All reviews here were submitted by visitors to this site. Please feel free to write your own and . There's no limit on how many reviews will be posted for each movie and, of course, reviews will be accepted for any movie Bogie appeared in.

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All Thought the Night

Humphrey Bogart and "The Bogary Boys"?
Brian J. Smith

I have just seen this film for the first time. I was disappointed. Released on the heels of "The Maltese Falcon", and with great supporting cast, I guess I expected more. Perhaps Bogey was trying to demonstrate his versatility, who knows. "All Through the Night" suffers from a "B" movie plot that reminds one an East Side Kids or Bowery Boys movie.

The opening scenes reminded me of the Louie's Sweet Shop sequences in the old Bowery Boys series. The fight sequence at the end also is reminiscent of similar scenes in those films but on a smaller scale.

The inner plot about the German spy ring operating in New York would have made a better picture if they had eliminated the so-called "Bogary Boys" comedy sequences.

At this stage of his career, Bogey was not very believable trying to be Leo Gorcey, especially after "High Sierra" and "The Maltese Falcon". Fortunately, "Casablanca" was yet to come.

An impressive supporting cast is largely under utilized. The always dependable Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre as two of the fifth column leaders do stand out. Kaaren Verne (who?) as the heroine is adequate. Bogey is given two comic foils in William Demarest and Frank McHugh when neither is really necessary. Judith Anderson is wasted as another of the baddies. Wallace Ford and Barton MacLane two venerable performers are also under utilized in small roles. Also in the cast are a cherubic looking Jackie Gleason and a young Phil Silvers as two of the "Bogary Boys".

Given that this picture was likely filmed in 1941 prior to America's entry into WWII, it is curious to note that the word "German" and "Hitler" are never used in the film.

Not one of Bogey's better pictures in my view.

Tough Guys Take on Treachery
Tara McBride

See tough-guy Humphrey Bogart as a wise-cracking, cheesecake-eating, glove-wearing fight promoter in this little known gem from 1942.

Set in New York City, Bogey stars as Gloves Donahue in this contemporary film. He is joined by Hollywood funnymen Frank McHugh, Phil Silvers, Jacky Gleason, and William Demarest, best known to modern audiences as "Uncle Charlie" on television's My Three Sons. Also notable as Gloves's Ma is Jane Darwell, along with villains played by Peter Lorre and Conrad Veidt.

The plot is simple - Ma Donohue asks Gloves to find the murderer of her neighbor, the baker Mr. Miller. On the way to solving the murder, Gloves and pals meet a pretty nightclub singer, take part in a car chase and shootout in Central Park, and infiltrate a network of Nazi saboteurs. This lighthearted look at life on the Home Front has some serious moments, but the moral of the story is that "We are all in this thing together" and that it would take everyone in the country to ensure the defeat of the Axis. Surely a movie such as this one would have ensured a good evening's sales of War Bonds in 1942!

Angels with Dirty Faces

Post Production Code Gangster Classic!
Brian J. Smith

"Angels With Dirty Faces" was James Cagney's first film for Warner Bros. following his two year contract dispute. During that time he appeared in two films for the poverty row studio Grand National. With a few concessions to The Production Code (introduced in 1934) it is nonetheless one of the great all time gangster films. The touch of legendary director Michael Curtiz is evident throughout.

The story begins in the 1920s with two boyhood pals "Rocky" Sullivan (Frankie Burke) and Jerry Connelly (William Tracy) in the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood of New York. Rocky gets arrested by the police and is sent to the reformatory after a botched break in while Jerry escapes. While in prison, Rocky learns the evils of gangsterism from within and forges a life of crime and growing up to be James Cagney. Meanwhile Jerry has become a priest in the Pierson of Pat O'Brien.

Rocky returns to the old neighborhood and becomes involved with a group of teenagers (The Dead End Kids) who are headed in the same direction as Rocky. Fr. Jerry prevails upon Rocky to help him straighten the boys out before its too late. Rocky also meets up with a girl from his childhood, Laury Ferguson (Ann Sheridan).

Meanwhile we learn that Rocky has served three years in jail to protect his former partner and lawyer Jim Frazier (Humphrey Bogart). He has also entrusted Frazier with $100,000 from an earlier caper. Rocky goes to Frazier to demand his money and learns that Frazier is now involved with crime boss Mac Keefer (George Bancroft) and that they plan to cheat him out of his money. Hey, nobody double crosses Rocky.

Cagney is typical Cagney, bold, brash and cocky as Rocky. O'Brien as the Irish priest was a role he was born to play. Sheridan looks lovely but has little to do. Bogart, who was still 3 years away from major stardom, does well as the yellow back stabbing lawyer. The Dead End Kids - Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan, Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, Bernard Punsley) would move to a "B" series (without Hallop) after their Warner contract expired in 1939. The performances of Frankie Burke in particular and William Tracy as the young Rocky and Jerry are excellent.

