Dark Passage

  • Directors: Delmer Daves
  • Producers: Jerry Wald
  • Writers: Story, David Goodis, Screenplay, Delmer Daves
  • Genres: Film-Noir, Thriller
  • Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Agnes Moorehead

Convicted murderer Vincent Parry escapes from San Quentin prison. He is picked up on the road and sheltered by Irene Jansen, an artist who has taken a personal interest in his case.

Helped by a friendly cabbie, Sam, the fugitive Parry gets a new face from a plastic surgeon, thereby enabling him to dodge the authorities and look for his wife’s real murderer.

He has difficulty staying hidden at Irene’s because of nosy Madge Rapf, a spiteful woman whose testimony sent him up to prison. Madge keeps stopping by Irene’s apartment, particularly after she fears Parry might come after her next.

Parry’s best friend is found murdered, so he becomes the logical prime suspect. A blackmailer named Baker also traps Parry and tries to extort money from Irene to keep from turning over Parry to the cops.

The story’s climax features the killer realizing the true identity of the man behind the new face.

To Have and Have Not

  • Directors: Howard Hawks
  • Producers: Howard Hawks, Jack L Warner
  • Writers: Novel, Ernest Hemingway, Screenplay, Jules Furthman, William Faulkner, Cleve F Adams, Whitman Chambers
  • Genres: Adventure, Romance, Thriller, War
  • Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan, Lauren Bacall, Dolores Moran, Hoagy Carmichael

The film is set in the Caribbean city of Fort de France, Martinique under the Vichy regime in the summer of 1940, shortly after the fall of France to the Germans. In this exotic location, the world-weary fishing boat captain Harry ‘Steve’ Morgan (Humphrey Bogart) is urged to help the French Resistance smuggle some people onto the island. He refuses, until the client, Johnson (Walter Sande) who has been hiring out his fishing boat (and owes him $825) is accidentally shot before paying him.

The hotel owner Gerard, commonly known as Frenchy (Marcel Dalio) (the leader of the Free French), asks Harry to rent him his boat for one night to transport some members of the resistance underground. Broke, he ends up smuggling onto Martinique Helene (Dolores Moran) and Paul De Bursac (Walter Szurovy). Meanwhile, a romance unfolds between Harry and Marie ‘Slim’ Browning (Lauren Bacall), an American pickpocket who has come to the island.[1]

After picking up Helene and Paul De Bursac, Harry is spotted by a patrol boat, and Paul is wounded before they escape. Harry is surprised to find that Marie stayed in Martinique to be with him. At Frenchy’s request, Harry removes the bullet from De Bursac’s shoulder and learns that the De Bursacs have been assigned to help a man escape from Devil’s Island. De Bursac asks for Harry’s assistance, but Harry turns him down.[2]

Later, the police, who recognized Harry’s boat the previous night, reveal that they have Harry’s buddy, a rummy, Eddie (Walter Brennan) in custody and will coerce him to tell the truth about the boat’s cargo. At gunpoint, Harry forces the police to arrange for Eddie’s release and sign harbor passes, so that he can take the De Bursacs to Devil’s Island. Slim says goodbye to her piano-playing friend Cricket (Hoagy Carmichael). After Eddie returns, he, Harry and Marie leave Martinique for a more committed life together.[3]

Misery

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman, Jeffrey Stott, Steve Nicolaides
  • Writers: Novel, Stephen King, Screenplay, William Goldman
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Lauren Bacall

Famed novelist, Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is the best selling author of a series of romance novels involving the character, Misery Chastaine. After finishing his latest novel, he departs from Silver Creek, Colorado to New York; he drives in the middle of a blizzard and his car goes off the road. He is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) and brought back to her home where she tends to his injuries.

She claims she is his number one fan, and goes on and on about how she cherishes Paul and the novels. At first, Annie seems to be a very kind nurse with a very happy-go-lucky attitude, but it becomes clear to Paul that she is psychotic. He lets her read his novel and she says that she disagrees with profanity, while she is feeding him, she loses control, spilling some soup on him, but regains control and humbly apologizes for her actions.

She then gets a copy of Paul’s already published book entitled, Misery’s Child the latest Misery novel and the last, as Paul has decided to go on writing other stories, including the one he has already finished. After he has “killed” Misery (who suffered a maternal death) in this story, Annie goes into a rage, almost killing Paul, she claims that she never contacted the hospital, his agent or family, or anyone else Paul knows. Annie then leaves and Paul decides to escape his room but she has locked the door making it impossible for him to leave. Annie comes to him the following morning and makes him burn his latest novel. Paul initially refuses, but then Annie starts pouring lighting fluid onto the bedspread, making it clear that she will set the bed on fire if Paul refuses.

Eighteen months later, Paul (now able to walk again) meets with his publishing agent in New York, in a restaurant, discussing his first non-Misery novel called The Higher Education of J. Philip Stone, which has become a real success. His agent asks if he wants to write a non-fiction book about his time with Annie, but Paul claims it would not be good for him. He then sees a vision of Annie as a waitress but turns out to be someone else. The waitress claims that she is his number one fan, to which Paul responds, “That’s very sweet of you.”

The Big Sleep

  • Directors: Howard Hawks
  • Producers: Howard Hawks
  • Writers: Novel, Raymond Chandler, Screenplay, William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall

Note: As there are two cuts of this movie, this plot description may be inaccurate.

