Dark Passage (1947) Poster

(1947)

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8/10
The Softer Side of Bogart and Bacall
The absorbing documentary featurette on the DVD edition of the 1947 mystery DARK PASSAGE (DP) suggests that Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall's participation in the star-studded Committee for the First Amendment, intended to defend colleagues called before the HUAC, might have been the reason that DP wasn't as big a hit as the real/reel-life couple's earlier screen collaborations. However, I suspect that audiences past and present may have found DP harder to cozy up to because, instead of the cool, insolent, wisecracking Bogart & Bacall of TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT and THE BIG SLEEP, this film version of David Goodis' novel THE DARK ROAD presents a more melancholy, vulnerable Bogart & Bacall -- which is not at all a bad thing, just unexpected from this star team at that time. That Bogart & Bacall chemistry is still there, but it's sweeter here, as if they'd decided to let down their collective guard and allow tenderness to take over. Instead of the cocksure Bogart character we all know and love, DP protagonist Vincent Parry is wary, fearful, fumbling in his attempts to clear himself of his wife's murder and elude the cops like he escapes from prison in the film's opening scenes. His only allies include the mysterious Irene Jansen (Bacall), who followed his case during his trial and ends up in a position to help hide him while he proves his innocence, and Sam (Tom D'Andrea), a kindly, lonesome cabbie who steers Parry to a back-alley plastic surgeon (Houseley Stevenson) to get a new face to help him fly under the law's radar.

1947 was The Year of the Subjective Camera, with DP's first hour shot from Bogart's point of view and Robert Montgomery's film adaptation of Raymond Chandler's LADY IN THE LAKE (which I've discussed elsewhere on the IMDb) using the technique throughout. Unlike LADY..., DP's plastic surgery gimmick provides a good plot reason for the audience not to initially see Bogart's face, though we frequently hear that unmistakable Bogart voice to make up for it. We also get to see the lovely Bacall and lots of spellbinding character actors in lieu of Bogie. There isn't an uninteresting face or a bad performance in the bunch, with standout performances from the leads, D'Andrea, Stevenson (wise, kindly, and vaguely sinister all at once), Rory Mallinson as Parry's musician friend, the ever-dependable Bruce Bennett, cheap hood Clifton Young (with an oily grin and a cleft chin that looks like it got lost on the way to Cary Grant's face), and especially the magnificent Agnes Moorehead as Madge Rapf, the kind of woman who won't join any club that'll have her as a member, a stylish dame who spreads stress and misery wherever she goes. Sticking her nose into everyone's business, Madge manages to lure people to her and push them away at the same time, and if she can't have you, she'll make damn sure nobody else canhave you, even if that means murder. With her delivery dripping honey one minute and venom the next (especially in her climactic scene with Bogart), the quicksilver Moorehead's commanding presence and her unconventional, undeniably striking good looks ensure that you can't take your eyes off her whenever she's on screen.

If you're looking for a tight mystery plot, look elsewhere. While DP has many suspenseful moments, it's primarily a character study and a mood piece about loneliness, redemption, and starting over, with a strong undercurrent of postwar paranoia, all underscored beautifully by Franz Waxman's stirring music (with contributions by an uncredited Max Steiner). The bus station scene is a touching example of this. But the reactions of people who meet Parry with his post-op face and new name, "Allan Linnell," are so suspicious I wondered if writer/director Delmer Daves (who cameos as the photo of Irene's doomed dad. His real-life kids have bit parts, too) was indicating that Parry was really projecting his own paranoia onto the people around him. His new name in particular makes people look at him like he just dropped in from the planet Neptune: "Linnell? That's a very unusual name." What's so freakin' unusual about it?! What, it's not blandly Anglo-Saxon enough? I wonder if John Linnell of They Might Be Giants fame ever had to field such questions...but I digress... :-)

