Unjustly convicted of murdering his wife, Vincent Parry escapes from San Quentin. He ispicked up and helped by Iris Jansen (Lauren Bacall), who has always believed in his innocence.Parry, whose face we never see (much of the first half hour of the movie is shot from his POV),but whose voice is clearly Bogart’s, undergoes plastic surgery, eventually emerging as Bogart.He wants to clear his name, but the murder of his best friend only makes things worse. Centralto his …ifficulties is Madge (Agnes Moorehead), a dangerous woman who would rather have mendestroyed than let anyone else have them. While the fact that we have to wait half the movie tosee the face we all know we’re going to see anyway is admittedly a bit odd, this is a first-ratenoir, with atmospheric location shooting, and my candidate for best defenestration ever.
The sound is mono, and I, for one, am thankful that no phony stereo remixing has beenattempted. The sound is generally clean. Franz Waxman’s score has a good, big sound, but doesdistort a bit. The dialogue, however, is impeccable, with fine reproduction of those famousvoices.
The print is in fabulous shape. there is virtually no damage at all (barring some specklingabout 95 minutes in). There is the occasional grainy shot, but these are rare, and the almostcomplete absence of grain is astonishing for a film from 1947. The image is extremely sharp,and there is only minor edge enhancement visible. A top-notch transfer, in its original 1.33:1ratio.
Not a lot of extras, but what there is, is good. The special treat is a Bugs Bunny cartoon,“Slick Hare,” which features caricatures of many top Hollywoods stars of the period, includingBogart. “Hold Your Breath and Cross Your Fingers: The Story of Dark Passage” is a 10-minutefeaturette that, while brief, covers a lot of ground in an interesting, succinct fashion. Thetheatrical trailer rounds out the package. The menu’s main page is scored.
The release isn’t bursting with extras, but the transfer is beautiful, and this is a film thatstands on its own merits, worth picking up for itself alone.
Special Features List
- “Slick Hare” Bugs Bunny Cartoon
- “Hold Your Breath and Cross Your Fingers: The Story of Dark Passage” Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer