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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gangster's movies specialist Raoul Walsh reaches his highest level on this (not-so)typical story that tells the story of an outlaw (Humphrey Bogart) that has just come out of prison and gotta make one last hold-up. In principle everything in High Sierra follows the patterns of this glorious genre, but after watching it several times you come to the conclussion that this movie is much darker than the most of gangster's movies. This Gangster, this Roy Earle (Bogart at his best) is not heartless and cruel as james Cagney's Scarface (for example). No. This Roy Earle really wants to quit on being an outlaw. He wants to go back to the farm where he grew up, and start a new life. He meets a decent girl (Joan Leslie) and falls in love with her... But leaving the underworld is not that easy. Once you've killed and robbed, you're forever marked. And that's the cross that Earle's gotta carry. Finally he realizes that this life he's dreaming about, the good girl, the farm, kids running around... it's not gonna be possible. So he put up with being an outlaw and loving the bad girl, the flirtitious one (Ida Lupino, great woman)... , the one that really loves him, because she understands him, because they both came from the same place. Much more than a simple ganster's movie, High Sierra is a drama about what means to be a marked man.
Raoul Walsh does an outstanding job (as expected from such a giant). The script is signed by none other than Mr. John Huston, and "perfect" would be the aproppiate word to define it. The dialogues are powerful, dinamic, maybe a "little" sexist, but it was 1941 and, anyway, Roy Earle treats women much more gently than many of men. Lupino's and Bogart's characters are just amazing; and they both perform one of their best jobs. The car chasing at the end of the film is one of the best sequences ever, and there's no doubt it's been copied hundreds of times in subsequent films.
So if we have Raoul Walsh, Humphrey Bogart, and John Huston nothing can possibly go wrong. High Sierra = Essential
My Rate: 9/10
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