Across the Pacific (1942)

Genres - War  |   Sub-Genres - War Spy Film, Romantic Adventure  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Although certainly not of the caliber of The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Casablanca (1942), Across the Pacific remains a fine piece of slam-bang entertainment, Warner Bros.-style. Not that the drama makes that much sense, but the film is so skillfully acted and directed that such complaints become academic. Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Sydney Greenstreet appear exactly as you have come to expect -- which is as it should be -- but the key character here is Victor Sen Yung's Joe Totsuiko, one of the era's most treacherous villains. A second-generation immigrant seemingly full of vim and vigor, Totsuiko actually personifies the fate of most Japanese-Americans, who were actively rounded up and interned as filming of Across the Pacific progressed. (According to Mary Astor, Warner Bros. was forced to endlessly replace Japanese actors and crew members as they were rounded up by the U.S. government, but in reality, most of the original supporting players were either of Chinese or Korean origin.) Audiences in 1942, however, were thus told never to trust the Totsuikos of this world, never mind how all-American they may seem, a regrettable sentiment, but perhaps understandable under the circumstances. Writer Richard Macauley based his screenplay on Robert Garson's serialized magazine story Aloha Means Goodbye, but the snappy repartee between Bogart and a very funny Miss Astor is all Macauley and adds tremendously to Across the Pacific's entertainment value. As does Byron Haskin and William Van Enger's special effects and cinematographer Arthur Edeson's fluid camera.