Dead Reckoning (1947) John Cromwell
Columbia DVD – interlibrary loan
Rip Murdock (Humphrey Bogart) stealthily slips and slides through city streets and in desperation, ducks into a church. Once there he corners a priest to tell him his story before the people he’s running away from can catch up to him. It seems that Murdock and his paratrooper buddy Johnny Drake (William Prince) have attracted a lot of attention on their return from WWII. When the train stops and the press want to photograph and interview Drake for his medal-earning bravery during the war, Drake runs away and hops another train headed in the other direction, leaving Murdock alone and confused. Later, Murdock learns that Drake was killed in an auto accident in Drake’s hometown of Gulf City. Suspecting that someone’s hiding something, Murdock goes Gulf City to investigate.
Although the turnout for Monday night’s films was disappointing, it was a Monday night, and, as one of my friends reminded me, any opportunity to see these films on a large screen is an opportunity worth celebrating.
September was a bear. Not only was it your typical frantic/insane atmosphere around here, we also suffered an unexpected death in the family, so the number of films watched is far below normal. I also completed one TV series in September and made significant progress on two more. Although some of my entries are very abbreviated, here’s what I watched in September:
High Sierra (1941)
Directed by Raoul Walsh
Produced by Hal B. Wallis and Mark Hellinger
Written by John Huston and W.R. Burnett, based on the Burnett novel
Cinematography by Tony Gaudio
Edited by Jack Killifer
Music by Adolph Deutsch
TCM Greatest Classic Gangsters – Humphrey Bogart DVD (1:40)
“You know, Mac, sometimes I feel like I don’t know what it’s all about anymore.”
– Roy Earle
It may be true that The Petrified Forest (1936) helped launch Humphrey Bogart’s career, but High Sierra (1941) made him a star. Roy Earle is a much more complex character than Duke Mantee and Bogart’s acting chops had developed nicely in the five years between roles. While High Sierra lifted Bogart to the upper tier of leading men, the film also signaled the demise of the gangster picture, a genre that had seemingly endless staying power in the 1930s.
The Petrified Forest (1936)
Directed by Archie Mayo
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Written by Robert E. Sherwood (play), Charles Kenyon, Delmer Daves
Cinematography by Sol Polito
Edited by Owen Marks
TCM Greatest Classic: Gangsters – Humphrey Bogart DVD (1:22)
The Petrified Forest has achieved lasting fame as a precursor to film noir and for providing Humphrey Bogart with the career-launching role of gangster Duke Mantee. The film was based on a play of the same name by Robert E. Sherwood, which also starred Bogart and Leslie Howard. Howard plays Alan Squier, a drifter who wanders into a ramshackle diner in the Arizona desert town of Black Mesa, near the Petrified Forest. There he meets Gabrielle Maple (Bette Davis, just 28 at the time), daughter of the owner of the diner.
August is off to a good start! Let’s see what there is to talk about so far this month…
Deadline U.S.A. (1952) (2x)
Written and directed by Richard Brooks
Produced by Sol. C. Siegel
Cinematography by Milton R. Krasner
Edited by William B. Murphy
Music by Cyril Mockridge (Sol Kaplan, uncredited)
20th Century Fox
Kino Lorber Blu-ray (1:27)
To my great shame, I have never been much of a newspaper reader, but I’ve always loved stories about newspaper life. I first saw Deadline U.S.A. many years ago when I was a teenager and like many other kids of my era, thought it would be adventurous, daring and maybe even dangerous to work for a newspaper. Even back then, though, it seemed Humphrey Bogart wasn’t the type of guy you’d associate with being a newspaper editor. What would Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe be doing sitting behind a desk? I was about to find out.