Even when DP drops the subjective camera style so we can see Bogart in all his glory, the visuals are striking thanks to Sid Hickox's moody black-and-white photography (although with the emphasis on Madge's love of all things orange, I can imagine a partly-colorized version a la SIN CITY, with everything black-and-white except Madge's orange clothes and belongings... :-) and some innovative visual techniques. I particularly liked the use of the glass floor when Bogart discovers a dead body -- a tip of the hat to Alfred Hitchcock's THE LODGER, perhaps? Speaking of Hitchcock, DP and Hitch's 1958 classic VERTIGO might make an interesting double feature since they share themes of loss, loneliness, new identities and fresh starts as well as a San Francisco setting. If you want to see a softer side of Bogart & Bacall, DP is well worth watching. You may also enjoy the DVD's other fun extras, like the original theatrical trailer (for me, the hyperbole of that era's movie trailers is part of their charm) and SLICK HARE, one of the Bugs Bunny cartoons affectionately lampooning Bogart (rumor has it that Bogart liked to pal around with the animators at Warner Bros.' "Termite Terrace" and he actually did his own voice work for SLICK HARE and 8-BALL BUNNY).
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8/10
You're too marvelous, too marvelous for words....
jotix10022 May 2005
"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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9/10
Supporting Actors Outshine Two Stars
ccthemovieman-19 March 2006
Watching a "feature" on the DVD the other day after viewing this movie, it was interesting to hear that "Dark Passage" was never a popular film despite the headliners being Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

That was because studio head Jack Warner was displeased that Bogart's face wasn't shown for the first half of the film and so he didn't give the movie much publicity. The fact Bogey's face didn't appear for quite a while apparently didn't settle well with the public, either.

That was their loss: this is a fine film. The stars of it, really - the actors who put the spark in the story - aren't Bogey and Bacall anyway but the supporting actors. I can't recall a movie where the supporting cast was so good, so entertaining, as in this film.

Before naming them, let me preface by saying Bogart and Bacall still give good performances and Bacall still had a face in those early days that was mesmerizing BUT the people who make this movie click are:

Tom D'Andrea as the cab driver; Houseley Stevenson as the strange and extremely interesting plastic surgeon; Clifton Young as the blackmailer; Tory Mallison as Bogart's old best friend and Agnes Moorhead as the villainous snoop. These people are fantastic.

As an escaped convict on the run, we only see what Bogart sees until plastic surgery turns him into the familiar face we recognize. That sort of thing - seeing only what one character sees, using the camera as his eyes, was done in another noir, "Lady In The Lake," but not done as successfully as in this film. Here, it works as we meet these other weird characters as Bogart sees them. Actually, every character including Bacall's, is a bit odd. The script doesn't always make sense, either, to be honest, but it's fun to play along.

It was a simple but effective story with some neat twists along the way and pretty good suspense here and there, too. I think it's a very underrated film noir and very glad the long-awaited DVD gave it a nice transfer. This is another example of a classic film that looks far better on DVD than it ever did on tape. I hadn't realized how well-photographed this movie was until I saw it on disc.
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Saving Face
Ben Parker18 July 2004
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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10/10
Dark Passage is a forgotten masterpiece
terryduffy21 December 2004
Dark Passage is a forgotten masterpiece and a personal favorite. Delmer Davies captures the 1940's magic of San Francisco from hill hugging wooden stairs to fog horns to shrouded atrium elevators to some of the best character acting I've ever seen. Tom D'Andrea and Housely Stephenson are wonderful as the so smart but so decent cabbie and the end of the dark ally plastic surgeon. Agnes Morehead is persistent annoyance morphed into utter villainy personified. She is nails scraped on a blackboard good and you can't take your eyes off her Madge. Becall and Bogie tie it together with fine understated grace. The flick ends and you want to go find that little beach front café in Peru.
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8/10
Agnes Moorehead steals the show!
dbdumonteil11 April 2005
Even if she has only two or three scenes she steals them all.And it speaks volumes when the stars are Bogart and Bacall.

This is my favorite B/B among the four films they made together."The big sleep" has a plot I've never understood -Hawks used to say it was the same to him-,"to have and to have not" fails to excite me (Bogart a resistant and Gaulliste at that!"Key Largo",on the other hand, is a close second to Daves' movie .

