The Movie Poster Art Of Dark Victory

Dark Passage is a 1939 movie drama starring Bette Davis. Let me state how much I love this movie.  Many fans, myself included, would be in agreement that Dark Victory contains one of her best acting performances.  The movie is extremely well written and has an excellent cast.  Some of Bette Davis’ co-stars include the incredibly likable George Brent, a young Ronald Reagan and Humphrey Bogart in one of his more interesting supporting roles.

Instead of focusing on the movie itself I instead want to look at the film’s movie poster art. Like many movies Dark Victory inspired quite a diverse collection of movie posters.  Some of them accurately captured the mood of the film.  I have chosen to highlight just a few.

I belive this is the poster that is  most associated with the movie.  It is a very colorful illustration that nicely features those wonderful Bette Davis eyes.  It really does not say much about the film.  Based on this image, as wonderful as it may be, it is unclear as to what the film is about.

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I love this absolutely beautiful watercolor illustration taken from the Italian movie poster for the film.  This is my favorite image from the group. The poster features an incredible image of Bette Davis, however it may be just a bit too sad. There is a sadness to the film, but that is not the whole story. Tramonto translates to sunset or nightfall, both words could be fitting titles for the film.

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I really like the artwork in this Spanish movie poster.  The sentiment is very tender and loving.  However, the likeness of the two lead actors, especially Bette Davis, is not great.  Despite this it is still a fantastic poster that more accurately conveys the feel of the movie. Amarga Victoria translates to Bitter Victory.

This one is very different, and features another great image of the film’s star.  Perhaps this one is a bit melodramatic, but then again it is a melodramatic movie.  Overall this poster  does not relate enough to the movie.

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Here’s another poster with a great image of Bette Davis.  But this image is a bit too melodramatic and melancholy.  Despite the sadness present in the film there is still quite a bit of laughter and light throughout.

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This French movie poster is quite different.  The likeness of George Brent is nicely done. But the depiction of Bette Davis is not very accurate or flattering. Overall it is a very artsy poster. Victoire sur la Nuit translates to Victory On The Night or Victory Over The Night.

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This last one is different, but it is the least interesting of the batch. Although it does display various emotional states of the main character, it does not convey much about the true essence of the movie.

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It is amazing how many drastically different posters can be produced for a single movie. I consider Dark Victory to be a work of art.  Revisiting some of the movie posters  and seeing how various artists depicted the film has been fascinating.  I do not think any of the posters featured here accurately depict the overall tone of the movie.  I do understand, it is an emotionally complex movie. Creating a single image to convey the mood and essence of the film would have been a tall order.  Some of the posters work better than others and that is fine.  They may be works of art, but their ultimate purpose was the promotion of the film.  This collection of movie posters, along with many others, were created to inform the world of a new Bette Davis film, Dark Victory.

Troy T.

Casablanca: The Bond Of Friendship

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One of my favorite aspects of the classic movie  Casablanca is the relationship between Rick Blaine and Sam. Obviously the movie is of its time. When Ilsa Lund arrives at Rick’s Cafe Americain she inquires about Sam asking about “The boy who’s playing the piano.” It was not said in a condescending or malicious way, it was just how things were at that time.

With that being said Rick and Sam are obviously much more than employer and employee. It is quite apparent that there is history, trust and deep friendship between these two men. Their interaction with one another is that of mutual respect. Both look out for one another throughout the movie. Between Paris and Casablanca I am sure that they went through a great deal together.

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Casablanca is first and foremost a war time drama with a romantic subplot.  These two themes intertwine to give the movie its main storyline.  But the bond of friendship between Rick and Sam is definitely one of the movie’s most interesting and least mentioned subplots.

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Bad Sister: Bogart And Bette Davis Together For The First Time

I recently watched the movie Bad Sister and I must say that I really enjoyed this film. At sixty eight minutes it is short and sweet. Released in 1931, it is Humphrey Bogart’s fouth film and Bette Davis’ film debut.

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The film is basically a light drama, with some added touches of comedy. The story revolves around the Madison family and their four children. Sidney Fox, as Marianne Madison, plays the title role. I guess that would make Bette Davis’ Laura Madison the Good Sister. Humphrey Bogart is fantastic as Valentine Corliss, in a supporting role. He arrives into their small town and forever changes their lives.

