Re: RARA-AVIS: Dark Passage (The film)

From: Nathan Cain (
Date: 04 Mar 2009

  • Next message: Ron Clinton: "RE: RARA-AVIS: Dark Passage (The film)"

    That first person technique was introduced by Robert Montogomery in his annoying adaptation of Chandler's Lady in the Lake. In Lady, it's a stupid gimmick. In Passage it actually serves a purpose and is easier to tolerate, since it's only used for part of the film.

    On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 10:04 AM, Stephen Burridge
    <> wrote:
    > I haven't read "Dark Passages", but I have seen the film and I enjoyed it
    > quite a bit. The plot relies heavily on coincidence, as you note, but there
    > are lots of well-played characters and the movie is good visually as I
    > recall. There is the odd device of presenting part of the film literally
    > from the main character's point of view, i.e. other characters look at the
    > camera when addressing him, etc. Awkward but we see the scenes and people
    > he's watching. Then he undergoes plastic surgery and eventually Bogart
    > emerges.
    > My guess about why it is Goodis's best know book, if it is, would be simply
    > because it was made into a Bogart/Bacall fim.
    > I'm currently about three quarters of through "Cassidy's Girl", which is
    > real hardcore noir, imho, quite a ride.
    > Stephen
    > On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 8:44 AM, Nathan Cain <> wrote:
    >> I wish I had gotten to this during Goodis month, but here goes...
    >> I think one of the main reasons I've never read much Goodis is because
    >> of the film version of Dark Passage. It is not a good film and a large
    >> part of the problem is the story, which relies on coincidence so
    >> heavily as to go beyond incredible into some realm of its own. Parry
    >> escapes from prison, then hitches a ride with a guy who happens to be
    >> a small time blackmailer, and then he runs into Irene, who happens to
    >> be obsessed with his case. Irene happens to be friends with Madge, the
    >> woman whose testimony sent Parry to prison, but apparently Madge
    >> doesn't know Irene was at Parry's trial every day and also Parry never
    >> managed to meet Irene although they apparently ran in the same social
    >> circles. And don't get me started on the fact that Parry gets the one
    >> cabby in the city who happens to run a sideline businesss finding
    >> customers for a crooked plastic surgeon and the fact that when Parry
    >> finally confronts Madge she just happens to fall out a window.
    >> Now, every writer of fiction uses conicidence. The key is to use it
    >> sparingly and to make it believable, and not to keep heaping it up
    >> until it becomes unintentionally funny. My question to the list is,
    >> does the movie follow the book closely (i.e,, is the book as
    >> ridiculous as the film), and, if so, why is Dark Passage Goodis' best
    >> known work? My exposure to him is limited, but surely there are Goodis
    >> stories that are a tad less silly. The Wounded and The Slain, which
    >> Hard Case reprinted, didn't have any outlandish plotting, and it was
    >> more or less forgotten until recently.
    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 04 Mar 2009 EST