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TomJH

DARK PASSAGE

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I couldn't cut and paste this, but it talks about Madge's suicide. Quite an interesting, serious take:

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=UlOZAmfTAacC&pg=PA195&lpg=PA195&dq=madgesuicidedark+passage&source=bl&ots=BN_QfBMFVV&sig=yQuKMTnTtbU1RBfIRm0jlvO-5a4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_fO8UcyrGqTM0wGs1oHwDg&ved=0CCkQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=madge%20suicide%20dark%20passage&f=true

 

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}I love *Dark Passage*, and despite various comments here from people explaining why they prefer other Bogart / Bacall films, cannot understand why anyone wouldn't rate it as highly as them. (the other B & B movies.)

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> There's so much to enjoy in *Dark Passage*: the on-location shooting of San Francisco and its fascinating buildings and labyrinthine streets, the off-beat story, and the performances of both its leads and its character actors (as Tom has noted.)

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I can easily understand *why* some people would rank Dark Passage at the bottom of the Bogart/Bacall list. The reasons have been well spelled out by critics and by others here. But even though my head tells me that it's the least of the B/B combo films, I've always enjoyed it the most. Why?

 

Part of it's that I like the city setting. Part of it's that I can't resist Agnes Moorehead's pure evil ugliness, Tom D'Andrea's strange cab driver character, and Clifton Young's perfectly pitched "cheap crook". Part of it's the way that the movie runs the cliche of Everyone is Suspicious of Our Hero For No Apparent Reason nearly into the ground, as misswonderly notes, along with that surgeon's throwaway line.

 

But the main reason I keep coming back to Dark Passage is the sheer romaticism of the improbable pairing of a falsely accused, rather weatherworn, mid-40ish man on the lam with a drop-dead gorgeous 23-year old woman of flaring nostrils and independent means, complete with a ready-made theme song that follows them all the way from her apartment in San Francisco to a little bar in Peru. To me the whole movie is just too marvelous for words, cinematic flaws be damned.

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Hmmm...well Andy, most people seemed to accept the 25 year age difference between Coop and Patricia Neal in [/i]The Fountainhead[/i], I believe.

 

(...though personally, I always had a little problem "accepting" Ayn Rand's overall PREMISE in that sucker!!!) ;)

 

LOL

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A probing, intelligent writeup, as always, MissW.

 

*MissW wrote:* *And how come all the major characters in the story know "Madge", anyway? How is it that Lauren Bacall's character - and her boyfriend -(Bruce Bennett) are acquainted with the same woman who put Bogart's character in jail ? What are the odds of that? Nobody seems to think it odd that they all know "Madge". When Bogart / Vincent first hears her, outside Bacall's door, one of them says "It's Madge", and they just accept that they both know her. Vincent doesn't ask Irene (Bacall) "How do you know this woman?"*

 

Well, I think you may have just answered your own question as to why some people are not as enthused with Dark Passage as you are (though I'm not one of those critics). The story does have a lot of implausibilities. Personally, though, with my love of the atmosphere of the film, in particular those Frisco shots, its overall romanticism because the Bogie-Baby magic does come alive at times in the film's second half (particularly the film's closing scene), and those great supporting character performances, that's what really matters about Dark Passage for me, moreso than its script weaknesses, some of which you just described.

 

*Also, the scene in the diner, when Vincent's planning to leave town. Why, oh why does he tell the cook what part of the paper he wants to read? It would be completely normal to just say "Oh, it doesn't matter, I just like something to read while I eat my breakfast." Why did the cook even ask him ? (all kinds of questions about what part of the paper he wants, what sport in the sports section, etc.) The cook ends up asking himself the same question. There's a tension to this scene, you keep willing Bogart /Vincent to lay low and keep his mouth shut.*

Anyone also notice about that diner scene that it takes Bogart quite a while before he asks the cop asking him all the questions who the heck he is? Bogart, like a little puppet, literally just answers his probing, nervy questions for a 30 seconds or so before finally asking him who he is. Perhaps it's because Bogie's supposed to be scared, possibly he already suspects that he's a cop (the actor playing the cop, by the way, is character actor Douglas Kennedy) and his fear of the man is really palpable. That, in turn, though, is a large part of the great tension of the scene, to which you referred.