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For me it was great to see a young Humphrey Bogart, before he was a major star. He was just a young, good looking actor slowly climbing the ladder of success in Hollywood. Here in just his fourth film he is already a polished actor. It interesting that he is given fourth billing, below Bette Davis and Sidney Fox. Both actresses making their film debut. Bette Davis, here in her early 20’s, is solid in her role. One can detect her acting ability. However the shy, passive character that she portrays only allows for a small range of emotions.

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The whole cast is very enjoyable. Special mention should be given to ZaSu Pitts as Minnie the family maid and child actor David Durand as Hedrick, the youngest Madison sibling. Pitts is quite funny as the crabby, cantankerous maid. Durand, as Hedrick, has some funny moments. But at times his character borders on being one of the most annoying children that I have ever seen in a movie.

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Bad Sister is not a Humphrey Bogart movie, he is clearly a supporting character. He has more screen time  than I expected and he makes the most of every minute. Nor is it a Bette Davis movie. She has decent screen time, but this is really Sidney Fox’s movie. Fox has second billing but she is clearly the star of the movie.

It is very surprising that this film has not been released on DVD or Blu-ray in America. It features two of the biggest stars of old time Hollywood together early in their career. As a fan of both actors this movie did not disappoint. Including Bad Sister, Bogart and Davis appeared in six films together. The other films are Three On A Match (1932), The Petrified Forest (1936), Marked Women (1937), Kid Galahad (1937) and Dark Victory (1939). I do hope that someday soon Bad Sister will get a proper release.

Why I Have Not Watched Humphrey Bogart’s Last Movie

I consider myself to be a huge fan of Humphrey Bogart’s movies. Of the seventy plus movies that he appeared in I have watched all but six of them. I own quite a few of his movies as well, including The Harder They Fall, his last movie. I must confess that there is a part of me that refuses to watch The Harder They Fall. I have owned the DVD for a few years now. I was fortunate to have found the DVD at a great price online.  But it remains in it’s case waiting to be watched.

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My initial intentions were that I would view The Harder They Fall once I had seen all of Bogart’s previous films. On the surface this was not an unrealistic goal since I had seen the majority of his movies at that point. However I ran into a bit of a problem. Some of his earliest movies are not available on DVD. In many of these movies Bogart  had third, fourth  or fifth billing.  This was not an issue for me, I wanted to view the films and see his evolution as an actor. Over time I realized that this quest may not come to a completion. I watched as many of his movies as I could, with the intention of one day watching The Harder They Fall.

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A few years have passed and I have yet to watch his last film. You might ask why.  Well it’s a bit silly. Part of me feels that if I watch The Harder They Fall then it will be over. I know that Humphrey Bogart  died in 1957, so his career has been done for a long time. So what exactly will be over? I suppose it’s the thrill of discovering and viewing his filmography, that will be over. Although I regularly re-watch many of his films, once I watch The Harder They Fall there will not be any unseen movies starring Humphrey Bogart for me to discover. It all sounds a bit silly, but I’m being honest.  In those very early films he was just a costar or a supporting player.  He may appear in the movies but they are not Humphrey Bogart movies.

I will watch The Harder They Fall one day, I would say that it is well overdue. The other films that he costarred in that I have not seen are Up The River, A Devil With Women, Body And Soul , Bad Sister (Bette Davis’ debut movie) and A Holy Terror.  Hopefully one day I can complete my quest of watching Bogart’s entire filmography.  It would be fantastic if a company  released them all in a DVD collection, The Unseen Bogart Films. For now at the start of the new year perhaps I should resolve to watch The Harder They Fall in 2017.

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Troy T.

 

Favorite Noirs For Noirvember

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I count Film Noir as one of my favorite movie genres. I have viewed quite a few, but I know that there are so many more films for me to see in this genre. Considering that I really became a fan of this genre about eight years ago I have some catching up to do. That being said, in honor of Noirvember, here is a list of my favorite Film Noir movies.

Blade Runner  (1982) – A movie that I have seen countless times since 1982, yet to this day I still see new and different things with repeated viewing. A sci-fi  film that is noir to the core. Rick Deckard is one of Harrison Ford’s greatest movie characters.

