Peter Lorre

All Through The Night

1942

Warner Brothers

Produced by Hal B. Wallis

Directed by Vincent Sherman

Screenplay by Leonard Spiegelgass and Edwin Gilbert

Based on a story by Leonard Spiegelgass and Leo Rosten

I am so confident that you’re going to want to see ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT when this review is over that I’m just going to give you the plot and the characters and I’m going to bet my mint condition #1 of DC Comics ‘Black Lightning’ that by the end of this review, this movie will be on your Netflix list.  Ready?  Okay, here we go:

Well-known man-about-town and professional gambler Alfred “Gloves” Donahue (Humphrey Bogart) is summoned from Yankee Stadium by his mother (Jane Darwell).  Papa Miller who runs the neighborhood bakery has gone missing which upsets Gloves to no end as he won’t eat any other cheesecake except for Papa Miller’s.  A search of the bakery’s basement soon turns up the dead body of Papa Miller.  Mother Donahue won’t rest until her son gets involved to find out who killed Papa Miller even though Gloves keeps insisting he’s just a ‘sports promoter’ and not a cop.  With the assistance of his trusty sidekicks Sunshine (William Demarest) Starchy (Jackie Gleason) and Barney (Frank McHugh) Gloves tracks down a mysterious girl who had come to the shop to see Papa Miller and was highly upset about hearing about his death.  The girl is the torch singer Leda Hamilton (Kaaren Verne) who works with the pianist Pepi (Peter Lorre) whose disarming charm masks a soul filled with bloodthirsty sadism.

It isn’t long before Gloves and his boys find themselves up their stylish fedoras in a nest of Nazi Fifth Columnists led by the sinister Franz Ebbing (Conrad Veidt) and his assistant Madame (Judith Anderson) who along with Pepi make as ruthless a trio of villains as you could ever imagine.  Turns out that the Fifth Columnists were blackmailing Papa Miller into working with them and when he couldn’t take it anymore and threatened to go to the cops, Pepi killed him.  Gloves is framed for murder by Pepi and having nowhere else to turn, appeals to New York’s underworld element.  Gloves has discovered that Ebbing has a plot in the works to blow up an experimental prototype battleship docked at The Brooklyn Navy Yard and there’s no time to convince the cops of what’s going to happen.  And so it’s Game On as New York’s criminal underworld throws itself into a race against time to stop the Nazis while Gloves has a no less dangerous task: save Leda from the clutches of the villains in order to clear his good name and still get home in time for dinner with his beloved mother.

You’re going to tell me you don’t want to see this movie? ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT has a screwball plot that is so wonderful I wish I’d thought of it myself.  Humphrey Bogart is terrific as Gloves Donahue.  He’s totally charming when he has to be and when he has to be tough, well…let’s just say that for me, Bogart is the living embodiment of ‘tough’.  I really liked the scenes he has with Jane Darwell who plays his mother.  Even though Gloves insists he’s juts a gambler and a ‘promoter’ his mother knows her son is a gangster.  But she loves him to death anyway.  The rapport between them is wonderfully to see on screen.

Conrad Veidt, Judith Anderson and Peter Lorre make an extremely formidable trio of villains and it’s plain ol’ flat-out fun to watch Bogart’s street-smart gangster match verbal wits with Veidt’s sophisticated European intellectual.  There’s an interesting subplot where we see that Judith Anderson’s character is clearly jealous of the attention Ebbing shows Leda.  Another subplot that is played for very effective laughs is that Barney has just gotten married but he can never get to spend time with his wife because Gloves and the boys are always dragging him off on a new escapade.

William Demarest (Uncle Charlie from ‘My Three Sons’) Frank McHugh and Jackie Gleason (yes, that Jackie Gleason) are all terrific as Bogart’s sidekicks with personalities, quirks and mannerisms that are as distinctive as those of Doc Savage’s Iron Crew or Buckaroo Banzai’s Hong Kong Cavaliers.

The whole movie is a weird type of action/comedy that we like to think is a modern movie convention but ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT proved that they did back then in 1942 and did it well.  The dialog is absolutely fantastic and delivered in a Damon Runyonesq style that will make you think of ‘Guys And Dolls’.  There’s a wisecrack thrown off in almost every sentence and the use of a type of Pig Latin doubletalk is used to hilarious effect in one of the best and funniest scenes in the movie: Gloves and Sunshine infiltrate a secret Nazi meeting by posing as German demolition experts:

 

Just take my word for it:  ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT is a lot of fun and it’s a great movie.  It’s been one of my favorite films for years. If you’re a Bogie fan you’ve probably seen it already and if you’re not, you will be after you see it.  I consider it a lost classic of pulp adventure.  You see it then come back and tell me what you think.

107 Minutes

Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea

1961

20th Century Fox

Directed and Produced by Irwin Allen

Written by Irwin Allen and Charles Bennett

 

Not too long ago I was in a discussion with some friends who asked me if I had a chance to remake any movie with today’s special effects, which one would I do.  My answer with no hesitation was VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA.

Don’t ask me why this movie holds such a place in my movie going heart but every single time it’s shown on Turner Classic Movies, I stop what I’m doing and watch it.  What’s even stranger is that I really didn’t care for the TV show that was based on the movie and rarely watched it but the movie…I guess it’s because I first watched it when I was a kid and I can still get in touch with that 12 year old who saw the movie for the first time and who sat there totally hypnotized by the story, characters and action.