 

Not that it's a particularly big deal but has anybody noticed that Franz Waxman's musical score for Dark Passage is merely the same recycled score that had been used three years before for Bogart and Bacall in To Have and Have Not? I mean, this is a major "A" production with big stars. You'd think they might have come up with something musically original for it. I guess Max Steiner just wasn't available.

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Andy, William Powell and Jean Harlow were a real life, as well as screen couple. No, they never had the same popularity as a team as Bogart and Bacall but I think the public accepted them, and Powell was 19 years her senior.

 

 

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{font:arial, helvetica, sans-serif}Hmmm...well Andy, most people seemed to accept the 25 year age difference between Coop and Patricia Neal in {font}{font:arial, helvetica, sans-serif}The Fountainhead{font}{font:arial, helvetica, sans-serif}*, I believe.*

 

Actually, Dargo, it's my understanding that Gary Cooper's wife had a few problems with it. {font}

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I have watched the relevant portions closely several times now.

 

I have no way of knowing what the screenwriter and/or director intended but based on what appears on the screen I am sorry to say that I do not understand how a reasonable person could believe it was a thing other than suicide.

 

She has an Id?e fixe to have him suffer and in such monomania the matter of self-death is a clear option if it furthers the goal.

 

She states several times that his evidence has no meaning if she is not present and states bluntly: "you won't have me" and "I won't be there". It is clear in these statements that she has considered the possibilities of the situation. Those statements are the equivalent of the: "You won't take me alive, copper!" of a trapped hoodlum

 

It is obvious she is manic. It is obvious also that she does not fear him as she stands her ground when he runs at her from the door. It must be remembered also that she murdered two people with improvised weapons and there are similar suitable objects at hand so she could surely expect to defend if needed.

 

She purposely moves towards the window. There is a pause while she considers opening a desk drawer. It may be assumed she has a pistol there and that she might kill him in a manner which does not mimic the deaths of which he is accused. If he were to die in that way she could examine and destroy his evidence before calling the police and claiming self-defense.

 

It is only when he blocks that action that she is left only the recourse of suicide.

 

The height of the window sill can be judged as he leans out and as she is shorter than he is it is simply not possible for her to have gone over if she had not purposely propelled herself over the sill and through the window.

 

Screaming during a fall is a natural reaction. I am reasonably positive that successful Kamikaze pilots screamed in their final moments.

 

I believe it should be considered also that the script is not perfect but to have two people accidentally fall to their deaths in successive scenes would be a hallmark of a script far more trite and lazily-produced than this one is.

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> {quote:title=Dargo2 wrote:}{quote}Hmmm...well Andy, most people seemed to accept the 25 year age difference between Coop and Patricia Neal in *The Fountainhead*, I believe.

>

> (...though personally, I always had a little problem "accepting" Ayn Rand's overall PREMISE in that sucker!!!) ;)

>

> LOL

Since I haven't seen The Fountainhead in about 40 years and have spent the past 40 trying to forget that I ever saw it, my memories of Cooper and Neal as a plausible screen couple will have to defer to yours. But I certainly don't remember them as being a romantic couple in anywhere near the traditional sense that Bogey and Bacall were. In fact that whole movie just seemed like a Randian version of a socialist realist painting, with the only difference being that occasionally a few mouths looked like they moved, showing about as much emotion as Pat Nixon's face while her husband was delivering his "Checkers" speech.

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SansFin, I guess a lot of us with have to agree to disagree on this one. There is enough ambiguity about Moorehead's death scene that people can project upon it to some degree and make a case for or against suicide. It's fun to actually study the scene a few times to try to see the other person's viewpoint, or confirm your own.

 

While it's completely true that Moorehead is vindictively in Bogart's face for most of that scene, at the very last moment, as he starts towards her, to me, she has a brief look of fear and tries ducking behind the curtain to get away from him. That's when, I believe, the accident occurs.

 

But as already stated on this thread, accident or suicide, Bogart's character is equally in trouble. Thus his flight to South America.