Not that the subjective viewpoint/camera was that much new.Robert Montgomery filmed his hero the same way in 1946 ("Lady in the lake" ,and we only saw his reflection in the mirrors).Hitchcock knew the technique as well and he used it with virtuosity during short sequences.But Daves who is best remembered for his westerns ("broken arrow") pulls it off effortlessly.The depth of field gives a dreamlike atmosphere to the first sequences with Bacall and the surgeon -dream which becomes nightmare during the operation when Bogart sees in his bad dream all the characters involved in the story- There are plot holes of course,particularly Madge 's character .Parry is in Irene's house and presto here she comes.It takes all Agnes Moorehead's talent to give this woman substance.

The first third is Bogartless,as an user points out.But he could add that the last third is almost Bacallless too.

Only the ending,which I will not reveal of course ,is not worthy of a film noir!Maybe the producers imposed it.
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10/10
This is a GREAT MOVIE!!!
inframan24 May 2000
Bogart made three unforgettable landmark films: Maltese Falcon, Big Sleep, and Dark Passage. Of the three, Dark Passage is the least known, which is tragic, because it measures up to the other three and in many ways surpasses them for atmosphere, characterization and psychological mood. Based on a novel by David Goodis, who also wrote the novel that Shoot The Piano Player was based on, it hits top marks in rankings of films in the categories of Film Noir, Existentialism, Dostoyevskian outlook and Kafkan world-view. Filled with forever unforgettable scenes and quotable lines, heart-wrenching views of fog-bound 1940s San Francisco and characters who seem to be stand-ins for the all our own private inauspicious never-to-be famous or successful friends and acquaintances, it's a brilliant metaphor for that dying species: the "individual". Also, of all the Bogart/Bacall pairings, it was the softest, tenderest & most romantic. Movies like this should be on some kind of everybody's-required-viewing-list.
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5/10
The worst of the Bogie-Bacall pairings
ensiform4 October 2000
A con named Vincent (Bogart) breaks out of prison to be befriended by a woman (Bacall) who sympathizes with his case which was akin to her father's. He gets a new face and tries to discover who really killed his wife and then his best friend. This is a rather tedious, unoriginal movie, with none of the snappy, quick dialogue that films of this era often display. It's slow-paced - lingering on humdrum scenes, repeating unimportant information such as Vincent's doctor's advice - and fairly predictable, even unintentionally comic (the silly anesthesia scene). The first half of the movie, we don't see Vincent; instead we see the action from his eyes. Perhaps that was interesting then, but I felt it added nothing to the movie. Morehead, as the dead wife's shewish friend (this is one of those movies where the good guys act predictably good, and the villains act only nasty) chews the scenery something awful in her confrontation scene with Bogie. Good acting by Bogie and Bacall, plus some scenes with a delightfully bullying thug, help save the film from being a total waste. 4/10.
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7/10
Fascinating film noir
jnyby8315 November 2000
Wow, we are really asked to believe a lot in this film. Typically movies can only get away with one or two unlikely plot elements, but somehow I still enjoyed 'Dark Passage' despite numerous key elements' implausibility.

The film opens to a shot of convicted felon Parry (Bogart) in a barrel in back of a truck headed down the road. He shakes the barrel, takes a nasty roll and staggers out. It's just the first of many doubt-inducing sequences.

The film, with its plot problems aside, is really an excellent film noir study. We are taken through most of the first half of the film from the first-person Parry (Bogart) view. I found this fascinating, despite wooden dialogue and continuous unrealistic steadiness of the camera. I think the base story of 'Dark Passage' is superb, with all its film noir elements. I especially like the first-person view, which then transforms through a surrealistic imagery scene of plastic surgery, into the normal third-person view.

One plot element I particularly take issue with is that, although Parry gets a new face, we are asked to believe that his distinctive Bogart voice cannot be recognised by the closest of his acquaintances. He makes no effort whatsoever to account for this, and this is given no thought in the slightest.