After we get past the theme song sung by then teenage idol Frankie Avalon (the 60’s version of Clay Aiken) we see our first view of the magnificent futuristic supersub Seaview as it leaps out of the water like a dolphin.  Next to Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, The Seaview is probably the most famous fictional submarine you know.  It’s sleek as a rocket with a unique transparent nose that is part of the observation deck where you can see the marvels of undersea life.  The Seaview is the brainchild of Admiral Harriman Nelson (Walter Pidgeon) a brilliant, eccentric and arrogant (is there really any other kind in the movies?) scientist who is the founder of The Nelson Institute of Oceanographic Research and he’s taken The Seaview on a test run in the Arctic.  Among those aboard The Seaview is the sub’s captain, Lee Crane (Robert Sterling) The Admiral’s personal assistant Lt. Cathy Connors (Barbara Eden), Nelson’s longtime friend Commodore Lucius Emery (Peter Lorre) Captain Crane’s right hand man Lt. Danny Romano (Frankie Avalon) as well as Dr. Susan Hiller (Joan Fontaine) who is observing the effects of long term undersea stress on the crew.  Nelson’s sub has been considered a folly but the Arctic tests have proven the sub’s capabilities.: It’s not only the fastest sub ever built but it can dive deeper than any other sub.  It carries more destructive capabilities than all the explosive power used during World War II and it has enough laboratories on board to qualify as a mobile research facility.

Nelson is deliriously happy with the results of the tests and is relishing in his sub having proven its worth.  But then, during some underwater tests, icebergs batter The Seaview and the sub surfaces to find the entire sky is on fire. In a spookily surrealistic scene, Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane see massive icebergs smoking due to their melting from the intensive heat.  Nelson contacts Washington and finds out that the Van Allen Belt of radiation surrounding the earth has been ignited by a rogue comet and the temperature of the Earth is rising.   He’s ordered to The United Nations where the world’s leading scientists are meeting to try and find a solution.  The Seaview makes it from the Arctic to New York in two days (told you it was a fast sub) and Nelson presents his solution:  he thinks that if The Seaview can fire a nuclear missile from The Marianas Trench at just the right angle at just the right time on just the right day, the nuclear explosion will blow the Van Allen Belt out into space and kill the fire.  Nelson is violently opposed as the other scientists think the fire will burn itself out once it reaches a certain temperature.  The problem with this plan is that if Nelson doesn’t get to fire his missile and if his colleagues are wrong, there will no chance for another try and the temperature will keep rising and burn the Earth to a cinder.

Nelson and his crew have to fight their way out of The United Nations and back to The Seaview where Nelson orders Crane to head for The Marianas Trench.   His intention is to get in touch with The President of The United States to get authorization.  The radiation thrown off by the Van Allen belt makes this impossible and so Nelson decides to go ahead with his plan.  The problem is this: The Seaview has been declared rogue and every submarine in the world has orders to blow it out of the water.  So the intrepid crew of The Seaview not only have to make their deadline but they have to do it while dodging enemy submarines trying to stop them, a secret saboteur onboard, a giant squid, a lethal minefield and Nelson’s own arrogant stubbornness which leads his crew to near mutiny.  And what if Nelson is wrong?  Will his plan doom the Earth to certain destruction?

VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA is plain good old-fashioned non-stop pulp adventure from start to finish.  There’s an amazing amount of good characterization provided by the actors, especially Walter Pidgeon, Peter Lorre, Barbara Eden and Joan Fontaine. The actors play it absolutely straight and even though the science in the movie is totally goofy, they sell it.   Michael Ansara is also aboard the sub as a man who The Seaview picks up on the Arctic ice and who believes that The Seaview should be stopped in it’s mission as he believes it’s God’s will that if the world should come to an end, Nelson shouldn’t prevent it.  They have a really good scene where Pigeon argues with Ansara that if God believes that that world should come to an end then why did God give man the intelligence and capabilities to try and prevent that end?  It’s a really tense scene that lifts the movie out of what could have been a cheesy standard sci-fi underwater adventure and gives it a little thought and philosophical substance.

The movie also has great suspense as even Lee Crane begins to doubt Admiral Nelson, who he looks on as a father and he’s torn between his love and respect for the Admiral and his concern for his men.  And to make things even worse there are signs that even the iron-willed Admiral Nelson might be cracking under the strain of trying to save the world.  And who is sabotaging The Seaview?  Is it Dr. Hiller who thinks that Nelson is suffering from stress?  Or is it the religious fanatic Alvarez (Michael Ansara)?  Or could it just be one of the crew who has begun to doubt Nelson?

The special effects are what you would expect from the 1960’s but they’re awfully effective, especially the attack by the giant squid but the truly terrifying scene where The Seaview has to navigate a mine field gets my vote as the real nail biter.  And the last fifteen minutes of the movie where Alvarez holds the control room of The Seaview hostage with a bomb and time is running out to fire the missile is just as good.

So should you see VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA?  Hell, yes.  Even though it was made back in the 60’s I really don’t think it’s dated as all in terms of story and acting.  It’s a terrifically entertaining Saturday Afternoon movie that wants nothing more than for you to sit back and be thrilled by the adventure on the screen.  It’s got action, suspense, one of the coolest submarines ever put on film and terrific performances by an old school cast that knows they’re making a B-movie and they’re gonna make a damn good one.  See it and I dare you to tell me VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA doesn’t deserve a “King Kong”style big-budget remake.

105 minutes