1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2014
In this Warner Bros. film noir of rainy nights and mist shrouded locations, Humphrey Bogart takes on the role of Richard Mason, an ever so slightly deranged design engineer who imagines his overbearing wife's younger sister is in love with him, and he is certainly in love with her. He thinks all he has to do, for her to fall into his arms is get rid of his nagging wife, but she refuses to divorce him.
One rainy evening, driving home from a dinner party Mason finds himself looking longingly at the sister in the car's rear view mirror instead of concentrating on the road, and consequently runs into an oncoming vehicle, luckily no one is injured except Mason himself, who suffers a broken leg.
While recuperating, he devises what he thinks is a fool proof plan to murder his wife and give himself a water-tight alibi. (Bogart looks suitably sinister in his trench coat and trilby as he steps out of the shadows on a lonely mountain road in the murder scene.) Things don't go quite as smoothly as all that however, for one thing the sister tells him straight she doesn't love him, and he makes one very small slip in his report to the police that just one person picks up on.
Soon after that, mysterious events start to occur that all point to the fact that his wife is not dead after all, but lurking somewhere in the background. This all plays on Mason's fragile mind until one day he sees his wife walking in the street!
Although this is one of those films where you know who the murderer is from the start, it is still an intriguing story, full of mystery and even a bit spooky with a twist at the end when all is revealed.
Alexis Smith plays a good part as the attractive sister Mason is infatuated with, and Sydney Greenstreet, you could say is cast against type as the good guy. A film well worth watching.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
You see, Doctor Hamilton belongs to the Freudian school of psychology, he believes that love rather than money is the root of all evil.
Conflict is directed by Curtis Bernhardt and collectively written by Arthur T. Horman, Dwight Taylor, Robert Siodmak and Alfred Neumann. It stars Humphrey Bogart, Alexis Smith, Sydney Greenstreet, Rose Hobart, Charles Drake and Grant Mitchell. Music is by Frederick Hollander and cinematography by Merritt B. Gerstad.
Still under exposed after all these years, Conflict is deserving of reappraisals by the film noir crowd. Plot has Richard Mason (Bogart) stuck in a loveless marriage to Kathryn (Hobart), with his misery further compounded by the fact he's in love with his sister-in-law, Evelyn (Smith). Finally having enough, Richard murders his wife and intends to woo the younger Evelyn into his life. However, when Richard starts glimpsing his wife out in the city and little items of hers start turning up, Richard starts to doubt his own mind.
In essence it's a psychological thriller spiced with German Expressionism, perhaps unsurprising given that Bernhardt and Siodmak are key components of the production. The psychoanalysis angle played out would of course become a big feature in the film noir cycle, and here it makes for a most interesting story as Bernhardt and Gerstad dress it up in looming shadows, rain sodden streets and treacherous mountain roads. The pungent air of fatalism is evident throughout, the pace of the piece purposely sedate to marry up with the sombre tones as Richard Mason, a disturbed menace, him self becomes menaced.
Ok, you don't have to be an ace detective to figure out just exactly what is going on, so the reveal at film's closure lacks a bit of a punch, but the atmospherically tinged journey is well worth undertaking regardless. Bernhardt's camera is often like some peeping tom spying on the warped machinations of Mason, and all the while Hollander adds thematically compliant music to proceedings. Bogart was pretty much press ganged into making the picture, but come the final product it's evident that even though he may have been unhappy initially, he ended up delivering one the most intriguing turns in his wonderful career.