"Angels With Dirty Faces" is probably best remembered for its ending. don't miss it.

Battle Circus

Bogart must have forgotten this one, worse than Swing Your Lady
Ray Papa

I pulled this one down off the shelf the other day to watch it for about the half a dozenth time. I couldn't get through it. The love story is not very realistic. Can somebody answer this one for me? Why is a US fighter jet firing on their own soldiers? The scene with the Korean threatening to blow up the hospital with a hand grenade and the one where they save the little boy's life were worth seeing the movie... once.

Big City Blues

Sends a message about the dangers of the big city
Ray Papa

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! This is a fun movie that gets better after the first viewing. I first watched it just for the early Bogart. When you watch it for the whole effect you'll probably wonder why it's never been on VHS or DVD. Well, there's this young man who's leaving the sticks for the Big Apple. The old men at the train station try to tell him he's in for disappointment, but he doesn't listen. In New York he gets an $8 room (nice for 1932) where his cousin takes advantage of him by using some of his $1,100 cash for parties and booze. He meets Joan Blondell and they are attracted to each other. It's funny how in this pre-code film, they never kiss once, even though adult themes are everywhere. Well, during the party in which almost everyone is drunk or stoned, Bogart tries to take another man's girlfriend home, which starts a brawl. A bottle is thrown, striking a girl in the head, killing her. Everybody runs off, leaving the poor kid from the sticks with the dead girl in his hotel room. As he avoids the police, he meets up with an older woman who would like him to spend some time with her. He finds Joan Blondell again, and loses the rest of his cash trying to win enough money so they can get away from it all. They get caught, taken down to the station, are grilled, and finally Bogart's brawling partner is found after hanging himself, with "proof" that the kid from the sticks is innocent. The two kids hug at the train station and they young man goes back to the sticks, only to decide to make some money to return to New York.

The Big Sleep

Who DID kill Sean Regan?
Brian J. Smith

This is one of the best Bogie movies. It has more twists and turns than a pretzel factory.

As Philip Marlowe, Bogie gives one of his best performances as the honest Private Eye up against the corruption and deceit of the Sternwood family and their "acquaintances". Lauren Bacall is charming and sexy as Vivian, Bogies main love interest. But who's side is she on? Martha Vickers effectively plays Bacall's younger spoiled sister whom Marlowe frequently encounters in his quest for the truth.

John Ridgely appears as Eddie Mars the chief villain of the piece. Veterans Elisha Cook Jr. (Harry Jones), Regis Toomey (Bernie) and Louis Jean Heydt (Joe Brody) contribute solid performances in their roles. A special mention for veteran "B" movie cowboy Bob Steele for his chilling performance as the cold-blooded killer Canino. Steele was always more effective when playing a villain and gave excellent performances when playing in the occasional "A" feature. (Check him out in "Of Mice and Men" (1940)).

At the beginning of the film, Marlowe is hired to find out what happened to his former aide Sean Regan. After all the twists and turns in the plot and the numerous bodies do we ever find out who actually DID kill Sean Regan?

Black Legion

One of the Best of Bogey's Early Films
Brian J. Smith

The Black Legion is significant in the career of Humphrey Bogart. This film is the first time he played the lead in an "A" feature. The film is also a great showcase for his acting talents.

In this film Bogey's character, Frank Taylor, moves from a happily married family man, to a man filled with hate and finally to a man remorseful for the trouble he has brought upon himself and others.

When Frank Taylor loses an expected promotion to a "foreigner", he becomes disillusioned and is coerced by a co-worker (Joseph Sawyer) into joining a secretive hate and Klu Klux Klan like organization called The Black Legion. Despite pleas from his wife (Erin O'Brien-Moore) and best friend (Dick Foran), Taylor continues his terrorist activities leading to the inevitable tragic consequences.

The subject of prejudice and hate organizations in a major studio production was quite daring for the 30s, given the introduction of the Production Code only a few years earlier. It still delivers a powerful message today.

The Black Legion remains one of the best of Bogey's early films.

Bullets or Ballots

Robinson Ties In With the Mugs!
Brian J. Smith

"Bullets or Ballots" was affected by the new motion picture Production Code introduced in 1934. The Code stipulated, among other things, that gangsters could no longer be glorified in films as had been done with "Little Caesar" (1930) and "The Public Enemy" (1931). That meant that Warners resident gangsters Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney had to come over to the right side of the law.

Cagney had done so in 1935 with "G-Men" but in 1936 was embroiled in a contract dispute with Warners and had left the lot. That left Robinson. You can just hear the brain trusts at Warners saying, "Let's put Eddie Robinson in a new crime picture only this time we'll have him go undercover so that he can ACT like a gangster while satisfying the Code by really working on the side of the law". "Bullets or Ballots" was the result.

