Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

All Through the Night

All Through the NightCinema Monolith: 7/10 This film is part of the Cinema Monolith collection!
IMDb: 7.2/10
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide: *** out of 4

Released on December 2, 1941
Not rated
107 minutes

Directed by Vincent Sherman

Written by Leonard Spigelgass and Edwin Gilbert

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt, Kaaren Verne, Peter Lorre, Judith Anderson, Jane Darwell, Frank McHugh, William Demarest, Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers, Barton MacLane, Wallace Ford, Edward Brophy, Ludwig Stössel, Frank Sully

It’s New York City mobsters versus the Third Reich in this featherweight but entertaining World War II spy film from Warner Bros, starring Humphrey Bogart as a sports promoter and mob boss who, along with his gang of recognizable character actors, stumbles upon a Nazi conspiracy unfolding in the middle of Manhattan, and decides it’s his patriotic duty to do something about it. Along the way he helps a pretty blonde singer, played by Kaaren Verne, who’s mysteriously caught in the middle of it all, and who he falls for despite her questionable background.

Between dramatic stints as Sam Spade and Rick Blaine, Bogart took it down a notch as ‘Gloves’ Donahue, a good-natured but tough-as-nails gambler who enjoys boxing, horse racing, baseball, and a daily slice of cheesecake from his favorite neighborhood bakery. When the baker goes missing and is later found dead, Bogart is spurred into action; he and his wiseacre cohorts follow a trail of clues that stretches from the bakery to a nightclub to a warehouse full of toys, and finally to a Nazi hideout smack-dab in the middle of Broadway. There, our heroes go head-to-head against German agents, who are planning to soon sabotage a US battleship somewhere along the East River.

This was well-made, breezy fun, with Vincent Sherman capably directing a blend of three genres—action, espionage, and comedy—and delivering an equal balance of all three, never allowing the quips and one-liners to completely overwhelm the serious undertone of the story’s subject matter. It was an interesting mix: the goofball hijinks of Bogart’s happy-go-lucky pals William Demerest, Frank McHugh, and Jackie Gleason juxtaposed with fifth columnists Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, and Judith Anderson, whose sinister portrayals nearly stole the show. It took a few scenes, but I eventually got used to this odd combination of styles, and from then on appreciated the film simply for what it was.

Which is easier to do when you have someone like Bogart in the lead, and skilled actors backing him up, and the occasional noir look to go along with scenes that were meticulously shot and framed by Sherman (a facet which surprised me, considering the comic nature of the film). The story wasn’t bad either, and if you took away the farcical aspects of it, there was a pretty good spy thriller going on in there; actually, to me it felt more like a detective mystery, with Bogart following leads that carried him along a serpentine path filled with double-crosses, thugs, skeptical police lieutenants, and in this case, a covert ring of ruthless German operatives.

Also noteworthy were two sequences which I felt were the film’s standouts. My favorite involved Bogart and Demerest stumbling into a secret meeting of Nazi sympathizers, and saving their skins (and hopelessly confusing the entire gathering) by double-talking their way through a speech; seeing Bogart suddenly blurt Heil! every ten seconds was flat-out hilarious. And at one point I began to wonder if Hitchcock might’ve watched this movie and taken notes; a few scenes from North by Northwest seemed lifted from this one, most tellingly where Bogart attended an art gallery auction (a front for the Nazis) and bid outrageously to outwit Veidt and gain access to a suspicious back room.

The film had some rah-rah propaganda towards its predictably corny wrap-up, and I can’t say I was all that happy with the apparent demise of Hansel, the innocent dachshund owned by Veidt, but otherwise All Through the Night was quite an enjoyable time, and worth a look if you’re in the mood for something light, something amusing, and something Bogart. And talk about foretelling the future: the film made it clear there were unseen enemies ready to undermine our nation, and American involvement in the war was a distinct possibility…and five days after its release, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, ushering the US into World War II.  (7/10)

All Through the Night

 

22 comments on “All Through the Night

  1. butterboy44
    6/1/14

    Little known behind the scenes fact: It was on this film that Jackie Gleason started eating handfuls of eclairs and buckets of vanilla pudding each day to get in shape for his later role on The Honeymooners. It’s true! I just made it up — I mean, looked it up.

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/1/14

      And a littler-known fact: Phil Silvers served those delicious pastries to Mr. Gleason while working at Charlie’s Restaurant in New York, to help him prepare for his later role in the 1950s military comedy The Phil Silvers Food Stuffing Hour. And thanks for checking in, Herr Goose!

