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Dark Passage Blu-ray Review

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Bogart and Bacall shine in “Dark Passage.”

After breaking out of prison for being framed for murder, Vincent gets help in his escape from a painter/teacher (Irene) who wants to help him for her own reasons. Since his face is plastered all over the papers and since he’s on the run from the police, Vincent makes the drastic decision to get facial plastic surgery. Even with his new appearance trouble seems to find Vincent as a certain someone is after him. On top of that, he’s desperately trying to solve the mystery of who killed his wife and someone else close to his heart. As if all of that wasn’t enough, Vincent finds himself falling for Irene and vice versa.

For the first 62 minutes, 1947’s “Dark Passage” is a fascinating, risk taking motion picture. The first 38 minutes is frequently told with first person POV shots in which we never see the face of Vincent. After the 38 minute mark, we see a mute and bandaged Vincent for another 24 minutes. Finally at the 62 minute mark, we actually see and hear Bogart on screen for the duration of the film. In an age where movie stars ruled the screens, it is a very bold creative decision for underrated writer/director Delmer Daves to hide Bogart for a good chunk of the film. It pays off though as that portion of the film is easily the most riveting and intense.

After Bogart shows his face, the film becomes more traditional in that it delves more into the romance and the revelation of the mysteries. That’s not to say it’s uninvolving because it’s not, it just becomes far more standard than the compelling first 62 minutes.

Cast wise, it doesn’t get much better than Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The two were dynamite on screen together as you all well know. Even when Bogart isn’t on screen visually and is only heard, it’s just thrilling to watch as a moviegoer.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? A beautiful B&W transfer that really shines during the San Francisco location shooting.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? For a mere 2.0 track, this is impressive (especially for an older archival title).

Extras: “Dark Passage” trailer, a Bugs Bunny cartoon called “Slick Hare,” and a 10 minute featurette titled “Hold Your Breath And Cross Your Fingers” which covers Bacall and Bogart’s careers and romance, and more.

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March 1, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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