Gangster Al Kruger (Barton MacLane) is a new order of corporate type gangster that shuns the old violent ways of the 20s. He is controlled by unseen bosses well placed in the business community. His second in command Nick "Bugs" Fenner is of the old school. When crusading newspaper reporter Ward Bryant (Henry O'Neill) is murdered by Fenner, it sets off a cry for justice. Police Captain McLaren is appointed Special Commissioner charged with cleaning up the rackets.

Detective Johnny Blake (Robinson) is a down on his luck policeman who has been exiled to an outer precinct. One day he learns that McLaren has fired him as part of his cleanup. But as we learn, Blake is really working undercover informing McLaren of the mob's plans. Blake then joins up with Kruger and rises quickly through the ranks. Fenner, meanwhile doesn't trust Blake and the two compete against each other.

As the result of the crime crackdown, the mob's earnings have dropped. Blake suggests that they move into the numbers racket which was being run successfully on a small scale by Blake's girlfriend Lee Morgan (Joan Blondell) with the aid her pick-up man Herman (Frank McHugh) and Harlem contact Nellie (Louise Beavers).

With the success of the numbers game, Fenner sees that Kruger has gone soft and is neglecting the mob's other businesses. Fenner murders Kruger and vies with Blake to take over. Blake succeeds and continues to inform McLaren of the mob's intentions. Fenner decides on a showdown and................

Robinson, who was a well educated and classically trained actor wanted to get away from gangster roles and did so whenever he could. But in spite of that, he will always be best remembered for these types of roles. Barton MacLane for once doesn't play the brutish gangster. He plays Kruger as a businessman and not a thug. Bogey on the other hand, had just made his mark in "The Petrified Forest" (1936) and was typecast for the most part as a gangster for the next five years. Joan Blondell is wasted in her superficial role as Robinson's love interest and McHugh is just along for comedy relief.

Still, "Bullets or Ballots" remains one of the all-time gangster classics.


You must remember this...
Brian J. Smith

A great cinematic masterpiece, Casablanca is full of intrigue, romance and unforgettable characters.

Bogey's Rick is a mysterious man with a past. One is kept guessing as to what his next move might be. Undoubtedly one of his greatest performances.

Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa was never lovelier and Paul Henried as the freedom Fighter, Victor Lazlo is dashing and a little bit over-understanding where his wife is concerned.

Claude Rains as Renaud almost steals the picture. Renault and Rick play a cat and mouse game with each other throughout the picture.

Conrad Veidt is suitably evil as Major Strasser, the German commandant. Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet are given little to do in lesser roles. One wishes that their parts could have been larger. And not to forget Dooley Wilson as Sam who sings the now famous song "As Time Goes By".

Expertly directed by Michael Curtiz, Casablanca remains one of the greatest films of all time and for those seeing it for the first time, it's the start of a beautiful friendship.

Dead End

Supporting Players Steal the Picture!
Brian J. Smith

In "Dead End" the nominal stars are Sylvia Sidney and Joel McCrea but it is the supporting players that steal the picture. Great performances are turned in by the Dead End Kids (Billy Halop, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan, Leo Gorcey, Bernard Punsley), Humphrey Bogart, Claire Trevor and Marjorie Main. It also benefits greatly from the direction of William Wyler who keeps the story moving and makes the characters interesting.

"Dead End" was originally produced on the Broadway stage. The Dead End Kids re-enact their Broadway roles. The story takes place on the banks of the East River in New York where posh apartment buildings co-habit the neighborhood with the tenement slums. The plot centers on the activities of the people of the neighborhood one summer's day.

Dave Connell (McCrea) is a struggling architect looking for his big break. Drina (Sidney) is a struggling shop clerk who is involved in a labor dispute and hopes one day to be able to leave the neighborhood. Gangster "Baby Face" Martin (Bogart) returns to his childhood haunts hoping to see his mother (Main) and hook up with his old girlfriend Francey (Trevor). Hanging around the wharf are a group of teenage toughs (The Dead End Kids) one of whom, Tommy (Halop) is the brother of Drina.

The boys taunt rich kid Philip Griswald (Charles Peck) and lure him down to the street. There he is beaten up by the boys. His father (Minor Watson) is highly influential man who insists on justice for his son. One of the boys, "Spit" squeals on his pal and Tommy is arrested after stabbing Mr. Griswald in the hand.

Meanwhile Martin goes to see his mother and is shocked when she slaps him and calls him a murderer. Martin's pal "Hunk" (Allen Jenkins) locates Francey and arranges for her to come meet "Baby Face". Martin is doubly shocked when he learns that his former love has pursued a career on the streets.