Greenstreet is his usual presence, here playing the psychiatrist family friend who delivers the telling lines whilst being ahead of the game. Unfortunately the two principal lady characters aren't done any favours by the otherwise taut screenplay, especially Evelyn, who as the catalyst for the sinister shadings never gets chance to build a strong emotional bridge to Richard Mason's psychological make-up. Still, when you got Bogart as an unhinged killer attired in trench-coat and fedora, and a director who knows how to place him in the right visual scenarios, the flaws can't kill the film's strengths. 7/10
I came across this one by chance, and am so glad I did. I've got a lot of Bogart films but had never heard of this one, which is odd because it's absolutely terrific. Bogart plays the murderous, tormented husband to perfection, and Sydney Greenstreet is equally impressive as the mild and humorous psychiatrist friend who ..... (enough said on that, don't want to spoil the outcome for you). The sets are magnificent, all dark and broody, with lots of rain-soaked exteriors, lonely mountain passes, stylish houses and a warm and cosy country lodge. Bogart, always a dapper dresser, looks even better than usual in this, with well tailored suits and a watch to die for! The cinematography is innovative and clever, and is done full justice by an excellent DVD print, which really brings out the mandatory light, shade and shadows for any good Film Noir. A good supporting cast, including Rose Halton, who plays the waspish wife, although t Alexis Smith seems just a little too knowing and sophisticated for the innocent younger sister. The story line is a bit predictable, but the real point here is to enjoy the atmosphere. So, all in all, a wonderful, little-known gem of a movie.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2012
this is more of a routine film in the varied career of humphrey bogart. it certainly isn't one of his classics, like "treasure of sierre madre," "the big sleep" or "black legion."
"conflict" has a weak script, no surprises in the plot, average direction but the cast make it watchable.
as the suspected wife-murderer, bogart gives a good performance as his character begins to crack under the strain as he thinks he sees his "dead" wife alive and walking the streets.
sidney greenstreet and alexis smith are a bit wasted as i didn't feel they were given much to do. i am glad this film is only on for a short time as it is would have stretched the plot to snapping point.
the picture and sound quality on this dvd are very good, especially considering the age of the footage.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2011
This is a fairly competent programmer, made in 1945, which exploits the box-office popularity of two of Warner's major stars, Sidney Greenstreet and Humphrey Bogart.
Basically, the plot is this. Richard Mason (Bogart) is unhappily married to Kathryn (Rose Hobart) and has fallen in love with her younger sister Evelyn (Alexis Smith). Driving them both back from a party one night he goes off the road and crashes. The two women are unhurt but Mason breaks his leg, laying him up for a while. While immobilised he hatches a plot to murder Kathryn. Using his broken leg as an alibi (he starts walking long before he lets on that he can), he ambushes Kathryn one night while she is driving on a lonely mountain road, killing her and running the car off the road into a ravine so it looks as if she's been killed in an accident. He then tries to pursue Evelyn, who is much younger than him. However, a family friend, the psychiatrist Dr. Mark Hamilton (Greenstreet) smells a rat...
This film was made during the period (roughly 1941-48) when Bogart was at the height of his powers and making his greatest films ("High Sierra" and "The Maltese Falcon" (1941), "Casablanca" (1942), "To Have and Have Not" (1944), "The Big Sleep" (1946), and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and "Key Largo" (1948)). It is also unique in that it is the only film in which he appeared with Sidney Greenstreet where Greenstreet was the hero and Bogart the villain.
However, it has to be said that it is not one of Bogart's greatest films (nor Greenstreet's, for that matter). The main problem lies in the fact that we know all along that Bogart is the murderer - there is no element of the whodunnit to hold the interest. This dodge is rarely successful and has to be used with great skill to be effective - "Kind Hearts and Coronets" and "Double Indemnity" are the only really successful uses of this device that I know of. Bogart seems to sense this all the way through - his characterisation of Mason veers from the world-weary and heart-broken (Rick Blaine in "Casablanca") through the harshly pragmatic (Sam Spade in "The Big Sleep") to the wildly psychotic (Roy Earle in "High Sierra"), without ever being completely convincing or consistent. Greenstreet, too, that Uber-character-actor, is out of place playing the good guy. His strength lay in the portrayal of avaricious but bluff villainy that we see in films such as "Casablanca", "Macao" and "The Mask of Dimitrios" - wonderfully atmospheric films in which his shady persona can blossom and convince. He simply wasn't right playing the hero, in this or any other film.
The rest of the main cast - Charles Drake (playing Evelyn's drippy love-interest Norman Holdsworth), Rose Hobart (the doomed wife) and Patrick O'Moore (Lt. Egan, the policeman in cahoots with Dr. Hamilton) - are largely colourless and bland, doing nothing for the film's impact and barely holding the viewer's attention. Only Alexis Smith (Evelyn) has any real presence, acting as an adequate counterweight to Bogart's portrayal of the clever but flawed anti-hero.
So, all in all a harmless diversion for an hour or two, but not one of anyone's greatest efforts.
P.S. Look out for what seems to be a replica of the Maltese Falcon perched high up on a sideboard early on in the film.