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> {quote:title=TomJH wrote:}{quote}

> Andy, William Powell and Jean Harlow were a real life, as well as screen couple. No, they never had the same popularity as a team as Bogart and Bacall but I think the public accepted them, and Powell was 19 years her senior.

Yeah, that probably is about the best pre-Bogey/Bacall example of a May-December screen couple, since Powell was 19 years older than Harlow. OTOH they never married, and the only movie that ended with them paired with each other was Reckless. In Libeled Lady Powell wound up with Myrna Loy while Harlow (finally) hooked Spencer Tracy.

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For those interested, during the production of Dark Passage Lauren Bacall offended cameraman Sid Hickok by criticizing the manner in which he photographed one of the scenes. Director Delmer Daves had the following anecdote about how he decided to teach Bacall a lesson because of that. The anecdote also shows what a sensitive bowl of mush "tough guy" Bogart was when it came to his Baby.

 

“I decided to teach Betty a lesson. We lined up for her last scene in the film- one in which Bogie is supposed to telephone her from a bus depot and she gets the call in her apartment. Since it was an important scene, she was anticipating a big close-up, but I told her we were going to photograph her from the back so that the audience could imagine what was going on in her mind. ‘With my back to the camera?’ she said. Tears came into her eyes, but she was a great sport about it and rehearsed it, even though her voice was trembling and she was fighting to hold back the tears. That broke me up and I relented. ‘For God’s sake, Betty, we’re lit for the front,’ I told her . ‘I just wanted to teach you a lesson because you were so cruel to Sid’ ‘I know I was.’ Tears started to come into her eyes, which was just perfect, and that’s how we shot the scene. A few minutes later Bogie came on the set. He saw her sobbing and followed her to her dressing room. When it was time for him to come on set, he had on his great Bogie face- no emotion. Usually, he was a one-take actor, but this time he kept blowing his lines and apologizing. We finally got the scene after eight takes and Bogie came over and said ‘I’m sorry about letting you down but you know what was bothering me. Betty told me what happened, and the kid can still break me up. But I think you did the right thing. Maybe she was getting a bit too big in the britches.’

 

 

This is a shot of the scene involved:

 

 

tumblr_mn3w6srP7Z1qjnz9go1_500.gif

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When I first saw *Dark Passage*, years ago, I was immediately convinced that it is a first-rate noir. I consider it to be the equal of all other Bogart-Bacall pairings, except *The Big Sleep*, which I consider a truly iconic film.

 

I like the half hour of POV photography. I love the amazing cast. I love the surreal Houseley Stevenson scene. I'm pretty sure Tom D'Andrea has played a cab driver, in at least one other film, but I can't come up with a name.

 

As to Madge's death - I think it was intended to be ambiguous. Suicide, and screaming all the was down, trying to implicate Bogart in her 'murder,' would make perfect sense, she hates him so much.

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*VX wrote: When I first saw Dark Passage, years ago, I was immediately convinced that it is a first-rate noir. I consider it to be the equal of all other Bogart-Bacall pairings, except The Big Sleep**, which I consider a truly iconic film.*

 

VX, our tastes appear to be similar in this respect, including ranking The Big Sleep as the best of the Bogart-Bacall films.

 

But was there ever another film in which Bogart was presented as being quite so hot to the ladies? It seems as if every woman in that film wanted to press herself up against this Marlowe's not so padded shoulders. Not only was there Lauren Bacall's character but also her thumb sucking kid sister, a bookstore clerk and a sexy cab driver (and, no, it WASN'T Tom D'Andrea). They all wanted a bit of that Bogie-as-Marlowe action, it would appear.

 

 

It's a good thing, though, that the script of The Big Sleep didn't call for a scene in which Marlowe had to strip off and hang out by one of those sunny LA swimming pools littered with dozens of beautiful women just oogling Marlowe. That carefully crafted studio image of Bogart as middle aged stud material might have been somewhat compromised.

 

 

candid-bogartanorexic_zps12f4745a.jpg

 

 

See what I mean? Nice footwear, though.

