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DARK PASSAGE (1947)

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By the time they made their third film together, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married. Where their earlier films, To Have and Have Not (1944) and The Big Sleep (1946), had inspired sparring matches, here they traded that for affectionate banter. Bogart is a man wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. He escapes to clear his name, with Bacall helping him after a chance meeting in which she believes in his innocence. The film borrowed a gimmick from MGM and the previous year’s Lady in the Lake (1946). For its first half, the action is shown almost entirely from the leading man’s point of view, and Bogart’s face isn’t clearly seen until 62 minutes into the picture. Studio head Jack Warner thought this was a terrible idea, since it hid a major star’s face from the audience, but fans today love the gimmick, along with Delmer Daves’ taut direction and the skillful use of San Francisco locations to add to the picture’s film noir mood. Best of all, of course, is the chance to see Bogie and Bacall working together as one of the sexiest screen teams ever. (d. Delmer Daves, 106m, DCP)

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