Thursday, December 02, 2010

He can't stay away from the woman and the dog

"Of all the 14 karat saps... starting out on a caper with a woman and a dog."
ROY EARLE, the HUMPHREY BOGART character in the 1941 RAOUL WALSH film "HIGH SIERRA," says this memorable line but he can't follow through with its sentiment.

I watched "High Sierra" on DVD last night.

Earle's attachment to MARIE (IDA LUPINO) and the dog "Pawd" prove to be the fugitive gangster's undoing. However, it's the attachment that also separates Earle from Bogart's previous characters (mostly psychotic gangsters who would have killed both the woman and the dog) and laid the foundation for Bogart's more sensitive roles in films such as "Casablanca."

Filmmakers allow us to see Earle's human side from the film's earliest scenes: One episode occurs when the just-pardoned gangster visits his old farmstead, chatting with the current residents of the place.

I would also recommend "High Sierra" for the location shooting.

We see the towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada range, Joshua trees and communities such as Olancha and Lone Pine -- all visual reminders that crowded California's east is starkly beautiful and mostly empty.

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