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High Sierra [Import USA Zone 1]
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Détails sur le produit
- "La Historia del Último Refugio".
Descriptions du produit
Dirigida de manera magistral por Raoul Walsh, “El último refugio” señaló una nueva era. La interpretación sublime de Bogart marcó la transición de las bien definidas películas de gángsters al cine negro.
La historia de Roy Earle (Humphrey Bogart), un gángster que quiere retirarse del mundo del crimen pero antes planea un último golpe que le llevará a la muerte. Rechazado por la mujer que ama (Joan Leslie), solo le guardará lealtad Marie (Ida Lupino), cuando se enfrenta a la justicia. La película que encumbró a Bogart como una estrella de primera magnitud, que igualmente representa uno de los mejores trabajos de Walsh.
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Sa nature et son caractère le poussent hors de la ville, hors de la société qui rétrécissent son expérience et l'asphyxient. Il ne peut être à l'aise qu'aux abords des sommets, dans les grands espaces, dans les solitudes de l'illimité vers lesquels le poussent même quand il est trop tard son instinct animal. Les hauteurs de la Sierra Nevada sont en quelque sorte le cimetière des éléphants de ce personnage.
Bogart fait néanmoins ici la preuve de ses dons pour un premier grand rôle positif et tragique avant de donner un caractère définitivement mythique à son personnage dans Le faucon Maltais (1941) et Casablanca (1943).
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As I said, Bogart plays Roy 'Mad Dog' Earle, a convicted bank robber serving a lengthy prison term, a life sentence, if I'm not mistaken, who has just been released. We soon find that Roy's early release isn't due to parole for good behavior, but strings pulled by his old boss, Big Mac (Donald MacBride). Seems Big Mac has a score in California that he wants Roy in on, so Roy leaves the Midwest to make the connection. Along the way, Roy has a chance meeting with Pa Goodhue (Henry Travers), a farmer who lost his farm, and is now traveling west with his wife and his clubfooted granddaughter Velma (Joan Leslie), who we will see again later. On reaching the Sierra mountains, Roy meets with the other members of the criminal enterprise Big Mac has arranged, two younger, hot-tempered men, Babe and Red, who have a have a female companion, Marie, played by Ida Lupino. Roy objects to having a woman around, as it's just an unnecessary complication. Marie manages to get Roy to change his mind, as she despises the thought of having to return to her previous career of dancing in a two-bit hall with men for a quarter a dance. Soon Roy learns of the score, and things seem easy enough, but even the simplest plans can go awry.
Directed by actor/writer/director/producer Raoul Walsh, High Sierra is a rich, tense noir crime drama based on a novel by W.R. Burnett and adapted for the screen by Burnett and legendary director/actor/writer/producer John Huston. Bogart really adds depth to his character of Roy, presenting the duality of a seemingly cold-blooded killer who has a soft side. That certainly doesn't mean he's soft, especially when someone gets in the way of his plans. Presented is a character who knows his time is past, and is looking to make his way out, and having thoughts of a future that will never be...and then settling for less than he hoped for, not realizing that maybe that was even too much to hope for...the supporting cast was wonderful, but I found the sort of pseudo comic relief of the character Algernon, a black worker at the fishing camp Roy and his small gang hole up before the score, played by Willie Best, a bit awkward. At the time, it was probably more acceptable, but the stereotyping may chaff contemporary audiences. A minor point, but one I hope wouldn't sour potential viewers from seeking out this film. I just try to understand it for what it was and is, a form of ignorance that has, hopefully, long since past. Best to acknowledge it happened and move on. What I found really interesting was how the noir concept was flawlessly transplanted from dark city streets to the majestic Sierra mountains on the Neveda /California border. Another thing I really loved was the snappy exchanges and use of gangster colloquialisms. The dialogue zings along, just adding a real element of fun to the movie, despite the drama nature of the material.
