Your Bogie Fix:
Director: Vincent Sherman
A comedy/action/thriller from 1941, this film nails all three genres better than most modern movies can do one.
Bogart is ‘Gloves’ Donahue, who is described in so many different ways in the movie and online sources that it’s hard to pin down a solid job title for him. Broadway gambler? Broadway racketeer? Broadway bigshot? Man of action? One character refers to him as a, “Man about town and well-known figure in the sporting world.” Even the above poster refers to him as “The underworld’s top trigger-guy.” What it all seems to boil down to is small time mobster.
Bogart has a crew of good natured flunkies who run around town with him ordering cheesecake, swindling rich Texans, and watching sporting events. He’s respected and loved without seeming to inspire a whole lot of fear. Gloves is a racketeer who loves his mother and treats his employees like kid brothers. Bogart’s ‘Gloves’ Donahue is about as likable a criminal as you’re ever going to meet. We know he’s tough, but not too tough as he seems to travel unarmed for the most part – using his wits and his fists to best the bad guys. (Although, if a bad guy happens to have a gun he can borrow, he’ll use it!)
When Gloves’ favorite cheesecake baker is knocked off, it starts a chain of events that leads him and his crew on a wild ride around New York City, tracking down the killers, and uncovering a top secret Nazi plot to blow up an American Battleship. (Yup, I just typed that sentence. . .)
The comedy is wonderful, the fight scenes are well choreographed and filmed, and there are multiple edge of your seat moments. From top to bottom, Vincent Sherman has directed a great film, and it stands the test of time.
This cast is superb. Five time collaborator Peter Lorre is here as Nazi hitman, and sometimes piano accompanist, Pepi. From Lorre’s first scene with Miller the baker, in which Lorre enters cheerfully humming and ends up beating the old man to a pulp, Lorre’s portrayal of the “goggle-eyed little rat” (Bogie’s words), is chilling and spot on. To watch Lorre smoke a cigarette as it appears to dangle from his lips at an impossible 90 degree angle is pure joy.
William Demarest (Sunshine), Frank McHugh (Barney), and Jackie Gleason (Starchy), are Bogart’s three main sidekicks, and they carry off the best comedy bits. In particular, watching Bogart and Demarest impersonate German munitions experts during a secret Nazi planning session had me laughing out loud. (Every time they start to get into trouble, they simply “sieg heil” their way out of it. You know a good Nazi can’t help himself from responding when someone gives a, “Sieg heil!”) The scene comes off with such a slapstick, gibberish-filled charm, that The Marx Brothers would be proud.
Phil Silvers as a nearsighted waiter!
Conrad Veidt, who would later play Casablanca’s Major Strasser, is Ebbing – the Nazi mastermind behind the terrorist plot. It’s the stereotypical Nazi bad guy, but Veidt does it better than most!
And there’s Bogie Film Blog favorite Barton MacLane as Marty Callahan, Bogart’s tenuous ally against the Nazis when push comes to shove!
For some reason, I really love the atmosphere of a Hollywood back lot made to look like a city street. The best of Hollywood special effects are on display here – from a nail biting, near-decapitation during an elevator fight, to a climatic boat scene done with miniatures, the movie has got a lot of great sets and classic Hollywood effects from the era.
Classic Bogie Moment
You get to hear Bogart say the lines, “Hiya” and “Hello, Joe, whatta ya know?” Seriously, what more can you ask from a Bogie movie?
But the most classic of classic Bogie moments happens early in the film when Bogart is called to a nightclub by his mother to investigate a woman who might know something about the murdered baker. Kaaren Verne plays Leda Hamilton, Bogart’s questionable ally and love interest – who also happens to be a nightclub singer because . . . well . . . of course she is. Aren’t they all?
Has there ever been an actor who can make listening to live music look more captivating and cool than Bogart? Seeing him casually walk to a table while never taking his eyes off of Verne is a scene replayed many times throughout his filmography with different actresses, and only Bogart could pull it off with such a sparkly-eyed charisma that it never grows old.
The Bottom Line
How have I not heard more about this movie? While it may not be a Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon, make no mistake – All Through the Night has more than enough going for it to make it a Bogart classic. A great double feature would be All Through and Falcon as ‘Gloves’ Donahue and Sam Spade are two sides of the same coin. An argument could be made that All Through the Night might fall into the “detective” genre, as most of the film’s spent with Gloves unraveling the clues to the film’s initial murder. Although, you’ll find a lot more laughs here than in most detective movies . . .
This is a must see for even the casual Bogart fan.
One of three movies (including High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon) that Bogart picked up after George Raft turned down the roles. I’d like to personally thank Mr. Raft for being so picky!
*UPDATE – Here’s a pic of The Maltese Falcon cameo with Peter Lorre! Check out the story here.