I know you've seen it, but have you seen it recently? Well, I have, not having seen it in nearly 50 years but having remembered bits of it pretty well. I also remembered that I enjoyed it. What I didn't remember was that it was crammed with more incredible coincidences, improbable events, and gimmicks than just about any other movie I've ever watched. Not that any of that spoiled the fun.
Bogart is Vincent Parry, falsely imprisoned for the murder of his wife. He escapes and is picked up by two different people, one of whom is Lauren Bacall. The gimmick here is that we don't see his face for about an hour. The movie's shot from his POV, like Robert Montgomery's The Lady in the Lake. It works a little better here because Bogart spends a lot of time looking at Lauren Bacall. You can't go wrong there.
After Bogart gets plastic surgery, we get to see his face. He's supposedly been made to look older than the photo of Vincent Parry we've seen, but he doesn't. Not that it matters. Now he looks like Bogart, and he's looking for the real killer, who's also now the killer of his best friend, with Bogart being blamed for that one, too. And who's also so obvious that nobody could guess wrong about who it is. After all, there aren't any other suspects.
One place the movie really shines is in the character actors in the supporting roles. Every single one is great, but top honors go to Houseley Stevenson as the plastic surgeon. Okay, maybe to Agnes Moorehead. Spit out that scenery, Agnes, it's been well chewed.
The movie's ending is so cheerful and optimistic that it's hard to believe that David Goodis wrote the novel the movie's based on, but who cares? It's what you want.
Not believable for even a few seconds, Dark Passage is nevertheless great fun and well worth watching.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Monday, August 29, 2016
Gene Wilder, comedy titan who played 'Willy Wonka' and 'Young Frankenstein,' dead at 83: LOS ANGELES — Gene Wilder, the visceral comedic actor who played Willy Wonka and starred in dozens of films including Mel Brooks classics Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, has died, the Associated Press reported Monday. He was 83.
Life and Limb: Throughout most of history, if you lost a limb, the replacement of choice was a wooden peg (which only looked cool if you were a pirate). But that all changed after a young soldier lost a leg in the Civil War and refused to take his injury lying down.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
The Pilots Who Risked Their Lives to Deliver the Mail: Being an airmail carrier was one of the most dangerous jobs in America.
Striking images of mid-century motels capture the architecture of a bygone era
Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.
Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.
Atlas Obscura: The Razzouk family has been inking religious pilgrims in the Middle East for 700 years.