Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: All Through the Night
ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT is never ranked among Humphrey Bogart's best films, but it's one of my favorites. Maybe that's because it's the first Bogart film I ever saw, at least that I remember. I watched it on TV one morning at my sister's house, in the summer of 1966. When you remember where and when you saw a movie, you know it made an impression on you. However, there's more than nostalgia operating here. I've seen ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT several times over the years, and I think it holds up very well.
Bogart plays a New York bookie named Gloves Donahue. He's surrounded by a crew of colorful, Damon Runyon-esque characters including Frank McHugh, William Demarest, Phil Silvers, and Jackie Gleason. His mother is played by Jane Darwell. The cast also includes Peter Lorre, Wallace Ford, and Barton MacLane. In other words, this movie is Character Actor Central. If it had had Ward Bond and Frank Faylen in it, it would have been perfect.
So who do you pit against Bogart and this all-star lineup of character actors as the bad guy? Why, Conrad Veidt, of course, as the head of a gang of Nazi spies and saboteurs. The action is plentiful, the dialogue is fast and funny (at one point, Bogart tells Veidt, "There are certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn I'd advise you not to invade"), and it all leads up to an explosive, very satisfying conclusion.
You could write this movie off as propaganda, since it came out just as the U.S. was getting involved in World War II, and I suppose it is. But you'd be wrong to think that's all it is. ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT is funny, exciting, and very pulpish. It's also one of my favorite films, and if you've never seen it, I highly recommend it.