A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
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 <email@example.com>
Piura is a popular coastal Peruvian tourist destination, especially for surfers who make the most of its beaches. See more »
Dr. Coley tells Vincent to sleep flat on his back, but when Irene enters the bedroom where he's sleeping, it's clear he slept with a pillow. See more »
[Vincent meets a discredited plastic surgeon]
Dr. Walter Coley:
Ever see any botched plastic jobs? If a man like me didn't like a fellow... he could surely fix him up for life. Make him look like a bulldog, or a monkey. I'll make you look as if you've lived.
I have, Doc.
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"Dark Passage" offers a different take on the San Francisco noir genre. This is a movie in which we get to know about the story that unfolds in front of us told in narrative style by the hero, who is never seen until about one hour into the picture. Delmer Daves, adapting the David Goodis novel has created something seldom seen in this type of films, in which, the hero's presence is required at all times.
The film has a great style, as it offers a view of the San Francisco of the 1940s in ways that hadn't been seen before. The director was lucky to be able to open up the book in excellent ways to keep the viewer hooked from the start. The 'moderne' style of that era is seen in glorious detail, especially Irene's apartment, where much of the action takes place. The effect of the glassed enclosed elevator makes a dramatic contribution to the look of this movie.
The story of an innocent man, falsely condemned to prison for killing his own wife, parallels other movies. What's unusual here is that the presence of this convict is seen in another light with his own slant in to what really happened to the dead woman. There are other elements in the film that make it appealing. as the relationship between the escaped man, Vincent Parry, and the woman who rescues him, Irene Jansen.
Sidney Hickox's stylish cinematography is one of the best assets of the film. The crisp images that one sees of the city, or the surrounding areas, add to the enjoyment of watching the mystery unfold. The mood is set by the swing music of the time as Frank Waxman's score is heard. Richard Whiting contributes the great song one hears in the background.
The film is dominated by Humphrey Bogart, which says a lot about his power as an actor, and as a personality. When one considers he is actually not seen completely until after an hour into the movie, it speaks volumes of how the actor and the director were able to pull it through. The Irene Jansen of Lauren Bacall is another of the things that work in the film. Ms. Bacall's radiant beauty dominates every scene she is in. This actress had such a style that no matter what she is doing, she pulls our attention to her. The camera loved Ms. Bacall.
The other best thing going for the film is the strong performances Mr. Daves has obtained from his cast. Agnes Moorehead makes a phenomenal appearance as the evil Madge Rapf. Her last scene with Mr. Bogart stands as one of the best moments in a film noir of the era. Ms. Moorehead's expressions as she is confronted with the facts, keep on changing as she absorbs everything being thrown at her. Clifton Young who plays Baker, the opportunistic would be criminal, is also effective, as he adds a layer of intrigue with an angle we didn't figure out existed. His fight with Parry at the bottom of the Golden Gate bridge is beautifully choreographed. Finally, the kind cab driver Sam, who helps Parry assume a new identity, as played by Tom D'Andrea is one of the highlights of the film, as well as the plastic surgeon, portrayed by Houseley Stevenson.
This film, while not perfect, shows how well Delmer Dave's gamble paid in his conception for the film.
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