Dark Passage

I spent the day finishing up with the grading of exams and papers, although I didn’t make final decisions on grades.  I sat down to have a slice of pizza and then a frozen yogurt before going home to watch “Dark Passage,” the third Bogart and Bacall movie.  It was released in 1947 and filmed in a way that reminded me of “Vertigo.”  Humphrey Bogart was a fugitive named Vincent Parry, who escaped from San Quentin.  Lauren Bacall is Irene Jansen, an artist who helps him.  Agnes Moorehead is in the cast as an evil woman.  In this world, the ordinary man is suspicious of the police.  Through the first part of the movie, we see everything from Parry’s point of view, so we don’t see Bogart’s face.  That must have been kind of frustrating for Bogart fans and the studio heads.  The reason for this is that Parry is going to go through plastic surgery to alter his face so that the cops won’t recognize him.  We don’t see his face in the mirror, but it is in the newspapers.  I shuddered a bit thinking about undergoing plastic surgery in 1947, considering what happened to someone like Gloria Grahame with her upper lip.  The part of the plot with Irene driving by to help out Parry seemed unlikely, as was the taxi driver willing to help out Parry.  It was kind of funny how Irene made a big deal about the elevator in her apartment building.  I kept thinking that someone like Bogart would be incredibly conspicuous just about anywhere he went, so some neighbor would have noticed.  He also walks through the city with bandages on his face like a mummy, although it’s supposed to be during the night.  Some moments were like “The Maltese Falcon,” with Bogart going through the dialogue quickly so that you can’t think about it too much and see the points that don’t make sense.  Someone comes along to attempt to extort Irene, although it seemed foolish to go through someone as desperate as Parry.  There was another coincidence involving this greedy individual.  When you really think about this plot, too much of it was manufactured.  It was rather funny that the face that appeared when the bandages were removed was Bogart’s real face.  It was a scene that reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode with Donna Douglas, called “Eye of the Beholder.”  Irene didn’t have that much to do besides hide Parry out in her apartment and lie about his not being there.  The character added something to her movie star persona, although it wasn’t the greatest role.  The chemistry with Bogart was there.  After all, the two of them were married.  However, this movie certainly was not on the level of “To Have and Have Not” and “The Big Sleep.”  The fate of the Agnes Moorehead was not believable.  It was one of those movie things.  Bogart managed to escape a building even though he left a door wide open and had to go down a fire escape that was highly visible.  A cable car just happened to go by as he was standing idiotically in the middle of the street.  I didn’t understand how he could just get on board without paying any money.  Parry wasn’t too smart, as he had to make a comment about Bay Meadows when he could have said something neutral.  These convicts sure don’t do much real thinking when they’re sitting in their cells.  The ending doesn’t feel like a real ending.  How can life go on like that?  Franz Waxman composed the music, and the director was Delmer Daves.  This was a decent movie, and a Bogart fan would enjoy it, but it is not essential to watch.  The disc had a special feature that was a Bugs Bunny cartoon called “Slick Hare.”  It had Bogart as a character, and it had a pretty amusing ending to it.  The disc was a Blu-ray, and the cartoon looked pretty good in high definition.  In the main feature, I thought some of the backgrounds weren’t real, but Daves managed to show off the Golden Gate Bridge a couple of times.  The apartment building used in the film was at 1360 Montgomery Street, and Irene’s apartment was Number 10.  The last of the Bogar and Bacall movies was “Key Largo.”  I tried to watch an episode of Laugh-In with Barbara Feldon and Flip Wilson, but I fell asleep.  Some of the people who died on December 21 include F. Scott Fitzgerald (1940), George S. Patton (1945), Richard Long (1974), Albert King (1992), and Juzo Itami (1997).  Today is a birthday for Ray Romano (59), Chris Evert (62), Samuel L. Jackson (68), and Jane Fonda (79).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for December 21, Elvis Presley had his famous meeting with Richard Nixon in 1970.  In 1985, Lionel Richie was Number One on the singles chart with “Say You, Say Me.”  In 1988, “Beaches,” starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, was released.

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