Friday, 19 November 2010
Dark Passage 
When you think of the then-electric pairing of Bogart and Bacall, you think of Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, even Key Largo for that matter; Dark Passage tends to feature much lower in that list. However, suffice it to say, despite the movie’s relative anonymity, it continues to remain a competent example of noir. Some might scoff at it and call it a gimmick, but there’s no doubting the fact that Dark Passage had one of the most audacious first forty minutes you can think of – the protagonist’s face wasn’t shown, rather the occurrences were shown through his eyes. The movie has Humphrey Bogart as an escaped convict who is on the lookout for the person who framed him in his wife’s murder. He is helped in his mission by Lauren Bacall, who provides him with the much-needed shelter post a plastic surgery operation that he undergoes to change his face. The presence of a slimy blackmailer starts acting as a thorn in his relentless seek for “out of court” justice. The plot, true to the school of filmmaking it belongs to, twists and turns, with the atmosphere being as claustrophobic, disorienting and bleak as it gets. The movie might have employed a very economical script which in my opinion could have been more compact, Bogart ensured no one’s bored for even a minute with his powerful portrayal of a common man pushed to the edge of his sanity, and ready to go the distance to get his job done.
p.s. Dark Passage is part of Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection, a wonderful boxset release by Warner Bros.
Director: Delmer Daves
Genre: Thriller/Film Noir/Mystery