 

 

P.S.: I admit that I feel a little guilty about this "joke" posting because it's a bit of a cheap shot at Bogart. I'm merely pointing out the difference between studio crafted screen image and reality. The truth is, though, that this man was the love of Miss Bacall's life. And I'm sure that a lot of the reason for that had nothing to do with his appearance in swim trunks. (Then, again, maybe it did. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder).

 

 

 

 

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Tom, there's one more comment I wanted to make about *Dark Passage.*

There's that scene, very near the end of the film, where Vince / Alan is getting his bus ticket and waiting in the station for it to depart.

Also waiting is a disparate little group of folks, including a rather plain but pleasant looking woman (maybe in her early 30s?) and an equally ordinary looking man. The two of them strike up a conversation, and it becomes clear that they are both lonely. The dialogue makes it plain that the two young children the lady is watching are not hers' -(although she is looking after them.) Although nothing is openly stated, they both smile at each other, and as they board the bus, we're left to assume, or at least hope, that they get to know one another better.

 

It's an oddly touching little scene, apparently having nothing to do with the rest of the story. I think Daves included it to show hope, not just for Bogart's character, but for people in general, ordinary people who so often get "a raw deal."

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MissW, I'm glad that you mentioned that scene. Yes, it is touching to see two lonely people in a bus station making a connection with one another like that. And overhearing their conversation gives Bogart's character the impetus to then call Bacall to ask her if she'll meet him in Peru. That set Dark Passage viewers up for a closing scene of sublime romanticism.

 

For your information the "ordinary looking man" in that scene to whom you made reference was a character actor named John Arledge, who had been appearing in films since the '30s. He had a sizeable role in a Gable/Crawford film called Strange Cargo, and also played W.C. Fields' son in You Can't Cheat an Honest Man. Dark Passage was Arledge's last film, he dying the same year as the film's release (1947).

 

You may or may not recall, however, that a relative of Arledge's (who calls himself brentwin) has been on the TCM message boards, the last time as recently as just May 30th, asking if any of us had any information about him.

 

Here are the links to at least two occasions when brentwin was asking about Arledge:

 

Last year: http://forums.tcm.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8664647�

 

This year: http://forums.tcm.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8762784�

 

I see that no one responded to bretwin two weeks ago. A little ironic, considering some of the dialogue that Arledge had in that last acting scene of his career in Dark Passage: "Nobody gives a hang. Nobody ever seems to care a hang about the other fella. There was a time when folks used to give each other a helping hand."

 

(By the way, I realize that few of us have even heard of Arledge so there's only so much we can do to help brentwin out in his search for information).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yeah, well, the little part of the movie that sticks in MY mind was where Bacall tells Bogie he's gonna need a new name, and so she first suggests it be "Alan Lidden", and to which Bogie then replies that he once knew a guy with a name that sounded like that but he didn't like him much.

 

Well, I sure hope Bogie wasn't talkin' about the guy standing next to her in this picture here, 'cause I always thought the dude seemed pretty darn nice!!!

 

password13.jpg

 

(...and I always liked his game show TOO!!!)

 

;)

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I think that bus stop scene does have everything to do with the story. I think that's really what *Dark Passage* was about. People needing other people. Vincent could not have survived his ordeal without the help of others, the cab driver, the surgeon and of course most importantly Irene.

Those 2 lonely people really sum up how the world is a lonely place, people need other people, that's why we have those 2 characters. I've always felt that's was an important message and what this film is really about. The man at the bus stop talks about how no one cares about the other guy and that's what's wrong with the world. Those 2 getting together and probably forming a family what was so hopeful in the film. That was the motivation tfor Vincent to call Irene. He realized that he needed her, and loved her and that was what life is really about. Helping one another, not being alone and sharing a life together was the message here.

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Wow! Well said, lavender! Gotta admit you and MissW have given me a whole new perspective about the message of this film, alright!

