Dark Passage (1947)

Genres - Mystery, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Film Noir, Romantic Mystery  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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This sturdy 1947 noir makes great use of its economical script, its San Francisco location shots, and its leads' well-established sexual chemistry. The winding hills, world-famous bridges, and prison proximity of the Bay Area are integral to the story, while the city's non-geographical features (its mixture of affluence and squalor, misfits and money men) provides plenty of fuel for the film's shadowy atmosphere. Humphrey Bogart inhabits his tight-lipped everyman, Vincent Parry, with typical aplomb, even in the first act when he's only a voice. Lauren Bacall, meanwhile, plays it more vulnerable than in To Have and Have Not, her lonely heiress acting out oedipal redemption scenarios that give the real-life couple's unlikely screen pairing more verisimilitude than usual. Character actors Bruce Bennett, Tom D'Andrea, and Houseley Stevenson turn in top-notch work as the friends both new and old who help Parry establish his new identity, while the performer who plays the villain (and will not be disclosed here) does a powerhouse job. Overseen by veteran writer/director Delmer Daves, Dark Passage is a less crowd-pleasing but darkly seductive entry in the Bogie and Bacall canon.