During an altercation with Dave over the influencing of the boys, Martin stabs him and throws him into the river, leaving him for dead. Martin then hatches a plot to kidnap the rich kid Philip Griswald. But Dave returns, confronts Martin and..............

This film is arguably Bogey's best film of the 1930s. Oddly enough, it was made on loan out to Samuel Goldwyn. His expressions of surprise and disgust after meeting with his mother and Francey are a treasure to watch. Trevor's performance, however brief, was moving enough to garner her a best supporting actress Oscar nomination. Marjorie Main also only appears briefly but evokes great sympathy in her role as the tragic Mrs. Martin.

The Dead End Kids to a man turn in what are the best performances in the film. They would go on to appear in a series of Warner Bros films in the next two years before moving into several "B" series in the 40s and 50s. Also, look for Ward Bond as the doorman to the rich apartment building and Don "Red" Barry as an abalones doctor.

An excellent film.

The Desperate Hours

Vintage Bogey
Brian J. Smith

This film puts one in mind of the kind of parts Bogey played before "The Maltese Falcon". In fact, the Glen Griffin character reminds me of Duke Mantee in "The Petrified Forest" (1936).

Although a little long in the tooth at the time for the parts they played, both Bogey and Fredric March carried them off superbly. Bogey's escaped convict and March as the everyman whose family is held hostage played off of each other as only these two wily veteran actors could.

Most of the other characters paled in comparison to the two leads, however, Robert Middleton as the slimy psychopathic convict and Richard Eyer as March's young son stand out. Arthur Kennedy has little to do as the cop trying to catch Bogey and Gig Young was miscast as Mary Murphy's boyfriend (too old). The obvious age difference between Bogey and Dewey Martin made it difficult to accept them as brothers.

The reason Bogey came to Indianapolis in the first place was to exact revenge against the Arthur Kennedy character. This aspect was never really developed.

My criticisms of this movie are minor. The film contains suspense, good direction by William Wyler and excellent performances from its two stars. Highly recommended.

The Enforcer

Bogey vs. Murder Inc.
Brian J. Smith

The Enforcer ranks as one of Bogey's best films. A look at the supporting cast will tell you why.

Bogey plays crusading DA Martin Ferguson who is trying to convict mob kingpin Everett Sloane of murder. The crime organization appears to be a thinly disguised version of Murder Inc. (aka the Mafia).

Told mostly in flashbacks, we meet an assortment of characters, each of whom is a piece in the overall puzzle. Veteran Ted DeCorsia stands out as Rico, Sloane's right hand man as does Zero Mostel as one of the mobsters. Lawrence (aka Michael) Tolan plays Duke Malloy one of the hitmen who is forced to kill his own girl friend. Roy Roberts and King Donovan appear as the cops.

Special mention is saved for veteran western actor Bob Steele (billed as "Robert"), who plays Herman a hit man from Kansas City. Steele plays the character much like the chilling Canino in the earlier "The Big Sleep" (1946). His death scene at the end of the picture is not to be missed.

An oddity of this picture is that there was no love interest for Bogey. Know what, It makes for a better and more compact movie. The Enforcer will hold your attention from start to finish. A very entertaining film.

The Great O'Malley

"I thought it was a violin." "QUIET!!"
Ray Papa

I've seen this movie several times, and in great detail most of those times. It helps to look for the humor. O'Brien, the cop, comes up with some funny ones, even though the is wisecracking to the people he it ticketting. Barbara, Bogart's daughter is a darling. I think there are some parts that tug at the heartstrings. This is a movie that gets better after you have seen it once and go back to look for the details. Example: SPOILERS... Bogart is stopped for driving his car with a noisy, broken muffler. The cop comes up to him as asks, "What 'er you celebratin'?" When Bogart explains that he can't help it, "It's the muffler." The wisecrack from the cop is, "I thought it was a violin." Funny, huh? Well, I guess it's not for everybody

To Have and Have Not

Just put your lips together and blow...
Brian J. Smith

To Have and To Have Not is best remembered as the first film that teamed Bogey and Bacall. Bacall was never sexier and it's hard to remember that she was only 19 years old when the picture was made. Bogey is well, Bogey.

The plot reminds one a little of Casablanca in that it takes place during WWII in colonial French territory. Also the Bogey character is "just minding his own business" and not wanting to become involved in the local's problems. There is also a heroic freedom fighter with his beautiful wife and the police captain is named Renard (in Casablanca it was Renaud).

The cast is excellent and the direction by Howard Hawks keeps the story moving and the screen sizzling with the Bogey and Bacall pairing. Also along for the ride are Walter Brennan as Bogey's boozy pal, Hoagy Carmichael singing the classic "Am I Blue?", Dan Seymour doing his best Sydney Greenstreet impersonation as Renard, the beautiful Dolores Moran as Helene DeBrusac and a totally miscast Sheldon Leonard as Lt. Coyo, Renard's assistant.