Private detective Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) calls on new client General Sternwood (Charles Waldron) at his Los Angeles mansion. As he waits in the foyer, the General’s younger daughter, Carmen (Martha Vickers), flirts seductively with Marlowe. Marlowe is indifferent towards her flirtatious comments, leaving Carmen intrigued. He is then led by Norris, the butler, into the sun room where he is introduced to the ailing but wealthy general, who wants to resolve gambling debts owed by Carmen to a bookseller named Arthur Gwynn Geiger. As Marlowe begins to leave, he is stopped by General Sternwood’s oldest daughter, Mrs. Vivian Rutledge (Lauren Bacall), who questions Marlowe about what he is doing for her father. Vivian, who was recently divorced, suspects her father’s true reason for calling in a detective is to find Sean Regan, his friend, companion and bodyguard who had mysteriously disappeared a month earlier. The general assumption, established as the film progresses, is that Regan has run off with a local gambler’s wife, Mrs. Eddie Mars.

Marlowe goes to Arthur Geiger’s rare book shop and quickly dons a disguise as he enters the shop under the premise of searching for several rare books. Agnes, the unfriendly shop assistant, claims that they don’t have the book Marlowe is looking for, nor any of the other books he inquires about. Marlowe begins to suspect that the book store is a front. As he is talking with Agnes, a man enters the back room where Marlowe sees stacks of books and paper. His suspicions are correct: Geiger is illegally selling pornographic books. He asks to see Mr. Geiger, but Agnes claims that Geiger is not in. Marlowe leaves the store and takes shelter in a bookstore across the street as it begins to rain. While there, he asks the brunette bookstore clerk whether or not she has ever seen Geiger. She replies that she has. She describes Geiger as being in his early 40s, fat, with a Charlie Chan mustache and a glass eye. Marlowe and the attractive brunette begin to flirt. She removes her glasses and lets down her hair. Marlowe decides to wait for Geiger in the store. The clerk lowers the blinds and pulls out glasses for the bottle of rye Marlowe offers.

Marlowe wounds Mars and he runs out. But his men, waiting to ambush Marlowe, shoot and kill Mars. Marlowe calls Bernie Ohls to wrap up the case but tells him that Mars killed Regan. Marlowe and Vivian decide to commit Carmen and conceal the truth from the dying General Sternwood. They wait in the dark as sirens approach, now committed to each other.[1][2][3]

The Shootist

  • Directors: Don Siegel
  • Producers: M J Frankovich, William Self
  • Writers: Glendon Swarthout, Scott Hale, Miles Hood Swarthout
  • Genres: Drama, Western
  • Actors: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Harry Morgan, Ron Howard, James Stewart

The Shootist tells the story of John Bernard (J.B.) Books (John Wayne) (born January, 29, 1843), an aging gunfighter, the most celebrated “shootist” extant, who is struggling with terminal prostate cancer. The movie begins with a clip montage of some of Wayne’s earlier western movies. Although Books is perceived by some of the characters as an amoral opportunist, he expresses his simple creed when he says, “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” Arriving in El Paso, Texas (Carson City, Nevada in the movie) in 1901, Books seeks the second medical opinion of an old friend, Doc E. W. Hostetler (Jimmy Stewart).

Once Hostetler confirms the presence of the cancer, Books rents a room from the widow ‘Bond’ (“that’s a crackerjack of a name for a woman”) Rogers (Lauren Bacall), and her son Gillom Rogers (Ron Howard). Books’ presence in town is soon known to most, and the news spreads by telegraph throughout the country. This results in the arrival of troublemakers to lure Books back to his past. Not only does he have to deal with his inevitable death, but he has to deal with the vultures who come to profit from his infamy. Having never had trouble facing death in other men, Books now struggles with the fact that death is calling on him. On his 58th birthday, January 29, 1901 he confronts the three men, offering to settle an outstanding score, and they meet in an empty saloon, where he kills Mike Sweeney, Jack Pulford and Jay Cobb. Then the bartender shoots Books and in return Gillom shoots him, throws the gun away and walks out of the saloon and down the street.

Key Largo

  • Directors: John Huston
  • Producers: Jerry Wald
  • Writers: Maxwell Anderson, Richard Brooks, John Huston
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
  • Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore, Claire Trevor, Marc Lawrence

Frank McCloud (Bogart) visits a small backwater Key Largo hotel run by wheelchair-bound James Temple (Barrymore) and his daughter-in-law Nora (Bacall), the widow of Frank’s World War II friend. The hotel has been temporarily taken over by notorious fugitive gangster Johnny Rocco (Robinson) and his gang.

Frank at first appears indifferent to the situation, but Rocco’s treatment of his alcoholic mistress Gaye (Trevor) and his hand in the murder of two local Indians and a police officer convinces Frank that Rocco must be stopped. His chance comes when Rocco forces Frank to pilot the boat by which the gang intends to escape to Cuba. Once at sea, with no hostages to worry about, Frank is able to kill every member of the gang, one by one, Rocco last of all. Frank then returns to Nora.

The subplot turns on Temple’s grief over his dead son; he is under the impression that his son died a hero in Italy. McCloud resists relating any tales about the Temple boy, despite Mr. Temple’s urging. When McCloud relents, he tells exactly the story Mr. Temple and the widow want to hear, although it is apparent that McCloud was the hero that he’s allowing the Temple boy to be.