  2. Joe Thompson
    6/1/14

    I enjoyed this movie and I enjoyed your comments. There was a small genre of gangsters vs Nazi movies. Lucky Luciano and his Cosa Nostra allies did some work to keep the New York docks safe and free of strikes during the war. Thanks for sharing.

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/1/14

      Here I thought I stumbled upon something unique with the ‘Nazis vs gangsters’ storyline that makes up All Through the Night, but it sounds like there’s a few more examples of it out there to choose from…I’ll see if I can dig ’em up! Thanks for the thoughts, Joe, and thanks for checking out the review.

  3. It’s certainly a fact that I enjoyed your review! This is a Bogart picture that I haven’t seen (which is odd, as Conrad Veidt in combination just sounds perfect), but is now on my urgent list. This type of jolly, two-fisted propaganda is just my cup of tea! Thanks.

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/1/14

      Thanks Clayton! Both Bogart and Veidt are great in this, so I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. If you see it, let me know what you thought!

  4. Excellent review. Very enjoyable read. And as usual, makes me want to see this film immediately! Thanks Todd!

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/1/14

      As always, Julie, I appreciate your comments! I’m not sure when it might screen next on TCM or the Fox Movie Channel, but if I find out, I’ll let you know!

  5. Team Hansel! I just love that little extra pup/prop and Veidt carries it off so well. I agree, this is an excellent little propaganda programmer. I mean, how can you beat that cast? Thanks so much for participating!

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/1/14

      That cast was way cool, but it was nothing without the screen presence and excellent acting chops of Hansel! And for the sake of Team Hansel, I’m going to say that our favorite wiener dog leapt off that boat at the last moment, after which he and Bogart immediately swam to safety. And thanks for letting me be a part of your fun blogathon!

  6. Joe Thompson
    6/2/14

    The other gangster vs Nazi movie I can remember seeing was Hitler — Dead or Alive (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034857/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1) which I saw on a late night show called The Worst of Hollywood in San Francisco many years ago. I think there are others.

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/2/14

      Thanks for the IMDb link…if I can find the actual movie on-line, I may have something to review for the next Snoopathon!

  7. What a great cast! There’s something really satisfying about watching American gangsters take on the Nazis…This was a fun read, thanks!

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/3/14

      Hi Cameron, thanks for stopping by! I have to admit, I think I enjoyed watching the bad guy actors here more than the good guys, but by the end I was quite satisfied to see their backsides handed to them by Bogart & Co!

  8. ACK! Can’t believe I haven’t seen this one.

    Great review. I really enjoyed this.

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/3/14

      Thanks, SS! And don’t worry, you’re not alone; I’m discovering that a lot of people have never seen or heard of this film, and even when the Bogart canon is discussed in print and on-line, it’s always overlooked for some reason. I hope you get a chance to check it out…it is indeed a fun little movie.

  9. Such a fun movie and such a fun review.

    Those Dirty Fivers think they’re so smart. Ha!

    Can’t help worrying about poor Annabelle. Some honeymoon!

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/4/14

      If there ever was a honeymoon! Somehow I don’t see that relationship lasting very long, and Annabelle has every right to blame Barney, the gang, AND the meddlesome Nazis. Thanks for the nice comments, Patricia!

  10. girlsdofilm
    6/5/14

    I watched this for Bogart, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it quite as much as I did! He always pairs so well with Lorre. I do agree with your observations about the corny ending, I really hoped they wouldn’t but I guess it was an attempt to deal with events that were so close to home.

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/5/14

      I agree with you on both counts, Victoria: Bogart and Lorre are always so much fun together (though I’ve never seen Passage to Marseille), and with a film like this, I guess we should expect corny at some point. I’m a big fan of film noir, and with those films it’s either one ending or the other: a downbeat one like in Out of the Past, or a goofy ‘let’s make a joke and laugh’ wrap-up like in The Devil Thumbs a Ride. As you may have guessed, I prefer the former far more than the latter.

  11. I never heard of this film before, but it sounds like a lot of fun. I do love Bogart (who of course was great in Casablanca and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) and the idea of him doing comedy does sound interesting. It could also be fun to see Peter Lorre show off his more comedic side. I’ve heard he actually had quite the sense of humor but didn’t get to use it very often.

    • Todd Benefiel
      6/6/14

      Hi John! If you love Bogart, I’d say definitely hunt this one down! Keep in mind, though, that there’s a comedic side to this film and a sinister side; Lorre is definitely part of the sinister, no-nonsense half, while I’d say Bogart is right in the middle, serving up a little of both. Admittedly, it would’ve been interesting to see Lorre act like a goofus, though!

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