The film is one I would personally love to make - I would like to direct the thing myself, and revise the script a bit, make it more real in dialogue and plot primarily. This is a feeling I've not oft encountered, because I've almost always felt a director has done, even when he presents a wrong point of view, a better job than I could do. Due to my love for the story here I was torn - torn I tell you - in my selection of a vote for this film, but arrived at 7. I took off for the unrealistic factors, but made sure to preserve the respectability of the film. It is, incontestably, a classic - and in my opinion, just because a film is old doesn't mean it is. I respect this film.
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7/10
Totally unconvincing star thriller which succeeds because of its professionalism…
Nazi_Fighter_David6 April 2005
Bogart's third teaming with Lauren Bacall was in "Dark Passage," a murder-mystery film which depended upon contrivances rather than good scripting to see it through…

The film opened with the use of a subjective camera (MGM used it throughout their "Lady in the Lake" that same year) with Bogart's off-camera narration establishing the plot as we watch our hero escape from prison with the intent of finding the real murderer of his wife, the crime for which he had been wrongfully jailed…

Once he meets up with Bacall and goes to a plastic surgeon, the subjective camera is forgotten as Bogart now utilizes his own face and carries on the investigation…

"Dark Passage" was energetically directed and written by Delmer Daves who used some atmospheric location shots in San Francisco to underscore his drama… The film included an unusual number of bizarre and eccentric characters, all competently played…

Agnes Moorehead essayed a superb1y schizoid characterization as a bitchy "friend" of Bogart and his dead wife… Bacall showed definite signs of improvement in her acting and Bogart was properly bitter, sour and nonplussed…

For all practical purposes, this film marked the conclusion of Bogart's famous "image" period… Now he was to forsake his romantic leading-man roles for acting assignments which he hoped would raise him to greater heights as a performer… He was to succeed, in many cases, magnificently…
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Solid, If Offbeat, Crime/Noir Feature
Snow Leopard1 December 2004
While the least-known and, really, the least impressive of the Bogart/Bacall features, this is still a solid, if rather offbeat, movie that combines a film-noir atmosphere with a gimmick that is meant to drive most of the story. The gimmick works moderately well, though it is really just a diverting sideline to the main drama and acting, which are what really make the movie work.

The premise is interesting enough, at least for a while, and it is interesting to see just how long they can go without showing the face of Bogart's character. They might have stretched it out just a bit too long, since there is more than enough in the rest of the plot to make any further use of the device unnecessary. Bacall and Bogart work together well from the beginning. In itself, the pairing works almost as well here as in their three better-known movies together - it's just that here there is a less for them to work with.

The two stars do get plenty of help from Agnes Moorehead, who plays her role with relish. Tom D'Andrea and Bruce Bennett help out when they get the chance. Delmer Daves also creates a generally believable atmosphere to serve as the background to the story, and to help get it past the less plausible stretches. Overall, while hardly up to the high standard of the other Bogart/Bacall pairings, "Dark Passage" is a solid if unspectacular feature that is worth seeing if you like the stars and/or the genre.
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4/10
Bad Script
Uncle_Joe_Movin_Slo14 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The terrible script completely destroys this film. That's a shame, because I'm a huge fan of Bogart and Bacall. The film has first person camera work which is excellent, and the supporting cast is fantastic. However, Bogey's character acts like a total moron, leaving his fingerprints on every crime scene he finds himself at, and crime scenes follow him like a a five year old follows an ice cream truck. There is one phony plot contrivance after another. Bacall's character would have to be insane to believe that Bogey's character is innocent -- every time he goes to see someone, they die! He always has an explanation, and it always sounds false.

In short, the awful script destroys what is, in every other way, an excellent film.
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5/10
Coincidence City
bkoganbing9 November 2006
The least known of the four Bogey and Bacall movies and deservedly so has to be Dark Passage. The other three have become classics to some' degree and this one hasn't.

There are just too many coincidences and too many plot holes for the good ship Dark Passage to float. Lauren Bacall just happens to be out painting when Bogart crashes out of San Quentin, she just happens to know some of the principals in the case that sent Bogart up in the first place, Bogart happens to get into a cab where a friendly helpful cab driver happens to know a good plastic surgeon. It's all too too unreal.

