Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bogart and the Bear

A Movie Review

Directed by Raoul Walsh and released in 1940 They Drive by Night is a hard to classify film. Starting out as a fairly straight forward drama about the hard life of truckers, by its second half its become almost noirish and the setting completing changed. In the film George Raft and Humphrey Bogart play the Fabrini brothers, freelance truck drivers just scraping by in life. When an accident destroys their truck and coasts Paul (Bogart) his arm, Joe's (Raft) friend Ed J. Carlson (Alan Hale Sr.) offers the less injured brother a job as 'traffic supervisor' (which for some reason requires he wear a white lab coat) at his trucking company.

When Ed dies from exhaust inhalation when passed out drunk in his garage, his widow Lana (Ida Lupino) gets Joe to run the company for her. Joe then gives Paul his old job as traffic supervisor. But it turns out that Lana's crazy and let her husband die so that she would be free to pursue Joe. When she discovers that Joe is getting married to a red-head named Cassie (Ann Sheridan), an enraged Lana cooks up a story about his putting her up to Ed's murder to get a share of the company. It looks like Joe is headed up the river until Lana loses it on the stand during the trial, which is the memorable scene that made Ida Lupino (who would go on to become a pioneering female director) a star. Of course her cries of "the doors made me due it!", was a lame excuse because Jim Morrison hadn't even been born yet. Also worth looking for in the movie is George Tobias in a small ethnic role that is one of the few times I've seen him depart from his standard Brooklyn persona.

The DVD also contains a short staring Fritz Feld as 'Mr. Nitvitch the temperamental director', one of a series he did using that persona.

And now the opening sequence for B.J. and the Bear.


Post a Comment

<< Home