Out Of The Past (1947) – “Why don’t you break his head Jeff?” One of the many great lines uttered by the lovely Kathie Moffat. Robert Mitchum, the second coolest actor in old time Hollywood, after Humphrey  Bogart, is the doomed protagonist. If someone asked me, “What is film noir?” I would show them this fantastic movie.

Dead Reckoning (1947) – Allegedly Bogart wanted Lauren Bacall for this movie. Bacall was a far better actress than Lizabeth Scott, however Scott was better suited for this femme fatale role.

In A Lonely Place (1950) – Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame have great chemistry here. As a viewer you really want their relationship to work out……but this is a film noir. Is it fate or just bad timing that rules in the end? Bogart plays Dixon Steele, a nice, likable  guy, when he’s not being cynical, sarcastic, hot tempered, paranoid, reckless and violent.

Double Indemnity (1944) – “I was thinking about that dame upstairs and the way she looked at me.” Walter Neff’s words after meeting Phyllis Dietrichson, one of noir’s great femme fatales. Little did he know where that fateful meeting would lead him. Contains some of the best dialogue of any film noir movie that I have seen.

Dark Passage (1947) – Bogie and Bacall together for the third time. A prison break, plastic surgery and a quest for justice. As outlandish as it is, I love premise of this film. Bogie and Bacall are great together, once again.

Conflict (1945) – There’s that man again, yes another noir featuring Humphrey Bogart. Sydney Greenstreet and Alexis Smith costar. One of Bogart’s lesser known movies, it features a great story, great performances and great production.

The Big Combo (1955) A great cast, great dialogue and fantastic,(in some cases iconic), visuals. Richard Conte is incredibly ruthless and sadistic portraying crime boss Mr. Brown. A surprisingly gritty and brutal film for 1955. Special mention must be made in regards to Ted de Corsia and Helene Stanton, both great in supporting roles.

T- Men (1947) A compelling story, a great cast and fantastic characters. Charles McGraw is great as one of the movie’s main tough guys, Moxie. Many great noir visuals and one of the most heartbreaking scenes in film noir.

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) – Fantastic cast, great story. One of the best film noirs around. As in many noirs fate wins in the end.

Detour (1945) – A fantastic B-Movie and one of the best examples of what film noir is about. If educating someone new to noir I would show them Out Of The Past and then Detour.

Troy T.

A Warner Brothers What If

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Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and George Raft. What if someone at Warner Brothers could have gotten these four greats into one movie?  Wow, what a classic that would have been! They could have given it one of those typical Warner Brothers titles, “We Die As One”,  “Rush Of Night”,  “Four Way Stop” or “The Heat’s On Us”.

Any combination of the three actors would have had the makings for an excellent movie. Thankfully we did get several pairings of twos: Robinson and Raft, Bogart and Cagney, Raft and Bogart, Robinson and Cagney, Bogart and Robinson, Cagney and Raft.

Although they never appeared together in one film they sure made a lot of movies on their own.  Here are my favorite movies from these classic Warner Brothers tough guys.

Humphrey Bogart – My favorite of the bunch. So hard to pick just a few, he made so many excellent movies. Even in some of his lesser movies he tended to give a strong performance.

Casablanca
Dark Passage
The Maltese Falcon
Sahara
Sirocco

James Cagney – Cagney and Bogart were great together on screen. It’s a real shame that they were not able to make a movie together later in their careers. Key Largo, released in 1948 starring Bogart and Robinson , is gold because Bogart and Robinson were mature actors, both at the top of their game. To have seen Bogart and Cagney together around this time period would have been fantastic.

The Roaring Twenties
Angels With Dirty Faces
G Men
The Public Enemy
White Heat

George Raft – Acting wise the lesser of the four, but he had the most mainstream appeal of the group.

They Drive By Night
Invisible Stripes
A Bullet For Joey

Edward G. Robinson – Hands down the most versatile of the four and the best actor in the bunch.  Robinson and Bogart appeared together in five films. Although Key Largo is generally mentioned as a Bogart and Bacall movie, Robinson really steals the movie.

Key Largo
Bullets Or Ballots
The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse
Double Indemnity
Kid Galahad

Bogart As Blade Runner

This is such a cool image I had to post it.  Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies.  Humphrey Bogart and Harrison Ford are two of my favorite actors.  The poster’s creator is Peter Stults.

 

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