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Dark Passage (1947)

Approved | | Film-Noir, Thriller | 27 September 1947 (USA)
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A man convicted of murdering his wife escapes from prison and works with a woman to try and prove his innocence.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Bob
...
Tom D'Andrea ...
Clifton Young ...
Douglas Kennedy ...
Rory Mallinson ...
Houseley Stevenson ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Blackie (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Bogart plays a man convicted of murdering his wife who escapes from prison in order to prove his innocence. Bogart finds that his features are too well known, and is forced to seek some illicit backroom plastic surgery. The entire pre-knife part of the film is shot from a Bogart's-eye-view, with us seeing the fugitive for the first time as he starts to recuperate from the operation in the apartment of a sympathetic young artist (played by Bacall) for whom he soon finds affection. But what he's really after is revenge. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

IN DANGER AS VIOLENT AS THEIR LOVE!!! (one-sheet poster) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

27 September 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La senda tenebrosa  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Brothers studio head Jack L. Warner was not pleased to discover that the face of one of his biggest stars, Humphrey Bogart, is not seen for the first half of the movie. But the time Warner knew this, the film was too far along to be changed. See more »

Goofs

Shortly after Vincent arrives at George's apartment he sits down. (During this point of the movie we can only see things from Vincent's point of view.) When we see George step over to the window, the night stand is at Vincent's 10 o'clock position. Immediately after George says he can give Vincent a spare house key, the nightstand is now at Vincent's 12 o'clock position. See more »

Quotes

Bob: Just pick up the sofa and throw it at her. That'll make her catch on.
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Soundtracks

Avalon
(uncredited)
Music by Vincent Rose
(based on "E lucevan le stelle" in the opera "Tosca" by Giacomo Puccini)
Played on the car radio at the beginning
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Saving Face

Bogey is an escaped prisoner. Bacall helps him stay escaped. To maintain his anonymity he has a face-change operation.

It is a gimmick film, but the gimmick doesn't just serve its own purpose - it highlights a theme of faces, and what faces tell you about the person beneath.

You can tell when something is being explored onscreen for the first time - its done more thoroughly and more excitedly than it ever will again. Think back to that first film about the phenomenon of email (Disclosure) or the internet (The Net), or what about the first film exploring chronology-changes (Citizen Kane) or hide-the-protagonist (The Third Man), or the excitement of acting (Streetcar Named Desire). That initial excitement is never really matched again - after that it becomes just another device, or a reference. The thing here is partly first-person narration (this came out the same year as Lady in the Lake), but wholly plastic surgery, the idea of changing your appearance.

First-person narration is actually quite rare in cinema. Lady in the Lake is one of the only examples where they stick with it for an entire picture, resorting to gimmicks like having Robert Montgomery looking in a mirror. Its used to great effect in the first half of Dark Passage, in order to hide Bogart's face. It was partly mechanical. Its a face-change movie. Instead of starting with Bogart and changing his face to a different actor, they wanted to pretend he looked like a different person (which we only see in a few photographs), and then after the operation he just looks like Bogart. But what the device of hiding his face does is create suspense, and focus on the issue of faces, which is a recurring theme throughout.

And it works to the positive for this film: what's the best way to hide someone's face? Put us behind their eyes! You never see your own face unless you're looking in the mirror. So until his operation, we see through Bogey's eyes - and the result is quite cinematic. It really frees up the movie, unshackling it from the static trappings of most studio pictures of this era. Instead of us just looking on from the edge of a set, which ends up looking like a stage, we're really taken into the action - its marvellous!

And, to save the best till last - Bacall absolutely burns up the screen in this. She sets the celluloid on fire. Any single shot of her in this movie is magic. Just being onscreen and being magic, its the definition of the X-factor.

9/10. What a star-vehicle for Bogey. This was his Third Man. And Bacall is sensational!


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