Silver Screen Icons: Humphrey Bogart [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Across the Pacific
A lively espionage drama that reunited the stars and director of the previous year's The Maltese Falcon, Across the Pacific was originally envisioned as the story of a Japanese invasion of Hawaii. Real-life events of December of 1941, however, precluded such a scenario and the location was changed to the Panama Canal. For reasons known only to Warner Bros., the title was retained despite the fact that none of the action takes place in the Pacific. Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Leland, a disgraced ex-army man, who, after being turned down by the Canadian military, jumps a Japanese steamer bound for the Panama Canal Zone. Also onboard are Alberta Marlow (Mary Astor), a small-town girl claiming to be en route to Los Angeles; Dr. Lorenz (Sydney Greenstreet), a corpulent sociologist with a suspiciously friendly regard for all things Japanese; and Joe Totsuiko (Victor Sen Yung), a happy-go-lucky second generation Japanese-American on his way to visit the old country. But no one is exactly who he or she claims to be and the voyage from Halifax via New York City to Panama becomes a matter of life and death for the passengers in general, and for the future of the United States in particular. Director John Huston was forced to leave the film three weeks into the four-week shooting schedule when summoned to report to the Department of Special Services. According to Huston, he purposefully placed Humphrey Bogart's character in a highly precarious situation and left it up to his replacement, Vincent Sherman, to come up with the solution -- which Sherman did in an especially fiery climax. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Action in the North Atlantic
Action in the North Atlantic is solid wartime propaganda with a rather endearing inner lining of left-wing politics, courtesy (no doubt) of scenarist John Howard Lawson, who based his screenplay on a novel by maritime specialist Guy Gilpatric. While running war goods to America's Russian allies, a merchant marine ship captained by Raymond Massey is torpedoed. The courage of Massey and his first mate Humphrey Bogart serves as an inspiration to the survivors, who manage to navigate their tiny lifeboat to America, where they are lauded as heroes. After only the briefest of compassionate leaves (Massey is reunited with wife Ruth Gordon, while Bogart strikes up a relationship with Julie Bishop), the crew is assigned a new Liberty Ship. Despite fears of being torpedoed again, Massey, Bogart, and the other men successfully bring their cargo to Russia, shooting down several German planes in the process. As the Americans are cheered on by the smiling, well-fed Russian seamen and peasants, Action in the North Atlantic fades out, with the voice of Franklin D. Roosevelt (actually radio announcer Art Gilmore) heard on the soundtrack encouraging a "United Nations" allegiance against the axis. The supporting cast of Action in the North Atlantic includes a young newcomer by the name of Bernard Zanville, whose billing was changed to "Dane Clark" upon the film's release. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Passage to Marseille
Designed as a followup to the enormously successful Casablanca, Passage to Marseille utilizes the talents of many of the on- and off-screen personnel of the earlier Warner Bros. classic. Unfolded in a complex flashback-within-flashback structure, this is the story of Matrac (Humphrey Bogart), a freedom-loving French journalist who sacrifices his happiness and security to battle Nazi tyrrany. The film opens as French liason officer Freycinet (Claude Rains), stationed in London, tells Mantrac's story to a British reporter (John Loder). Freycinet reveals that Mantrac, happily married to Paula (Michele Morgan), was framed by pro-fascists and sentenced to Devil's Island. Here he engineered a daring escape with such lost souls as Marius (Peter Lorre), Garou (Helmut Dantine), Petit (George Tobias) and Renault (Philip Dorn). Adrift in a lifeboat, the escapees were picked up by a French vessel commandeered by pro-fascist Major Duval (Sydney Greenstreet). With the help of Mantrac and the prisoners, the ship's patriotic captain (Victor Francen) thwarted Duval's evil machinations, enabling Mantrac to continue his battle against Nazism as a member of the RAF. By modern standards, Passage to Marseille is overproduced, overdirected, overacted and overscored (by Max Steiner); however, it filled a definite need in wartime America, and proved a huge financial success. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

They Drive by Night
They just don't make 'em like They Drive By Night anymore. This slam-bang Warner Bros. attraction stars George Raft and Humphrey Bogart as Joe and Paul Fabrini, owners of a small but scrappy trucking firm. The film deftly combines comedy with thrills for the first half-hour or so, as the Fabrini boys battle crooked distributors and unscrupulous rivals while establishing their transport company. Things take a potentially tragic turn when the overworked Paul Fabrini falls asleep at the wheel and cracks up, losing an arm in the accident. He's pretty bitter for a while, but, with the help of his loving wife, Pearl (Gale Page), Paul eventually snaps out of his self-pity and goes to work as a dispatcher for the Fabrinis' company. Meanwhile, Joe's on-and-off romance with wisecracking waitress Cassie Hartley (Ann Sheridan) is threatened by the presence of seductive Lana Carlsen (Ida Lupino), the wife of glad-handing trucking executive Ed Carlsen (Alan Hale). At this point, the film metamorphoses into a remake of the 1935 Paul Muni-Bette Davis vehicle Bordertown. Desperately in love with Joe, Lana murders her husband, making it look like an accident, then offers Joe half-interest in Carlsen's organization. Joe accepts the offer, but spurns Lana's romantic overtures, whereupon the scheming vixen accuses Joe of plotting Carlsen's murder. Thus, the stage is set for a spectacular courtroom finale, completely dominated by a demented Lana, whose "mad scene" rivals those of Ophelia and Lucia di Lammermoor. In addition to the full-blooded performances by the stars and the virile direction by Raoul Walsh, They Drive By Night benefits immeasurably from the nonstop brilliant dialogue by Jerry Wald and Richard Macaulay -- especially in an early lunch-counter scene between Ann Sheridan and George Raft, generously seasoned with hilarious double- and single-entendres. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Humphrey Bogart
    Humphrey Bogart - Richard Lomas Leland
  • Sydney Greenstreet
    Sydney Greenstreet - Dr. Lorenz
  • Mary Astor
    Mary Astor - Alberta Marlow
  • Charles Halton
    Charles Halton - A.V. Smith
  • Victor Sen Yung
    Victor Sen Yung - Joe Totsuiko
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