And who can ever forget the classic lines from Bacall to Bogey after a lengthy kiss: "it's better when you help" and "You know how to whistle don't you? Just put your lips together and Blow."

High Sierra

Bogey's Breakthrough Film
Brian J. Smith

Prior to "High Sierra", Humphrey Bogart had been playing heavies, second leads and the occasional lead in a "B" feature. Beginning with this film, there would be no looking back for Bogey.

Although it is Ida Lupino who received top billing, it is Bogart's picture all the way. He plays pardoned convict Roy Earle who is "sprung" by Big Mac (Donald MacBride) to lead the robbery of an exclusive resort. In Bogey's gang are Arthur Kennedy and Alan Curtis as his two inexperienced cohorts, Cornel Wilde as the nervous "man on the inside" and Lupino as a "dime a dance girl" who ultimately ends up as Bogey's moll. A stray dog named "Pard" who seems to bring bad luck to all who adopt him, is also along for the ride.

Also in the cast is veteran character Henry Travers as "Pa", Joan Leslie as Velma, the crippled girl whom Bogey helps and falls in love with, Henry Hull as Doc and Bogey's old nemesis Barton MacLane as a gangster who tries to muscle in on the score. Willie Best in a typical racial stereotype of the period, provides comedy relief as Algernon.

Bogart's performance dominates the film with able support from the supporting cast. It was with this film, that Bogey established his tough guy image, a part he would play, with little variation for the rest of his career.

The Maltese Falcon (10) The Maltese Falcon is one of the all-time great movies. It holds up to repeated viewings almost 60 years after its initial release. Bogey, in his breakthrough role, is terrific as Sam Spade. The rest of the cast is flawless. Mary Astor is sexy and mysterious as the femme fatale, Peter Lorre as the somewhat fopish Joel Cairo and Sydney Greenstreet as Casper Gutman almost steal the picture. Elisha Cook Jr. as Wilmer and Barton MacLane and Ward Bond as the cops, also stand out. John Huston, who wrote the screenplay and directed the picture, showed off his considerable talent to advantage in this his first major film. His father, Walter also does as nice turn in a cameo as Captain Jacobi. The plot has so many twists and turns and double crosses that it is difficult at times to tell who is helping who in the quest for the falcon. It is also of interest to note that very little violence takes place on camera. Most of the action in the story takes place off-screen. There's a great exchange of dialogue between Bogey and Mary Astor near the end when he figures out that she had killed his partner and as a result, she was "taking the fall". A truly great film - the stuff that dreams are made of.


Worth watching for more than just early Bogart
Ray Papa

I have recently watched this film again. This time I realized that there is a lot in the movie besides just seeing Bogart in one of his early films. This movie makes a very strong statement about capital punishment. Equally as strong is its statement on who you know if you want to beat a rap. The whole movie takes place during a few hours before the scheduled execution of a woman who killed her lover who was going to leave her. Except for the beginning court scenes, and prison scenes, and a couple of scenes where Bogart is in a room somewhere, and when he and Sidney Fox are in his car, the movie takes place at the home of the jury foreman who found the woman guilty. A news reporter gets into the house with a radio and a surprise at the end so that the public can witness what it's like for that foreman as the scheduled execution time approaches. What you may think is a surprise ending really isn't the end at all. Keep watching for the twist involving the district attorney who has his eye on the governorship. This film, like Bogart and Huston's Beat The Devil, is in the public domain.

The Petrified Forest

Bogart's Breakthrough Film!
Brian J. Smith

"The Petrified Forest" is widely regarded as Humphrey Bogart's breakthrough film, which indeed it was. Bogey had made several forgettable films between 1930-34 before returning discouraged to the New York stage. There, he acquired the role of Duke Mantee in the stage version of "The Petrified Forest" in which Leslie Howard was the star.

When Warner Bros. bought the film rights they wanted Howard but also wanted Edward G. Robinson for the Mantee role. Howard interceded on Bogart's behalf saying that if Bogey wasn't cast as Mantee that he wouldn't do the film either. Bogey never forgot this favor and years later named his daughter Leslie after Howard.

The story takes place in a dusty road side cafe/gas station in the middle of a desert. The film is essentially about a bunch of life's losers with no real future except for the young waitress Gabrielle Maples (Bette Davis) who dreams of leaving the dusty desert for the bright lights of Paris.

A wandering intellectual/writer Alan Squier (Howard) comes to the cafe broke and hungry. He strikes up a friendship with Gabrielle who admires his cultured manner and love of poetry much to the chagrin of would be boyfriend Boze Hertzinger (Dick Foran) a has been football player who now pumps gas. Inside the cafe we meet Gabrielle's father Jason (Porter Hall) who fancies himself as a war hero and Gramp Maples (Charlie Grapewin) a senile old timer who likes to tell stories of his encounter with Billy the Kid.

