Passage To Marseille

  • 1944
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, War

With adventurer Humphrey Bogart as his lead, director Michael Curtiz here offers a slam-bang action film, one with a tricky plot whose narrative unfolds through a complicated series of flashbacks-within-flashbacks and flash forwards, but that is nevertheless exciting and absorbing all the way. A group of prisoners who have escaped the dreaded prison at...read more

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With adventurer Humphrey Bogart as his lead, director Michael Curtiz here offers a slam-bang action film, one with a tricky plot whose narrative unfolds through a complicated series of flashbacks-within-flashbacks and flash forwards, but that is nevertheless exciting and absorbing all

the way. A group of prisoners who have escaped the dreaded prison at Cayenne in French Guiana are picked up by a passing French freighter, commanded by Malo (Victor Francen), who is loyal to Free France but who hides his sympathies from the fascistic Maj. Duval (Sydney Greenstreet), a French

officer sympathetic to the Vichy government. The rescued men claim they are survivors of a torpedoed ship, but eventually their true identities are learned. They are Matrac (Bogart), a French journalist who opposed the Nazi takeover of his country from within, and his criminal comrades Marius

(Peter Lorre), Garou (Helmut Dantine), Renault (Philip Dorn), and Petit (George Tobias). All are loyal to the Free French, and when Maj. Duval plans to turn the ship over to the Vichy government, Matrac and his comrades fight to keep the ship from the clutches of the collaborators. Although Curtiz

draws superb performances from his great cast, many of whom (Bogart, Lorre, Greenstreet, Dantine, Claude Rains, Corinna Mura, and Louis Mercier) appeared in Warner Bros.' recent smash hit CASABLANCA, which was also directed by Curtiz, the story is more than a little confusing because of the

unwieldy flashbacks used to tell the tale. Yet the great action director packs the film with marvelous adventure and exciting scenes, not to mention stirring patriotism. Warners attempted to time PASSAGE TO MARSEILLE's release to coincide with what the studio thought would be the invasion of

southern France, but when this failed to take place the film was distributed without an international news event to boost the production (as had been the case with CASABLANCA, released just after American troops landed in Africa and Allied leaders met in that African city for top-level

conferences). James Wong Howe's gritty photography helps set the mood, and Max Steiner's music dynamically establishes patriotic fervor.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: With adventurer Humphrey Bogart as his lead, director Michael Curtiz here offers a slam-bang action film, one with a tricky plot whose narrative unfolds through a complicated series of flashbacks-within-flashbacks and flash forwards, but that is neverthele… (more)

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