Yet Dark Passage does have its good moments. Bacall and Bogey are smoking up the screen as they did in To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, and later in Key Largo. Agnes Moorehead steals the film from both of them with an over the top performance which is a text book example of overacting. My guess is Agnes was simply trying to overcome a bad script.

Delmer Daves who is a fine director for outdoor films, westerns like Jubal and 3:10 to Yuma is also not the right director for Dark Passage. If Alfred Hitchcock had directed it with a better script, Dark Passage may very well have been the best instead of the worst of the Bogart Bacall teamings.

One character I really liked though was Clifton Young who first picks up Bogart on the road after the escape. Bogart slugs him when he catches wise, but later Young returns for some blackmail. He's a two bit punk, very much along the lines of Elisha Cook, Jr. in The Maltese Falcon and you really are happy when he meets his fate.

Dark Passage also helped the great Richard Whiting-Johnny Mercer standard, Too Marvelous for Words get a revival. Didn't cost the brothers Warner a dime as they owned the rights to the song, it having been introduced in the Ruby Keeler musical, Ready, Willing, and Able. Just like As Time Goes By got a revival from Casablanca.

But we remember Casablanca a whole lot more than Dark Passage.
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4/10
Don't go out of your way for this Dark Passage
oscarbreath11 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I found this one a disappointment on just about every level. The Bacall-Bogart relationship in the film is just too odd to ever get comfortable with ... oh yeah, she's always secretly thought he was innocent and oh yeah, she just happens to be driving in the area that day, and on and on and on. The look of absolute love she has on her face in every closeup just comes from nowhere. And as others have noted, the coincidences in this film are too many to list, it's almost the only thing the story is based on. Every character seems to have Moorehead's number, but no one does anything about it ... and the way she meets her maker is just too crazy to believe.

Helpful tip for people driving near prisons ... don't ever pick up hitchers, especially when sirens are wailing! I really like noir, and I really like Bogart, but this film did zippo for me. My wife (who cares not much for either)was thoroughly unimpressed. Gimme the Big Sleep with all its inconsistencies anyday.
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9/10
That guy Baker was a "Little Rascal."
copper196313 May 2006
Sadly, or perhaps not, most condemned prisoners do not have a dame, a dude, and a plastic surgeon around to break their falls when they escape. But when Bogart busts out of the big house, San Quentin, the Good Samaritans start popping up like dandelions. His method of escape is to throw himself down a steep incline in a steel barrel. The cameraman rides tandem and becomes his eyes and point-of-view. Bogart hitches a ride with a nosy fellow I've seen before in the movies. He has deep-set eyes and a divot in his chin. Bogart quickly dispatches the mug to dreamland and ventures out into an uncertain landscape of creeps and coppers. Instead, Bogart catches a break: he discovers he has a groupie played by Lauren Bacall. She is out painting landscapes when she hears the bulletin over the radio. She knows everything about his case. She even sat in the courtroom during his trial. She felt he got a raw deal. The dude he meets is a close friend who plays the horn. He allows Bogart safe haven to rest. Incredibly, Bogart steps into the cab of yet another sympathetic character. The cabbie guides him to a doctor who wields a wild scalpel. Bogart's ex-flame also knows Bacall--and is a royal pain in the neck. The coincidences pile up higher than The Golden Gate Bridge. Bogie and Bacall may have more well known films on their resumes, but this one will keep a big fat smile on your face.
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many crashes in the dark passage
andrabem8 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
In spite of the good cinematography, Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall, "Dark Passage" succumbs to a weak plot - too many coincidences and hitches.

Vincent Parry (Humphrey Bogart) runs away from the San Quentin State Prison. He's on the road to hitch a ride and he must be out of the area quickly before the police start searching for him. He is picked up by a woman (Lauren Bacall) who knows his name and more about him. She wants to help him. As he said: "I don't get you". We also don't understand it. Mystery! But it's all right, puzzles are welcome. My interest was raised.

