Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Tonight's Movie: All Through the Night (1942)

I've been wanting to catch up with ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (1942) since I missed out on Michael Schlesinger hosting it at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival. This tale of Runyonesque gangsters taking on the Nazis in New York proved to be quite amusing.

Humphrey Bogart stars as Gloves Donahue, a good-natured bookie-gangster type who's dismayed when the baker (Ludwig Stossel) of his favorite cheesecake is bumped off. A young woman, Leda (Kaaren Verne), flees the bakery after learning of the man's death, and Gloves' mother (Jane Darwell), thinking it's a clue, tracks the girl down to a nightclub owned by Marty (Barton MacLane) and Joe (Edward Brophy).

Leda is a singer, and when her pianist Pepi (Peter Lorre) shoots Joe, Gloves is accused of the crime. Now Gloves is really mad.

Gloves tracks Leda to an auction house run by Ebbing (Conrad Veidt) and "Madame" (Judith Anderson). It proves to be a hotbed of Nazi spy activity. Gloves and his boys Sunshine (William Demarest) and Barney (Frank McHugh) alternate being captured by or chasing the Nazis, "all through the night."

This is a fun film, with its greatest asset being the absolutely amazing succession of faces which appear on the screen. In addition to the names mentioned above, the cast includes Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers, Wallace Ford, Sam McDaniel, George Meeker, Jean Ames, Martin Kosleck, and Frank Sully.

The movie was filmed before Pearl Harbor, released in January 1942, and thus is fairly lighthearted, while always making clear the Nazis are evil. It builds to a suspenseful conclusion with Gloves and Ebbing (and, unfortunately, a cute dog) in a boat full of explosives headed straight for a new U.S. Navy ship in New York harbor.

One of the funniest scenes finds Gloves and Sunshine posing as demolition experts arrived from out of town to help the Nazi spy ring; instructed to give a report to German sympathizers at a meeting, Gloves and Sunshine speak absolute gobbledy-gook, which is quite delightful. Apparently the scene was invented by director Vincent Sherman on the set; producer Hal Wallis wanted it out, until it played well at a test screening.

The film admittedly could have stood some paring down from its 107 minutes; the back and forth between Gloves being prisoner or captor gets rather repetitive, especially in the middle section of the movie, and I feel the film would have been even funnier and better sustained its energy if the script had been tightened up so that the movie was several minutes shorter.

Otherwise, in addition to a top cast and some amusing scenes, the movie has a great "A" budget look and features Johnny Mercer and Arthur Schwartz's then-new title song. And having been to the Warner Bros. lot several times, I love picking out the various street sets! All in all it's a fun time with Bogie and his gang of crooks fighting the Nazis for truth, justice, and the American way, or something like that!

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT was filmed in black and white by Sid Hickox.

This film is available on DVD in the Humphrey Bogart Signature Collection Vol. 2.

It also had a release on VHS. It can be seen from time to time on Turner Classic Movies.

April 2020 Update: This film has been reissued on DVD by the Warner Archive.


Blogger Bill said...

It's always been one of my favorites-- Light hearted, fun, a real romp. Certainly not great drama, but great fun.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

"Dirty Fivers" has become a byword for villain in our family.

6:39 AM  
Blogger DKoren said...

Awww, this sounds great. Definitely going to seek it out. And yowza, that is a cast!!

7:16 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for adding your thoughts on this one, Bill and Caftan Woman! Deb, I suspect you would find it fun let us know! :)

Best wishes,

10:08 PM  

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