Into this peaceful setting comes gangster Duke Mantee (Bogart) and his three pals Jackie (Joe Sawyer), Ruby (Adrian Morris) and Slim (Slim Thompson). The gang is on the lam from the law. Mantee holds all of the people in the cafe hostage including travelers the Chisolms (Paul Harvey, Genevieve Tobin) and their chauffeur Joseph (John Alexander). The rest of the film deals with the conflicts between the various characters and the growing love story between Alan and Gabrielle.

Bogey reportedly patterned his Mantee after real life gangster John Dillinger right down to his speech and movements. In fact if you look at photographs of Dillinger, you can see the resemblance. This might explain Bogey's CP3O (the android from "Star Wars") like posture. Notice how he holds his arms and his walk.

The two black actors (Thompson and Alexander) were also in the New York stage production. Dick Foran was appearing as a singing cowboy in a series of "B" westerns for Warners and welcomed this chance at a straight role in a major film.

Although Bogart definitely dominated the film, one can't help but admire the performance of Leslie Howard as Squier. Bette Davis just emerging as a major star has little to do but stare wide-eyed at Howard.

After this film, Warners signed Bogart to a contract. He would play mostly gangster roles in Cagney and Robinson films with the odd lead in a "B" picture such as "Black Legion" (1937) until 1941 when he became a major star after appearing in "High Sierra" and "The Maltese Falcon".

The Return of Doctor X

Sub-par "B" Horror Film!
Brian J. Smith

"The Return of Doctor X" had initially been envisaged as a sequel to Warners hit 1932 color film, "Doctor X" with Karloff and Lugosi playing the leads. That never came to pass however, and it wound up being assigned to Warners "B" unit for first time director Vincent Sherman. They obtained a new script, set it in the present and proceeded . This film is therefore NOT a sequel to "Doctor X. The lead characters of Flegg and Quesne (pronounced "Cain") were reduced to supporting roles. The lead went to Warners ever present wise cracking reporter.

A prominent actress, Angela Merrova (Lya Lys) is found murdered in her apartment by reporter Walter "Wichita" Barnett (Wayne Morris) with her body drained of blood. Barnett reports his findings to his editor (Joseph Crehan) and Police Detective Kinkaid (Charles Wilson). But when they return to the apartment, the body is gone. Later much to everyone's surprise a "live" Merrova turns up in the editor's office. Barnett takes notice of the woman's pale appearance.

With nobody believing him that a murder has been committed, Barnett turns to his friend Dr. Michael Rhodes (Dennis Morgan) for help. Rhodes is scheduled to assist noted blood expert Dr. Francis Flegg (John Litel) in an operation. When the blood donor turns up dead, nurse Joan Vance (Rosemary Lane) volunteers to take his place. It seems that she possesses the rare Type One blood required.

Rhodes and Barnett suspect something suspicious about Flegg and begin to investigate him. Going to his home they meet Flegg's ashen looking assistant Dr. Quesne (Humphrey Bogart). Later the boys learn that Flegg is developing a synthetic blood and that Quesne and Merrova are his guinea pigs. The synthetic blood does not renew itself thereby causing Quesne to commit several murders and drain the Type One blood form his victims in order to survive. And who is Doctor X? And where did he come from? Hmmmmm.

As they had in the original "Doctor X", Warners sought to introduce comedic elements to the story, As before, we are subjected to the ill placed "wise-cracking reporter", this time as the lead character. Wayne Morris is totally miscast in this role. He looks more like a football player than a smart ass reporter. Bogart, in his only horror role, does what he can with what amounts to a more gangster type role (see the ending) than horror. Still two years away from major stardom, he was probably assigned this role whether he wanted it or not.

John Litel is the best thing about this film. His Dr. Flegg is the closest thing we have to a true horror film character. Dennis Morgan is actually the hero rather than Morris which adds to the confusion. Rosemary Lane has little to do until the end of the story. Also in the cast are Dead End Kid Huntz Hall as a file clerk and William (DeWolf) Hopper and Glen Langan as two walk-on interns.

Think what this film could have been with Karloff as Quesne and Lugosi as Flegg.....and no reporter. Ahhh, one can dream.

The Roaring Twenties

One of the Best of Warner's Gangster Films!
Brian J. Smith

"The Roaring Twenties" more or less marked the end of Warner Bros. gangster films popular during the 1930s. For the next few years WWII would form the backdrop of their action films.

This one is full of action and memorable characters due largely to the presence of legendary director Raoul Walsh and its stellar cast.

Three soldiers meet on the WWI battlefield in 1918. One is the all good lawyer Lloyd Hart (Jeffrey Lynn), one the thoroughly bad George Hally (Humphrey Bogart) and the third, an everyman named Eddie Bartlett (James Cagney). Eddie is smitten with a girl, Jean Sherman (Priscilla Lane) who has been corresponding with him from home.

