Sunday, July 8, 2012

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin- When Humphrey Bogart Single-Handedly Built The Second Front In World War II (Sort Of)-“All Through The Night”- A Film Review

Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for Humphrey Bogart’s All Through The Night.

DVD Review

All Through The Night, starring Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, Warner Brothers, 1941

No question, no question at all, at least cinematically, Humphrey Bogart did not like Nazis. In the United States or abroad. And he was willing to do something about it, cinematically. We all know and loved his dashing role as Rick, the owner of Rick’s American Café, in Casablanca, where he got off the dime and decided that the love interests of three little people in this wicked old world were not “worth a hill of beans” compared to lining up, lining up gratis as it turned out, against the Nazis (and their Vichy French sympathizers) and helping freedom-fighter Victor Lazlo out of a jam. Ditto when some second level free-fighter gets dinged in Vichy French Martinique and, he, Captain Harry Morgan this time, has to get off another dime and help the good old cause in To Have Or Have Not. Of course there love interest Lauren Bacall as a wayward fellow traveler made that decision so much easier.

Now to the film under review, a lesser film, and obviously one released (December 2, 1941) before the Americans went into World War II big time, All Through The Night, and Mister Bogart’s efforts to derail the German “fifth columnists” (real enough) infesting New York City and other American locales. Bogart, as “sportsman” (I am being nice) Gloves Donohue, the toast of Broadway is incensed when the guy who delivers his thrice daily cheesecake is mysteriously murdered. And when another “colleague” from the entertainment business is offed and he is the “fall guy,” patsy, he determinedly decides to get to the bottom of these cases.

And at the bottom is that a Nazi spy ring that is planning, planning assiduously a big time event, in New York Harbor. Naturally, after much rigmarole Gloves saves the day but not before taking care of that ring, and its nefarious leader, Ebbing (played by Conrad Veidt, last seen as a German Major at the Casablanca airfield very dead from a Rick bullet after trying to stop Victor Lazlo from doing his anti-Nazi business. Of course, the surprise in all of this rather long film given the rather simple task, is that it is played half-way for laugh.

Gloves Donohue, unlike Bogie portrayals of hardened criminals like Duke Mantee in Petrified Forest or Roy ‘The Boy” Earle in High Sierra is strictly out of some second-rate Damon Runyon hi-jinx episode. So there is plenty of slapstick, and wistful colorful New York language, to accompany this ferreting out of ‘fifth columnists” in our midst. Frankly I liked his grittily determined efforts as Rick and Captain Morgan better (and the female company provided a little better as well, although Leda, his love interest here and in a jam as well, could sing a torch tune, no question.) Like I say though chalk up one Humphrey Bogart as a guy that Nazis (and on the run hoods, who like to slap girls around, like Johnny Rico in Key Largo) should stay away from, very far away.

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