Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Dark Passage


The same year this was made another movie, The Lady in the Lake, was made with the camera being the POV of the actor. In that case it was Robert Montgomery as Philip Marlowe. There, it was pretty much a gimmick. Not here, though you don’t seen Humphrey Bogart’s face until a little over halfway through. For the first part, we see him in shadow, or from behind, but most of the time as a POV shot with the others actors looking into the camera. The reason this is essential is that halfway through, Bogart, as a prisoner escaped from San Quentin, will have plastic surgery to change his face. Before that we see “his” face in the newspapers, and it’s not Bogey. (It’s really Delmer Daves, the director!) Only when the bandages are removed do we see his real face.

(Aside: I thought of some great dialogue for that scene. He and Lauren Bacall are looking in the mirror. She says, “Goodness, you look just like Humphrey Bogart!” And he says, “Yeah, ugly as sin. Why didn’t I ask that sawbones for Cary Grant?” Just an idea.)

Aside from the chemistry between Bogey and Bacall, this isn’t really a very good movie. There is entirely too much coincidence, and the Bogart character does a lot of really stupid things. But it’s fun to watch.