Friday, April 18, 2008

DVD Pick:--> "Dark Passage" (1947)

"Everybody wants to be recognized.
Doesn't matter what you've done.
Some people find it on a big silver screen;
Some find it behind a shotgun.
A small young girl downtown south...
She saw a starlet in a movie house.
She left her momma to stake her big claim.
Poor little girl never gonna be the same."

"Casablanca." "The Maltese Falcon." "The Big Sleep." "Key Largo."

I guess you could say I've been binging at the Bogie Buffet...tasting one classic after another. All four are just a few considered must-sees...and I'm glad I finally got around to introducing my DVD player to them. But the Humphrey Bogart movie that pleasantly caught me off-guard is the often forgotten “Dark Passage” (1947).

There aren't too many directors who would risk keeping the main character's face hidden for nearly half the film...but Delmer Daves pulls it off...shooting from a first person (Bogie) perspective. And it totally works.

Many of Bogart's strongest characters are sympathetic ones...and this one is no exception.

Just as we sympathize with Bogie's Rick Blaine in “Casablanca”, and his Sam Spade in “The Maltese Falcon....the unmistakable “bad hand dealt from life” that his “Dark Passage” character is stuck with...easily has us pulling for him.

In “Dark Passage”...Vincent Parry (Humphrey Bogart) is an innocent man who escapes from prison...going on the lam in hopes of proving his innocence.

Lauren Bacall & Humphrey Bogart
On his search he meets Irene Jansen (Lauren Bacall) looking like a ripe tomato on a freshly made salad. And Madge Rapf (Agnes Moorehead) looking like (in this instance) a stale crouton.

The film is nicely film-noirish with many great shots of San Francisco.
Some of the camera shots chosen by Daves has a Hitchcock-esque style that will keep viewers easily entertained.

The prison escape is a classic to watch...and though this movie is filled with extreme coincidences that stretch our belief at times...because of our love for the "Bogie Man”...we can let some of the happenstance slide.

Must See Moment:
The first 15 minute escape scene is not to be missed.
Also watch for a sweet camera shot of a person falling from a ten story window.
Good stuff!


The band...Detective...was filled with a hodge-podge of previous rock musicians...led by guitarist Michael Monarch (formerly of Steppenwolf) and lead vocalist Michael Des Barres (formerly of Silverhead/Power Station). Their debut album was produced by Jimmy Page and is a lost classic filled with great rock'n'roll.

The album unfairly tanked initially...but the nine tracks sound jamming fresh today floating out of my speakers. With vocals cheek kissing Robert Plants' and a churning undertow like Bad Company...a person could do a lot worse.
Good stuff!

Detective:-->"Recognition" (Detective) (1977) (Must Own)


Grumpies said...

Detective was an awesome band; love their only 2 albums. They also had Tony Kaye who I believe was the original keyboardist for Yes.

Casey said...

It just shows what an eclectic RnR pedigree..."Detective" bandmates were!