But the script was written in order to keep up a continuous interest - characters are linked together without any concern for logic, people behave in a way that only a script-writer could imagine and so on. After a while the story ceased to interest me and I followed the images and Bogart & Bacall instead. That for me was good enough. Anyway the camera work is interesting, especially in the beginning when we see the action through the eyes of Vincent Parry.

If you don't care too much about logic the film will surely entertain you. But I think that after a very interesting beginning (let's say the first 30 minutes) the film goes a bit down. The story goes on with its own logic till the amazing happy ending. The producers wanted to satisfy the public and I think they reached their aim at the time. This was Hollywood after all.
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5/10
I'm Confused!!
Bucs196030 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know if I like this film or don't. Bogart and Bacall would have chemistry in an Army training film, but somehow the plot line of this film just doesn't give them the best opportunity to make the most of it.

There are unbelievable coincidences and it appears that everybody knows everybody else but don't know each other. And how easy is it to get picked up by a beautiful girl while you are making a prison break? And how many cabbies would do what Tom D'Andrea does when he takes Bogie to a back street plastic surgeon and the whole transformation is done in 90 minutes with no assisting nurse? It's all very convoluted and full of plot holes.

BUT, on the other side of the coin, it does hold your interest and the POV camera in the first of the film is well done (unlike Lady in the Lake which is seriously flawed). Agnes Moorehead is a true psycho and revels in it......what a bad dame she is. Exactly how she goes out of the window still puzzles me......didn't she know it was there or did she do it on purpose? The ending ties it all up in a neat little package which isn't very satisfactory but, hey, Bogie and Bacall get to live happily ever after.....or do they? He is a killer after all......remember Baker? Whatever the faults as I see them, you still can't beat Mr. and Mrs. Bogart.
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6/10
Dark Passage (1947) **1/2
JoeKarlosi7 February 2005
Vincent Parry is a San Quentin convict wrongly accused of murdering his wife, who escapes from prison and is taken in by a gorgeous Good Samaritan (that would be Lauren Bacall as Irene Jansen). She lets him hide out at her place for awhile, but eventually Vincent takes a ride with a very perceptive cab driver who recognizes him and also has a heart of gold; he pulls his cab over to the side and just happens to know this plastic surgeon friend who wouldn't mind putting his neck on the line to alter the face of a wanted fugitive. After the operation is completed and the bandages are unspooled, Vincent Parry turns into Humphrey Bogart, and he is now able to set out to discover who really murdered his wife.

I'm not one who usually can't suspend his disbelief when watching movies, but there are a lot of contrivances here, even for me! I think the director made a poor choice in spending the first 30 or 40 minutes without showing Bogie, and even more importantly by using a very grating "point of view" camera technique to substitute for the character of Parry for far too long. This subjective viewpoint, where the camera becomes the eyes of the convict, as people look and talk at him, hand him cigarettes and so forth, is extremely effective at first but quickly grows into overkill. I think this would have been a much more interesting film if another actor was utilized to portray the pre-surgery Bogart.

Everything just falls too neatly into place, and once Bogart has his face transformed, he doesn't really get involved in too much hard detective work on his own before easily stumbling onto the real killer's identity (you can't really blame him; it's quite obvious). One begins to wonder why he even bothered with the plastic surgery. Lauren Bacall is beautiful to look at, and I can watch her doing just about anything. But I think her rapport with Bogart this time out is kind of lightweight. The real surprise of the film for me was Agnes Moorehead, who turns in a delicious performance. This is a film worth watching for its stars and a generally intriguing premise; it's just unfortunate that it couldn't have worked out a little better. **1/2 out of ****
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8/10
"I was born lonely, I guess."
utgard1417 June 2015
An escaped convict (Humphrey Bogart) undergoes plastic surgery and hides out with a pretty young woman (Lauren Bacall) while he tries to figure out who murdered his wife, the crime for which he was convicted. Excellent film noir written and directed by Delmer Daves with beautiful photography by Sid Hickox. It's the last film Bogie and Bacall did together and it's easily the most underrated of the three. Both are terrific here and have that same wonderful chemistry we all love, albeit with less sexy banter than their previous movies together. The real scene-stealer of the picture is Agnes Moorehead, who gets the juiciest role and one awesome scene in particular. Tom D'Andrea has a great bit as a talkative cabby and there are several other fine character actors in small roles.

