Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DARK PASSAGE (1947) - Delmer Daves

The wrongly accused man on the run subset of the noir genre might not be my favorite. But when that man is Humphrey Bogart, the escape involves a back alley plastic surgery job and a third of the movie shot in Lady in the Lake style POV, you can sign me up for second helpings.

I saw Dark Passage for the first time in college and aped its bandaged protagonist in a film school black and white short of my own. Passage holds up on second viewing, David Goodis' pulpy storyline enlivened by Delmer Daves' formal risk-taking and refusal to show Bogie's face until midway through the film. The banter between Bogie and Bacall may not be as sexually charged as The Big Sleep and the ending a bit soft for hardboiled noir, but I defy any film fan not to get a queasy thrill as the surgeon's unsteady scalpel lowers toward yours and Bogie's face.

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