Friday, August 1, 2008
|7:00 p.m.||Dark Passage|
Delmer Daves (U.S., 1947)
Introduced by Barry Gifford
Barry Gifford is a screenwriter and novelist. He is the author of The Devil Thumbs a Ride, and Other Unforgettable Films, and was founding editor of Black Lizard Books.
Wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, Vincent Parry (Humphrey Bogart) escapes from San Quentin and finds his way to San Francisco, bent on flushing out the fiend who set him up. Once there, he is harbored by a pouty but protective artist played by real-life wife Lauren Bacall. Keenly placed in the charmed but ominous topography of the City, Dark Passage journeys through the Presidio and North Beach and comes to roost along the Filbert Steps, where Bacall lives in a famed Art Deco apartment. But what’s most notable about the view is what is not seen: Bogey’s face. Using a subjective camera, much like Lady in the Lake, the film shows the escaped con at most in shadowed profile. This darkly evasive effect is heightened by a plot turn: to remain at large, Parry opts for plastic surgery. When the bandages finally come off, it’s definitely not John Garfield. Faithful to Goodis’s fervid ways, Dark Passage is not so much about the moral morass of the past as it is about facing the future.
• Written by Daves, based on the serialized novel Dark Passage by David Goodis. Photographed by Sid Hickox. With Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett, Agnes Moorehead. (106 mins, B&W, 35mm, From Warner Bros.)