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Dark Passage Review


Good
A minor classic in the noir genre, Dark Passage is nonetheless too simplistic and too unbelievable to make much of an impression. Bogart is typically great as a falsely-accused prison escapee searching for his wife's real killer, while Bacall is also good as the woman who inexplicably helps him out. The gimmick? Bogie gets plastic surgery to become Bogie -- and he doesn't appear on camera for nearly an hour until the bandages are off. Also of note: Stephen King appears to have borrowed large chunks of Dark Passage for his novella The Shawshank Redemption.

Dark Passage Review


Good
A minor classic in the noir genre, Dark Passage is nonetheless too simplistic and too unbelievable to make much of an impression. Bogart is typically great as a falsely-accused prison escapee searching for his wife's real killer, while Bacall is also good as the woman who inexplicably helps him out. The gimmick? Bogie gets plastic surgery to become Bogie -- and he doesn't appear on camera for nearly an hour until the bandages are off. Also of note: Stephen King appears to have borrowed large chunks of Dark Passage for his novella The Shawshank Redemption.

Mildred Pierce Review


Excellent
Joan Crawford's Oscar-winning performance in 1945's Mildred Pierce was a career pinnacle she reached after a long and hard climb back from near oblivion. Labeled box-office poison and dumped from MGM, Crawford turned to Warner Brothers and put herself in the very capable hands of their film noir experts with sensational results. Swallowing her pride and taking a role that had already been turned down by three leading ladies, including her arch nemesis Bette Davis, was the smartest thing Crawford ever did. (Fans of Mommie Dearest will remember how Crawford "took to her bed" with a fake illness on Oscar night rather than attend the ceremony and risk losing in person.)

The luscious blacks and whites of this melodramatic noir classic suit Crawford's kabuki-like visage perfectly. As the ambitious, neurotic, and much put upon Mildred, Crawford is all eyebrows, cheekbones, and lipstick as she frantically tries to hold her little family together and make her way as a single mother and businesswoman.

Continue reading: Mildred Pierce Review

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Review


Essential
It's too bad that one of the greatest films of all time is remembered for a line ("We don't need no stinkin' badges!") that doesn't appear in the film. (It's actually, "We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" Must be something about Bogart movies and misquoted lines...)

It's also too bad that one of cinema's great adventures is often forgotten as one of cinema's great tragedies, too.

Continue reading: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Review

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