The first forty minutes or so is filmed mostly from a first person point-of-view. We don't see Bogart's face until over an hour in, after his character has had plastic surgery. A pretty gutsy move at the time to have your big star, Humphrey Bogart, heard but not seen for such a large chunk of the movie. But it's so well-done and effective, it's probably my favorite portion of the film. Another favorite part is a little bit of business referring to a famous line of Bogie's from a past film. That sort of thing is commonplace today but wasn't then. It's a funny part in a terrific script by Daves. The movie does meander some, usually for little moments with side characters. While many of these scenes aren't necessarily needed they add something extra to the picture that I enjoyed. Definitely a must-see for Bogie fans.
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4/10
All the right elements don't add up.
Irie21226 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Film noir is a rich genre, and "Dark Passage" has the surface requisites: crime and passion writ large, with hard-boiled men, melodramatic women, and chiaroscuro photography. It also has Bogart, Bacall, and a solid supporting cast.

But this is a mediocre movie, and I'm not even talking about the truckload of implausible plot turns. The movie is boring. No scene is crisp (worst: five shots of Bogart laboriously descending a fire escape). It's dialog-heavy to a fault: everything is spelled out, leaving very little for the visuals to reveal beyond the facial reconstruction scenes.

And boring isn't the only problem. Dark Passage fails at something even more basic: characters. They're noirish stereotypes. One in particular typifies the problem: Agnes Moorehead delivers a spectacularly mercurial performance, particularly in her final scene: She starts as an austerely beautiful woman flirting with a stranger, but then her face swiftly and thoroughly contorts into a mask of age and rage when she realizes who he is--the man she couldn't forgive or forget, but didn't recognize because of his facial reconstruction.

And that's the problem: a woman obsessed to the point of homicide with one man, yet flirting instantly with a total stranger? Moorehead almost brings it off, but we just don't care. Her motivation is so muddled it has no resonance. And Bacall's motivation is even more implausible. Unfortunately, treating the characters as plot devices rather than people is a fatal flaw, and it kills the soul of this movie.
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4/10
...just shows not all oldies are goodies
indy-3911 April 2005
4 out of 10... add 3to 4 to 5 to (reading some of the reviews on IMDb) 6 points depending on how much of a Bogart/Bacall coolaid drinker you are. With the exception of the beginning of the film, which I'll admit is very interesting, this script is a disaster. Sounded like some hack writer aping "film noir" speak or some has been writer aping himself. The film is unwatchable after Bogart recovers from the plastic surgery.Many of the lines play more like a satire of film noir than actual film noir. All the actors approach this pretty earnestly, more's the pity. Agnes Moorehead gives the worst performance of her career (Endora was more nuanced). But I did believe Bacall loved Bogey, both in the film and in real life...can I join the club, now?
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7/10
Intriguing, but flawed, Bogart-Bacall murder-drama
grantss2 September 2015
Intriguing, but flawed, Bogart-Bacall murder-drama.

A convicted murderer, Vincent Parry (played by Humphrey Bogart), breaks out of prison. He had been wrongfully convicted of the murder of his wife. Along the way he is helped by young woman, Irene Jansen (played by Lauren Bacall) who is convinced of his innocence. Soon he has to make a decision between leaving the city or staying around to find out who the real murderer is. And his troubles are just beginning...

Intriguing drama. From the word go, when all we see of Bogart's character is shadows or first-person views (why becomes apparent after a while), there is an air of mystery and suspense.

Not perfect though. The plot is not watertight. The chance meeting that sets up everything is just so implausible. Many other plot developments, including the climactic scene, are implausible and/or contrived.

Can't fault the acting though. Bogart and Bacall are great (as expected) and the supporting cast give solid performances.
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Faithful adaptation of the David Goodis novel
jrd_7322 July 2015
I watched Dark Passage about fifteen years ago and had not remembered much about it, but I recently became interested in the fiction of David Goodis. After reading the novel Dark Passage, I decided to give the film adaptation another chance. I was surprised by how faithful the film was to the Goodis source novel.

