Roy 'Mad Dog' Earle is broken out of prison by an old associate who wants him to help with an upcoming robbery. When the robbery goes wrong and a man is shot and killed Earle is forced to go on the run, and with the police and an angry press hot on his tail he eventually takes refuge among the peaks of the Sierra Nevadas, where a tense siege ensues. But will the Police make him regret the attachments he formed with two women during the brief planning of the robbery. Written by
Mark Thompson <email@example.com>
John Huston's script was returned to Warners by the censors with over 40 objectionable references. They were largely ignored by Jack L. Warner, who wanted to protect the "spirit" of the story. However, the Code was firm on the ending. Gangsters, no matter how sympathetic they might appear at times, had to pay for moral transgressions on the screen. In other words, death or life in prison was their only option. See more »
When Roy Earle stops at the gas station in the desert he asks the attendant for gas and water, the attendant immediately grabs the water-hose and removes the radiator cap with his bare hands, despite the fact that the engine and cap should have been hot. See more »
Times have sure changed.
Yeah, ain't they? You know, Mac, sometimes I feel like I don't know what it's all about anymore.
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Opening credits curve over the mountain-top valley of the background, as the wind would do. See more »
It is a great Bogart vehicle. But what makes Bogart look good is the fine screenplay. Not having read Burnett's book is a disadvantage for me to judge the contribution of Burnett and John Huston to the screenplay. Being familiar with Huston's screenplays, I tend to think it was Huston who probably made all the difference to the screenplay.
Huston loved to play on the good side of men that became sometimes comical and sometimes their folly. In "High Sierra" the goodness in the "mad dog" is played up: the bad guy looks good. Huston did that with aplomb in "The Man who would be King". At the same time he reverses the role of the poor girl with the clubfoot into an ungrateful woman. Only animals remain the same...
The lines are made for Bogart's style. The direction of Walsh is not bad but not striking either. I will remember the film for the strong screenplay alone, without which the film would have floundered.
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