Sunday, April 17, 2011
Crime Week (Fortnight): Humphrey Bogart Night
Friday night, I gathered a few friends together to watch some of Humphrey Bogart's crime films. It really wasn't until that day that I came up with my final line up of Petrified Forest, In a Lonely Place, and Dark Passage. We got things started with rum and Coke, and sat down to the first film.
Petrified Forest: At a lonely gas station in the middle of nowhere, a young girl dreams of a life anywhere else; away from her father and grandfather, away from the awkward pawing of a former football player who pumps gas. In walks a depressed, burnt out writer who fuels her hunger for knowledge and experience. But how will this awakening love survive the arrival of a brutish criminal and his gang? Funny and twisted, the movie is cracking with a dark sense of humor and a bitter nostalgia for more savage times.
In a Lonely Place: One of Bogart’s most personal roles, I also think it’s probably his best performance. Cutting painfully close to home, it paints the picture of a troubled man, driven by passions both violent and tender. It’s an ugly movie, filled with grim visions of a man’s darker side. Bogart is fantastic, and Gloria Grahame is fascinating. Typical of the era, there’s a good deal of clever dialog, and some fun innuendo. A must for Bogart fans.
Dark Passage: From the first person opening, through the brutal, twisting finale, this may not be the best Bogart & Bacall film, but it’s sure a lot of fun. Bogie is kind of awesome all bandaged up. I would have loved to see him play DC Comic’s Unknown Soldier. And Bacall oozes danger and mystery, as you try to figure out what her game is. Good stuff.
Overall, the night went well, though by the time Dark Passage came along, several of us were less than fully conscious (getting up at 5AM doesn't help when staying up watching movies). It was nice seeing Bogart in three very different roles, each dealing with crime in very different ways.