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NOIR: Dark Passage

(Rated M)

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"Same eyes. Same nose. Same hair. Everything else seems to be in a different place."

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Humphrey Bogart stars as Vincent Parry, a prisoner who escapes from San Quentin on a mission to prove he’s innocent of the crime for which he was convicted – killing his wife. After his first hitchhiking attempt goes horribly awry, he scores with Irene (Lauren Bacall) giving him a lift. Turns out Irene has a personal interest in wrongful convictions, and had followed Parry’s case with great sympathy. Bogie quickly realises his escape won’t last long with his highly publicised, utterly unique facial features, and goes in for some dodgy, backroom plastic surgery. When Parry returns from the surgery he finds his hideaway host and good friend George has been murdered. Agnes Moorehead is delightful as always playing Madge, a former lover that Parry spurned. The ever-developing twists and turns of this San Francisco-set noir thriller are as complex as the film itself is enchanting.

Why You Should See This Film

Based on a story by crime fiction author David Goodis serialised in the Saturday Evening Post, this 1947 film made the unique, evocative decision to not show Bogart’s character’s face until after plastic surgery. This is the third of four films Bogie and Bacall made whilst a real life couple (preceded by The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, followed by Key Largo), and their chemistry onscreen sizzles, though to be honest, Bacall is so sultry she could have chemistry with a ham sandwich. Many argue this film exceeds the duo’s more famous works in terms of (oozing) atmosphere and creeping dread. It’s a lot less commonly screened, and we’ve got a newly restored version to present as part of our winter noir series.

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  • Year: 1947
  • Rating: M
  • Director: Delmer Daves
  • Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett
  • Duration: 106 minutes
  • Language: English
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