18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Bacall and Bogart together are always worth seeing,
This review is from: To Have & Have Not/Dark Passage [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I'm not in a position to say how closely the film version of 'To Have and To Have Not' follows the Hemmingway source novel (not very much, from what I understand), but I can say that the film is an absolute gem. Bogart plays a skipper of a fishing boat. As in Casablanca, he is trapped in foreign territory belonging to Vichy France. He cares little about the political situation until his hand is forced and he throws in his lot with the Free French. He's the cynic who turns freedom fighter, and no one does this more convincingly than Bogart. Lauren Bacall is the girl whom he falls in love with and who is the unwitting reason for his conversion. Its incredible to think that this is Bacall's screen debut. She was only nineteen when she made this film, yet her performance sizzles. She oozes more sex appeal than Mae West, and yet has more class than Lana Turner. Bacall and Bogart fell in love while making this film, and it shows. The electricity they generate between the two of them could power Las Vegas for a month.
The dialogue, written by Jules Furthman and William Faulkner, is as sharp as a knife. Howard Hawkes' direction is as masterly as always. Add a good supporting cast, especially Walter Brennan as a 'rummy' and a guest appearance from the singer Hoagey Carmichael, and you have all the ingredients of a classic film, which this certainly is.
Dark Passage is hardly likely to go down as one of Bogart and Bacall's greatest celluloid efforts. Bogart is beginning to look his age. The age difference may not have been that noticeable in 'To Have and To Have Not' and 'Casablanca', but a couple of years down the line and Bogart is beginning to look like Bacall's father.
The film starts with Bogart escaping from prison. We see everything though his eyes - literally. The camera is Bogart. This carries on until half way through the film. There is a reason for this, but I won't spoil it for those who have not seen the film. Although this is quite an intriguing idea, I can't say that it works to any great effect. All it does is make you aware of the camera. Why they would want to keep their star off the screen for half the film is a mystery to me. You literally spend that half of the movie waiting for Bogart to appear. Dark Passage has a 1930s B Movie feel to it, and must have appeared dated when it was released in 1950s. Entertaining enough if you catch it on telly or can borrow a copy, but hardly classic Bogart.