 

(...and here I ALWAYS thought the message of this movie was: "Never pick up any hitchhikers along a stretch of road adjacent to a Maximum Security Prison"!) ;)

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Thank You, Dargo ;) ;) :) *Dark Passage* is a favorite of mine. Loved this film for well over 40 years

and have thought a lot about it. btw, that was a probably a message also, be wary of those hitchikers :^0

(you are the silliest) but we love you anyway. ;)

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Thanks for your insight, lavender. I agree with you, I believe the scene is there for a very good reason, eg, to show that people need one another.

I did say " apparently having nothing to do with the rest of the story", by which I meant, although on the surface there's no plot connection, the scene is important.

 

But I must admit, I had forgotten that aside from the connection with the rest of the film in terms of the message (people need other people, we rely on the kindness of friends and strangers to help us), there is a more tangible plot connection.

As you and Tom both pointed out, it's that conversation about connection with other people, about caring, that prompts Vince / Alan to call Irene and arrange to meet her in Peru.

(I love the way he says "That's a lot of if's.")

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Is that Jack Palance on the far right in the picture with Betty?

 

(Ironic if it is, as I was thinking while watching that Palance would've been a better fit for the Bogart role in Dark Passage. Could've even been his debut.)

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"The password is: 'Exactly' ...DING!" ;)

 

Yep, Addison, that's Jack there, alright.

 

Interesting thought about him playing the role. Might have worked. However, Palance early on in his career especially had "that face", that "extremely GAUNT face", which I think many audiences of the time might have found hard to imagine themselves rooting for as the protagonist, and thus as you know, most of Palance's early roles kept him typecast as the heavy.

 

(...but like I said, it might have worked)

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lavender, as a followup on your sensitive observation about Dark Passage's message about people needing people, it further illustrates why I enjoy Bogart's work in this film so much. Unlike his two previous efforts with Lauren Bacall, To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep, in which he was one tough super cool dude, this film allows him, even within the confines of a conventional thriller, to portray degrees of emotional vulnerability.

 

It seems to me that his vulnerability, both physical and emotional, is particularly well conveyed by director Daves in that already mentioned scene at the bus depot when he is in the phone booth calling Bacall. His physical vulnerability is evidenced, of course, by the sight in the background, unbeknownst to him, of a cop who, at one point, looks over at him as he talks to Bacall, staring at him for a moment.

 

More significantly, though, Bogart's face is soft as he talks to her, his eyes glisten. Bacall has to prod him a bit to get him to make his suggestion that they meet in Peru. ("You didn't just call me to tell me about Madge. There's something else you want me to know," she says, to which he replies, "I never could fool you, could I.") As the lovely strains of Too Marvelous for Words plays on the jukebox in the background, he momentarily almost looks like a little boy fearful of rejection.

 

I like Bogart as an actor for his willingness to portray that vulnerability, and do it so well and with such subtlety.

 

tumblr_mn3w6srP7Z1qjnz9go2_r1_500.gif

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I'll get to *Dark Passage* in a momento...

>Whatever your reason, I shall accept it. What I want to find in our marriage will remain my own concern. I exact no promises and impose no obligations. Incidentally, since it is of no importance to you, I love you.

>

>I wish I had never seen your building. It's the things that we admire or want that enslave us, I'm not easy to bring into submission.

>from *THE FOUNTAINHEAD*

Man, you just can't write gooey romantic lines like that..

No, really you can't . facepalm Yet, it remains a favorite for all the unintended reasons.

 

h3. Dark Passage

h5. . . . which doesn't need pretentiousness to tell a great story.

>mw wrote: Thanks for your insight, lavender. I agree with you, I believe the scene is there for a very good reason, eg, to show that people need one another.

>I did say " apparently having nothing to do with the rest of the story", by which I meant, although on the surface there's no plot connection, the scene is important.

I thought it was a perfect closure to the movie. I thought it bears in mind what happens to our two leads.

It has everything to do with the end of their story. Up to that point, Vincent Perry has life double-dealing him out of control. There was so much deception suffered from the manipulating Madge it would seem difficult to trust again. Yet, there are two strangers about to bring the story full circle through just a glimpse of their experience.

It is the universal message of love and trust beyond the obvious.

 

Edited by: casablancalover2 on Jun 16, 2013 5:24 PM-who really knows how to write, but should stop editing amid the sentience.

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