Tuesday, 30 November 2010
High Sierra 
“One man’s loss”, as they say, “is another man’s gain”. George Raft refused a number of roles that he must have rued in hindsight, as they were immortalized by Humphrey Bogart. High Sierra might not have given Bogart such an iconic role as in Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon – some of the now-famous roles that Raft turned down, but it sure kick-started Bogart’s journey as a lead, even if it had its fair share of melodrama and shallowness that could have been avoided. Therefore, at the end of the day, the movie turned out to be a one-man show of sorts, with Bogart playing the role of a middle-aged, recently paroled gangster, planning his last caper. Though seemingly a son-of-a-gun, he is an old-timer when it comes to emotions, and his life arc turns out to of a the proportion of Greek tragedy. Bogart did an exceptional job as Roy Earle, the tough yet painfully solitary gangster, and Ida Lupino, was commendable as his unlikely fiancé. The movie’s pacing is a mixture of fast-paced sequences and moments of deliberation, and is a concoction of a variety of genre conventions – consequently it’s anything but archetypal mobster movie. Further, even thematically is a mixture of crime and punishment, life on the road, unrequited love, to name a few, and thus at the end it has presented a pretty complex tapestry despite not being as tough a movie as one might expect it to be.
p.s. High Sierra is part of Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection, a wonderful boxset release by Warner Bros.
Director: Raoul Walsh
Genre: Crime Drama/Gangster Film/Road Movie