When the war ends Eddie returns to New York and hooks up with buddy Danny Green (Frank McHugh) who is a Gabie. Eddie goes to meet Jean but is disappointed to learn that she is just a teenager. Unable to find work, Eddie is forced to share the driving of Danny's cab. In the meantime, prohibition takes effect and Eddie discovers that bootlegging is the way to get rich. At the onset he meets saloon girl Panama Smith (Gladys George) who turns out to be his only friend.

Fast forward to 1924 and Eddie re-discovers Jean in a chorus line and decides to take a hand in her career. Eddie is now hopelessly in love with Jean much to the dismay of Panama. Jean however, is in love with Lloyd who has turned up as Eddie's lawyer. One night while hijacking a load of booze from rival gangster Nick Brown (Paul Kelly), Eddie meets up with George Hally (what are the chances of that?) who works for Brown. Hally decides to double cross Brown and throw in with Eddie. All the while Eddie is buying up taxis until he has immersed a fleet of 2,000 cabs.

Everything is running smoothly until Hally begins to get his own ambitions and sets up Brown to Murder Eddie. The plot fails. Meanwhile Jean leaves Eddie and runs off with Lloyd and Eddie begins to drink. At the same time come the stock market crash of 1929 and Eddie is ruined. Hally however, didn't play the stocks and buys out Eddie's cab business for a small figure and leaves Eddie with but one cab for himself.

Eddie hits the skids along with the ever faithful Panama until Hally threatens Jean and Lloyd and.............

Cagney as usual dominates the picture. He is his usual cocky Irish tough guy but with character flaws. His love for Jean ultimately is what destroys him. Lane contributes a couple of classic songs (in her own voice) as Jean. Bogart as the thoroughly evil Hally gives us a preview of the Bogart tough guy image to come in the 40s. Gladys George almost steals the picture from Cagney as the tragic Panama and McHugh is sympathetic as Danny.

Oddly enough, for a gangster picture, there are no major characters in respect of crusading cops or district attorneys. All of the action is between the gangsters.

Cagney would not appear in another gangster film for ten years until "White Heat" (1949).


Audrey Hepburn is simply charming
Brian J. Smith

Sabrina is a movie that was made for Audrey Hepburn. She is simply charming as the title character. The story is Cinderella like in that Sabrina, a chauffeur's daughter with a crush on the playboy son of her father's employer, goes to Paris and returns as a mature sophisticated lady who charms everyone she meets.

The picture is enhanced by the direction of Billy Wilder and the casting of Humphrey Bogart and William Holden (why did they make him blond?) as the Larabee brothers who vie for Miss Hepburn's affections.

But the film is clearly Miss Hepburn's and one can see why she was one of the most beloved actresses of her time. Watch Sabrina and you too will fall in love with her. A marvelous film.

San Quentin

Another Warner Bros. Prison Classic!
Brian J. Smith

"San Quentin" as the name implies is a trim little prison movie (it runs a scant 70 minutes) from Director Lloyd Bacon and Warner Brothers.

Ex Army Captain Steve Jameson (Pat O'Brien) takes a job as Captain of the Yard of San Quentin prison replacing acting Captain Druggin (Barton MacLane) whose handling of the prisoners was questioned by Warden Taylor (Joseph King).

Before taking up his duties, Jameson meets singer May Kennedy (Ann Sheridan) in a nightclub and the two become attracted to each other. May's brother "Red" Kennedy (Humphrey Bogart) is on the lam and comes to her for money but is arrested at the club in front of Jameson. Guess which prison Red will be sent to.

Jameson takes up his duties and vows to instill discipline and respect in the prisoners. Meanwhile Red turns up at the prison in the company of hard timer Sailor Boy Hansen (Joe Sawyer). Hansen plots an escape and asks Red to go along.

Meanwhile Jameson begins to make progress in Red's rehabilitation to the point of where Red is refusing to go along with Hansen's escape plan. However the envious Druggin learns from the prison fink (Ernie Adams) of the planned escape. He arranges Hansen's assignment to the road gang along with Red. One night the fink lets it slip that Jameson is "taking advantage" of Red's sister May. Red becomes enraged and decides to go along with Hansen and....................

An oddity in the casting has Bogey playing Ann Sheridan's younger 25 year old brother. In fact Bogey was some 15 years older than Sheridan, although to both of their credits, they manage to pull it off. Pat O'Brien was born to play authority figures and does his usual excellent job here. Bogey for once, gets to play a character far removed from his usual one dimensional gangster portrayals, and proves his range as an actor.

Others in the cast include Garry Owen as Dopey the preacher, Veda Ann Borg as Helen, Hansen's moll and James Robbins, Marc Lawrence, William Pawley and Al Hill as various convicts.

