Hey Christy - I enjoyed your write-up of one of my favorite movies of the 1940’s: “DARK PASSAGE.”
I read it in "The Great Movie Debate Blogathon
" you participated in as you made a case FOR
the movie. Who could be against it?
I like how you went into the first-person yourself to explain what Irene Jansen might tell the cops. I liked the first-person camera the movie used, and I didn’t mind the wait for Bogart just about an hour into the movie. To be honest, I always found it a little sketchy the way Bogart and Bacall meet in this film. What woman would take in an escaped convict? Also the coincidence of Agnes Moorehead knowing Bogart’s character ( Vincent Parry ) who just happens to be holed up in Bacall’s apartment is a touch...convenient. But hey, I can’t let these minor speed bumps keep me from enjoying Bogart and Bacall.
I don’t know if I’m saying this right, but the movie is so kind to its characters, empathetic to them: the talky cabbie, sad-sack George the trumpeter - who makes me think of Gary Cooper with Randolph Scott’s voice. Then there was the guy at the diner, who gave the cop a couple of dirty looks in defense of Bogart. Oh yeah...and
the surgeon. I liked them all very much. The good doctor, who lost his license, looks like he performs different types of “operations” for folks in trouble. ( Yay! ) The movie looks like it tries to show people giving breaks to people who desperately need a break. The last poignant moment for me that gives me hope that Love WILL
work out, is with that couple at the end of the movie who meet at the bus station. They were sweet together. ( Good seeing character actress Mary Field, get the guy in a film for a change.
) "Out of the Past" "Ball of Fire"
Bogie and Bacall - the good guys, great to look at, fall in love with. But what makes the movie for me, is Agnes Moorehead as Madge. Christy, you blew me away when you likened her to the Raven in Poe’s poem - ( ninth grade for you...eighth grade for me. ) BRILLIANT! ( You know something’s brilliant when you wish you had thought of it yourself. “Rapping at my chamber door...”
) For being still early in Bacall’s career, facing off opposite the great Moorehead must have been a terrifying thrill. I love their scene together. She’s going toe-to-toe with Moorehead. I can see the fire coming out of Bacall’s subtly flaring nostrils. And Moorehead - fearful, accusatory, then downright b*
tchy, strutting around the scene like a matador, spreading venom on both Bennett and Bacall. Oh she’s great. Your description of her clothes is on the money. What the well-dressed predator will wear. ( Leopard skin. )
And then Moorehead meets her equal in Bogart. Their confrontation is like two heavyweights slugging it out. I love her striped coat; its satiny sheen like a snake’s skin. ( Your description is a lot better'n mine. ) I love her coquettishness with Bogie. Funny, I always got the feeling calling me from waaaay in the back of my mind, that Moorehead’s character wasn’t ever trying to get Bogart or Bruce Bennett, Bacall's milquetoasted love interest, but really had her eye elsewhere - ( shades of Mrs. Danvers/ Miss Holloway ). No, I’m not salaciously painting this with a slanted brush. You know how old movies like to hide things or transfer them over gender lines safely. But okay... if my theory is hot air, we still have Moorehead ready for a round with Bogie, sitting at his feet and getting comfy cozy.
Bogart and Bacall are good together. Did they have chemistry or what. Bogart’s so tender towards her. Bacall could melt that hard-boiled persona of his and wrap him around her finger. He has to trust her and that puts him at a disadvantage. But she likes him, is falling in love with him, is protective of him. She’s on his side and he doesn’t want to lose her. But life’s got the Indian sign on him. Director Delmer Daves
gives Bacall the close-up of her career as she watches Bogart walk to the elevator and out of her life, eyes brimming with tears. Tough girl, huh? It's killer, with Franz Waxman's violins helping us along. This movie is kind of unusual for Hollywood’s sense of morals code and justice. The bad guys, in the eyes of the Law, get away. The audience gives these two a break. We know the truth.