Saturday, April 27, 2013

147. High Sierra (1941)

Running Time: 100 minutes
Directed By: Raoul Walsh
Written By: John Huston, from novel by W.R. Burnett
Main Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ida Lupino, Henry Travers, Joan Leslie, Alan Curtis
Click here to view the trailer


My (seemingly) never ending quest to find an, at least suitable Humphrey Bogart picture will not end today, with the reviewing of "High Sierra" - a film that I did not like...not in the slightest.

This time around, in my seventh Bogart movie from THE BOOK, Bogey is Roy Earle, a notorious gangster, who has just been pardoned from prison, via a phone call a gangster friend of his made to the governor. Once on the outside, it's back to his criminal ways, as Earle wastes no time getting back into the life of a professional thief. This time around, he'll be leading the charge in a heist against an upper-class California resort. As he drives across the country, headed for California, Earle meets a poor family, consisting of an elderly man & woman and their granddaughter. It turns out that there headed about to the same place he's going and when he gets to his destination, he looks them up again and again...and again, securing his sights on the granddaughter, Velma (Leslie), a looker in her own right. Of course, there's work to be done too and Earle meets up with the gang of guys he'll be working with: all rookies and all new faces to the veteran Earle. There's two guys: Babe (Curtis) and Red and a woman, Marie (Lupino). They take the time (what seems like forever) to case the place and get all their plans in order and meanwhile, the Earle character spends the rest of the film visiting Velma, a cripple, whom he plans to pay for surgery and babysitting a dog. End of story...

This was Humphrey Bogart's big break in Hollywood, as he doesn't even get top billing in this one, as that honor goes to Ida Lupino. Could Humphrey Bogart be the most overrated actor EVER?? That's a question that I pondered as I watched this film and knew that the sole reason for it's inclusion was THE BOOK'S obvious infatuation with Bogey.  Believe it or not, there are, by my count, four Humphrey Bogart films still remaining in THE BOOK, which will make a grand total of ELEVEN Bogey pictures in all!! And as far as I can tell, the only one worth anything is "Angels with Dirty Faces" and guess's the only one of the eleven he's not the star of. There's just something about the guy that doesn't appeal to me in the slightest...kind of like the problem I had with Cary Grant, during my early blogging days. These days, I'll take Cary Grant any 'ol day of the week, over Bogart. Oh well, I'm still bound and determined to find ONE picture, starring Bogart that I like.

As for "High Sierra", it just went on for what seemed like forever and literally NOTHING happened. There's one heist in the whole film, which we hear about five minutes into the film and they don't pull that heist off until over an hour into the movie. The rest of the time is total down time, with Bogart proving that he can be a bad ass AND have a heart of gold, getting estimates for Velma's club foot surgery and visiting old, dying gangster friends. Give me a break! It's also a really odd movie, in that Bogart's character doesn't get the girl he wants and ends up having to settle for his second choice, Marie. That's just weird and probably has a lot to do with the fact that Humph really wasn't the star and therefore, could be made to look a little weaker than he could when he hit his starring days. There's a pretty sweet car chase near the end and the ending is pretty decent, but it wasn't nearly enough to save this train wreck and I'm just glad it's all over.

RATING: 3.5/10  '4' just seemed too high, so a '3.5' should do just fine. That will take care of the first half of what I have remaining and now we'll jump to the end and knock out five from that side.


The Departed (2006 - Martin Scorsese)
Apocalypto (2006 - Mel Gibson)
Talk to Her (2002 - Pedro Almodovar)
In the Mood for Love (2000 - Wong Kar-Wai)
Gladiator (2000 - Ridley Scott)

April 27, 2013  1:18pm


  1. Fighting words Andrew, decidedly fighting words. "Bogart, the most overated actor ever.." I am spluttering and coughing into my breafast cereal as i read such things...
    Oh dear, sorry the book has failed - again- to give you an enjoyable Bogart film.
    And almost a challange for me to suggest one you could like... Thing is, I'd go for Casablanca, but we all know your answer to that. Not even 'Maltese Falcon' or 'n a lonely Place'.. Oh dear oh dear.. (shakes head in despair at the younger generation)

    BTW, the 'Recent comments' box on the side no longer seems to work... something wrong at my side or yours? (perhaps if someone else could say if they can see it?)

    1. In regards to the comment box, the last one I'm seeing as I write this, is my reply to your "cool comment" on "Pulp Fiction". Sometimes it takes a little while to update, so I'll try and remember to check it later and see if your comments from today are there.

      But, I hate to be lumped in with the younger generation. It's just Bogart really, there's just something about him. I don't buy his tough guy act, I don't get a man crush when I see him slap a "dame" or punch out the bad guy, I just don't buy this guy and I don't even see the talent that apparently everyone else seems to see. I don't know. I've seen "The African Queen" before and I remember liking it, so maybe that's the silver lining in the Bogart cloud for me....we'll see.

    2. Looks like everything updated itself on my end Ray, as far as the recent comments app goes. Hopefully it's working on your end too.

  2. Sorry to lump you in with a sweeping generalisation.. no offence intende.
    I certainly get your point about Bogart. I would also not be in favour of a series of character who are tough talking, hard drinking, 'hit first, ask later' types. And, yes, I believe Bogart himself was in the hard drinking hell raising side of Hollywood social sets. So liking him and his films can certainly be seen as an anomily.
    So why do I like (a large number) of his films? I have puzzled over it before, and not found a good answer yet.
    And I'm afraid the 'Recent comments' area is still blank.. as is the 'followers' box as well. Probably something to do with me and y computer.

    1. Well shoot. Hopefully it comes back at some point. Everything looks good on my end...keep me posted.


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