgraced doc Dr. Walter Coley (Houseley Stevenson, in one of many very strong support roles).

Parry finds a second key ally too. Irene Jansen (Lauren Bacall) followed Parry's trial and also believed he was innocent of his wife's death. She gives him shelter in her apartment. They fall in love.

A string of dead bodies follows Parry. Some of these fatalities strain belief, specifically two involving Parry.

There's good tension through much of Dark Passage, but this film definitely falls short of being great.

Agnes Moorehead is especially great here. Douglas Kennedy gets a nice cameo as a police detective who quickly gets on Bogie's nerves.

Dark Passage also boasts some wonderful dialogue.

Bob (Bruce Bennett) to Madge: "I'm annoyed whenever I see you."

Bob to Irene regarding Madge: "Just pick up the sofa and throw it at her."

Vincent to small-time hood Baker (Clifton Young): "It's wonderful when guys like you lose out. It makes guys like me think we got a chance in this world."

Watch for the version of Dark Passage that includes a 10-minute short on its production. It's well worth the view.

RATING: 8/10

FILM FACTS: Too bad for Clifton Young. He died smoking in bed in 1951 at age 33. Young was Bonedust in several Little Rascals shorts. His last credit? Zombies of the Stratosphere in 1952.

Agnes Moorehad later appeared as Endena in television's Bewitched. Moorehad also voiced The Goose in 1973's Charlotte's Web.

Bruce Bennett teamed up with Bogart in 1948's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Lauren Bacall did voice work for Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King in 2008.

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