Dark Passage [Blu-ray]
Tagline – Two of a kind!… Tough!… Torrid!… Terrific!
Starring – Humphrey Bogart (Vincent Parry), Lauren Bacall (Irene Jansen), Bruce Bennett (Bob), Agnes Moorehead (Madge Rapf).
Released – September, 1947
Directed By – Delmer Daves
Produced By – Warner Brothers
Distributed By – Warner Brothers
Description – Vincent Parry, convicted of murdering his wife, has just escaped from San Quentin prison by stowing away in a garbage truck. He is out to prove his innocence.
Eluding police, Parry hitches a ride with a man named Baker. While driving, a radio broadcast announces the escape and Baker realizes that he may have given a lift to the escaped convict. His suspicions provoke Parry into knocking him out and stealing his clothes. While attempting to hide the unconscious Baker, and planning to steal his car, another motorist stops.
Painter Irene Jansen, who somehow knows Parry’s name, offers to help him. She brings Vincent to her San Francisco apartment and tells him that she had followed his trial very closely and believes him to be innocent. She goes on to tell him that her father was also wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder and ended up dying in prison.
Irene goes out to buy some new clothes for Vincent while he remains in her apartment. There is a knock at the door and a woman asks for Irene. Vincent, without opening the door, tells her that Irene is not home. This, however, was not just any woman’s voice. Vincent recognizes the voice to be Madge Rapf, a former flame, who testified against Vincent at his trial. This coincidence is more than a little too suspicious.
When Irene returns, Vincent asks about her relationship with Madge. Irene tells him that she is dating Madge’s former friend Bob. This explanation raises more questions then it answers for Vincent.
Later that evening, Vincent leaves Irene’s apartment to begin his search for evidence that might help clear him. He is picked up by a taxi driven by a man named Sam who also recognizes Vincent and is sympathetic to his situation.
Sam tells Vincent that he can’t successfully search to clear his name with a face that just about anyone in the city will know. He suggests Vincent see Dr. Walter Coley, a plastic surgeon, who can alter his appearance.
Vincent agrees to the idea and arranges to stay with his only friend George Fellsinger while he heals from the surgery. Dr. Coley performs the operation and Vincent, with his face wrapped in bandages and unable to speak, returns to George’s apartment. When arriving he finds his friend dead.
Vincent returns to Irene’s apartment noticing Baker’s car parked outside. Too weak to think of this as anything other than a coincidence he collapses at her door. Irene brings him inside and begins to nurse him back to health.
It isn’t long before Vincent and Irene learn that he is now suspected of murdering George Fellsinger.
Once healed, Vincent checks into a hotel using the name Alan Lynell. He has been followed and is soon accosted by Baker who demands $60,000 in blackmail money to keep quiet. Vincent tells Baker that he has no money, but Baker informs him that Irene is wealthy and he can get the money from her. If Vincent does this, Baker will get him a fake passport.
While driving to Irene’s apartment, Vincent overcomes Baker and questions him. Baker tells him that he was followed by someone in an orange convertable when Vincent went to his friend George’s apartment.
Another struggle ensues between the two men and Baker falls over a cliff to his death. Now, not only will Vincent have to prove himself innocent of killing his wife, but also innocent of George’s murder, and now Baker.
It’s beginning to look as if Vincent was better off in San Quentin. And as for Irene Jansen, her sympathy for Vincent’s dilemma is a mask for an agenda all her own.
NOTABLE: Dark Passage was the third of four films made by husband and wife Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
This was the first motion picture where Humphrey Bogart would wear a full hairpiece. Bogart’s hair, at this time, was rapidly falling out due to a severe vitamin deficiency.
Dark Passage is notable for the first third of the film being shot from the point of view of Bogart’s character. His unseen face is not seen clearly until the scene where he removes the bandages from his character’s plastic surgery and looks into a mirror.
At the time of the films production, Humphrey Bogart was Hollywood’s highest-paid actor earning in the neighborhood of $450,000 a year.