Another of Warners long list of 30s gangster/prison classics.


Where Have I Seen This Scenario?
Brian J. Smith

"Sirocco" takes place in 1925 Damascus where French troops are occupying the city and fighting against rebel insurgents. (Hmmmm...that sounds familiar).

Harry Smith (Humphrey Bogart) and his pal Nasir Aboud (Nick Dennis) are running guns to rebel leader Emir Hassan (Onslow Stevens). French General LaSalle (Everett Sloane) wants "an eye for an eye" after another of his patrols is ambushed. His Head of Intelligence Colonel Feroud (Lee J. Cobb) wants to negotiate with Hassan. He gets the General to agree to send in an emissary, Lt. Collet (Harry Guardino) to meet with the rebels and start peace negotiations.

When Collet is found murdered, Feroud rounds up the usual arms dealer suspects including Smith and forces them to sell their wares to the French. Harry agrees but as a measure of revenge, sets his sights on Violette (Marta Toren) who is Feroud's lady friend. Harry meets with Hassan's man to collect his last payment but is told not to return as his "services" are no longer required.

Harry attempts to leave Damascus with Violette but their bus is stopped. Harry escapes and Violette is captured. However, Feroud releases her and gives her a pass out of the city. When an informer Balukjian (Zero Mostel) obtains proof the Harry is supplying arms to the enemy, Harry becomes a wanted man.

Despondent over the loss of Violette, Feroud offers Harry a pass out of Damascus if he will arrange a meeting between himself and Hassan without LaSalle's knowledge. Feroud realizes that this will certainly result in his death. LaSalle learns of the scheme and implores Harry to arrange for Feroud's release for $10,000. Harry has plans to leave the city with Violette but reluctantly agrees to undertake the mission.

Together with Major Leon (Gerald Mohr) Harry approaches Hassan's headquarters and...............

This "film noire" was produced by Bogart's production company Santana and reminds one somewhat of "Casablanca" (1942). Bogey is somewhat of rogue in this one with few redeeming qualities. Toren makes a good "femme fatale" ultimately destroying the two men that love her. The picture has a dark tone, playing for the most part, as it does, at night in the rain swept streets and damp underground catacombs of 1925 Damascus.

Sloane and Mostel has appeared with Bogey in "The Enforcer" the same year. Cobb would appear with Bogey in "The Left Hand of God" (1955).

Entertaining film, better than some would have you believe.

Swing Your Lady

Bogart considered this his worst movie.
Ray Papa

There are a few laughs here and some nice old-time country music. The wrestling match is great, thanks to Daniel Boone Savage. Ronald Reagan has a short part. For Bogart fans, this film is a must because he didn't act in very many comedies.

Tokyo Joe

Anyone For a Frozen Frog?
Brian J. Smith

"Tokyo Joe" takes place in post WWII Tokyo, at a time when the city was still under marshal law and controlled by the American occupation forces.

Joe Barrett (Humphrey Bogart), an ex pilot returns home to Tokyo. He goes to his now closed nightclub, "Tokyo Joe's" which he owned and operated with his partner Ito (Teru Shimada). Barrett learns from Ito that his wife Trina (Florence Marly) whom he believed to be dead, is alive and living nearby.

Barrett rushes to meet her only to discover that she has divorced him and re-married businessman Mark Landis (Alexander Knox). Determined to win her back, Barrett looks for ways to extend his 60 day visitor's visa.

Ito brings him to local Japanese "businessman", Baron Kimara (Sessue Hayakawa) who offers to finance a small freight airline which will carry food delicacies, such as frozen frogs into Japan for export abroad. When Barrett declines the offer, Shimara reveals that Trina had made propaganda broadcasts during the war for the Japanese. Trina explains that she had been coerced into making the broadcasts because the Japanese had taken her daughter from her. She tells Barrett that the seven year old Anya (Lora Lee Michael) is really his daughter.

In order to be allowed to remain in the country, Barrett decides to accept Shimara's offer and hires two American crewmen, Danny (Jerome Courtland) and Idaho (Gordon Jones) to fly the airplane. Several shipments of frozen frogs later, Barrett suspects that Shimara is about to smuggle Japanese war criminals into the country. To ensure that Barrett carries out the mission, Shimara kidnaps Anya and............

This was Bogart's second film made by his Santana production company for release by Columbia following the end of his Warner Bros. contract in 1948. Bogey gives his usual excellent performance although his ju-jitzu match (courtesy of stunt men) with Ito, is a little hard to imagine. Sessue Hayakawa had been around films since the early silents, but is probably best remembered for his role as the camp commandant in "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957). Alexander Knox who usually played sophisticated villains, is wasted here as Landis.

Entertaining, but not among Bogie's best.


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