Either the Production Code or the studio insisted on a few changes. Bob and Madge are turned, rather illogically, into a bickering, engaged couple instead of an estranged, married one. I suppose someone did not like the idea of Lauren Bacall's character dating (albeit, casually) a married man. In addition, Vincent's hallucinations during his surgery have been altered, so they no longer provide a clue to the killer's identity (they should have been dropped altogether). Finally, the film adds a final passage to the Goodis story to provide a slightly more optimistic ending (similar to what Shawshank Redemption added to "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption").

Having acknowledged all of that, I am surprised by how much of Goodis's book remains. Goodis is a novelist of characters. Perhaps, then, I should not be surprised that the best scenes deal with supporting characters. The great scene between Vincent and the cabbie is almost verbatim from the book. Some might think that the scene stops the story, but it is a small, perfect sequence in both book and film (great playing between Bogart and Tom D'Andrea in that scene). The portrayal of Dr. Coley by Houseley Stevenson is dead on. The plastic surgeon may be world weary, but he has his own code of ethics. Finally, there is that great scene where Vincent with his new face calls on Madge Rapf (a perfect Agnes Moorehead). It's the one scene in the film that needed to be in color to highlight the orange motif, even if the dialogue is pure noir.

This last example also highlights the film's one, big weakness. I know this is a minority opinion, but, I don't particularly like Lauren Bacall. Despite the fact that she and Bogart were a couple, I believe that Bogart had more screen chemistry with Ingrid Bergman (Casablanca), Mary Astor (The Maltese Falcon), Gloria Grahame (In a Lonely Place), and Ida Lupino (High Sierra). Meanwhile, Bacall has always struck me as a rather cold presence. I simply do not know what this Vincent would see in this Irene. By contrast, that scene between Vincent and Madge, where he is pumping her for information as she is contemplating a pumping of a different kind, is smoldering with sexual tension. Of course, in Vincent's case the tension is an act, but there is still more heat with Madge (act or not) than in any of the scenes with Irene.

Lauren Bacall aside, Dark Passage is a good film. The film uses the San Francisco locations nicely. The film was daring in having Vincent's face being impossible to see for the first half (before he becomes Bogart). Lastly, there are those great characters brought to life by wonderful character actors.

Of the three David Goodis's novels I have read, Dark Passage is probably my least favorite, even though it is a good read with great parts. The film adaptation of Dark Passage is as good as the novel. How often can one say that?
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8/10
The Man Without a Face
evanston_dad16 June 2015
"Dark Passage" is an example of how a gimmick can work wonders.

Humphrey Bogart plays an escaped con who was wrongfully accused of murdering his wife -- of course he was wrongfully accused....he's Bogie! To evade the law, he enlists the help of a shady plastic surgeon to give him a new face. While he's waiting for his face to heal, he's nursed by none other than Lauren Bacall, fetching as hell as a do-gooder who wants to help him because her own father was similarly wrongfully accused of a crime. The gimmick is that we don't see Bogie's face for the first half of the movie. Much of the film is shot in first-person perspective except for the occasional establishing shot. Once his face is in bandages, the film switches to a more omniscient perspective, but we still don't get a glimpse of that hang-dog mug until the bandages come off.

After Bogie becomes Bogie again, he sets out to solve the mystery of his wife's true murderer, which brings Agnes Moorehead into the picture, absolutely sensational as a shrill harridan with whom Bogie has some history. Moorehead steals the picture simply by being on the screen, a considerable feat given the screen presence of Bogie and the visual sizzle of Bacall.

The first half of "Dark Passage" is effectively eerie; the first-person camera work really adds to the atmosphere, and Bogart's bandaged visage lends a creepiness to things. The second half is more conventional in terms of filmmaking, but by then the engaging plot and the presence of Moorehead have successfully filled in for what the film loses in visual interest.

"Dark Passage" is a real winner.

Grade: A
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