Friday 17 December 2010

Passage to Marseille [1944]

Passage to Marseille was Michael Curtiz’s follow-up to what is considered his legendary work, Casablanca. Consequently, it has always had to live up to the hype surrounding it. And with the start of the previous movie, Humphrey Bogart in it too, the hype couldn’t have been any stronger. Judging the film purely on its merit is one thing, but with the context too coming into play, it has suffered a lot over the years. However, in my opinion, this is a pretty good movie alright. Okay, it has its share of flaws, but it is important to give the movie the credit that is due to it. Employing a complex series of flashbacks, the movie tells the story of how Bogart’s character, a former journalist wrongly accused of a crime he never committed, has escaped from the hell-hole of Devil’s Island along with a group of fellow convicts, with the desire to be part France’s underground fight during World War II. Bogart’s brooding presence and the combination of world weariness and romanticism that into the role was certainly noteworthy, and the performance of his co-stars in this ensemble adventure/war film, too, goes without saying. And the letter read out during the climax might seem too tear-jerking to some, but there’s no denying its soul-stirring stuff that is bound to make one reflective.

p.s. Passage to Marseille is part of Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection, a wonderful boxset release by Warner Bros.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Genre: War Drama/Adventure
Language: English
Country: US

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