The picture quality here is beautiful, and the audio sounds wonderful. I was also pleased to see an excellent featurette called "Curtains for Roy Earle", which talks about how Bogart got the role in the movie, his minor skirmish with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and the film in general. Also included is a theatrical trailer for the film. If you're a fan of Humphrey Bogart, High Sierra is a must see film. If you like good movies in general, you won't be disappointed here. While the role of Roy `Mad Dog' Earle may not be the one most remember Bogart for, it certainly confirmed his status as an actor in every sense of the word, and served well to showcase his talent and made him a star. Another film soon to follow, The Maltese Falcon (1941) took the star and made him a legend.
John Huston may be America's most consistently brilliant filmmaker. That's saying a lot considering the competition but Huston the son of actor Walter Huston tackled a number of genres with intelligence, a cynical wit and a sharp eye for human behavior. John Huston began as a screenwriter with one of his first jobs working on "Murders in the Rue Morgue" for Robert Florey in 1932 (that's not counting his many appearances as an extra in his father's films). By 1941 he found himself in the director's chair for the first of many collaborations with Humphrey Bogart in "The Maltese Falcon".
"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" was only Huston's sixth credited film as director and it still stands tall in his 47 film career as director. The story of three men in search of gold in the mountains of Mexico and how greed and paranoia overwhelm the three men (Bogart, Walter Huston and Bruce Bennett) contributing to tragedy sounds like something that should be a folk tale warning of how gold can bring out the worst in a man.
"Sierra Madre" and "Casablanca" both look terrific with crisp, sharp looking images. Warner has done a superb job of cleaning up both these classic films. "Sierra Madre" doesn't look quite as good as "Casablanca" with sections that are grainy, white spots and other minor analog imperfections but on the whole looks quite good. The grainy quality of the film in a couple of scenes doesn't surprise me given some of the location photography and the occasional use of telephoto shots where the picture is a bit unsteady. Overall "Casablanca" wins this contest in terms of looks but it's somehow appropriate that "Sierra Madre" looks a bit rough around the edges given the cynical nature, location photography and a feeling as close to naturalistic as Hollywood could do at the time. Considering how old the film is I personally feel it looks extremely good in this deluxe edition from Warner.
"Casablanca" actually looks better. Digitally cleaned up with a superior negative used for this edition it's one of the sharpest looking older films I've seen Warner put out. Audio for both films sounds extremely good doing justice to the musical scores for each film and features clear dialogue.
"High Sierra" was originally released to DVD in a single disc edition in 2003. This is exactly the same release as before. Warner released a top notch transfer for 2003 and it still looks extremely good three years later. Audio has considerable punch.
"They Drive By Night" gets a very nice transfer as well. Again it was previously released in 2003 and it's a minor gem from director Raoul Walsh. Audio sounds fine here as well with dialogue presented very clear.
The 2003 releases have two short but informative featurettes that Warner put together for the original snapcase releases back in 2003. Both are extremely good and worthwhile to watch. "Casablanca" actually has all the same materials that I reviewed in 2003 (although I can't find the link for some reason) so I'll briefly provide highlights of this set. We get a TV adaptation of the film which was produced in the 50's. It's most notable for reminding you how great the movie is. It's comparable to watching a high school production of a Broadway play you've seen. The documentary on Bogart which is narrated by Bacall Bogie's romantic lead in film and life provides an excellent if superficial background. There's no dirt but that's not a surprise. Warner cartoon short "Carrotblanca" a somewhat anemic spoof of the film shows up here as well with Bugs playing Bogie and various Warner characters filling the other character roles. A solid documentary is also included on the making of the film and deleted scenes (without the audio) which was recently discovered.
"Treasure" has lots of great stuff buried on the second disc and some fool's gold as well. The older documentary on Huston narrated by Robert Mitchum is a gem and while its not warts and all it's about as close as you're likely to get in the way of a kiss and tell biography on film about this legendary hell raiser. The second on the making of the film features some nice interviews and trivia but isn't quite what I had hoped. It's not bad just doesn't have as many gold nuggets as I expected. We also get a Bogie trailer collection, along with "8 Ball Bunny" which is a classic and funny short that references the film (Faux Bogie: "Excuse me could you help a fellow American down on his luck?" Bugs: "Hit the road!"). We get a Warner Night Out hosted by Leonard Maltin with lots of cool stuff that you might have seen if you had attended the theater to see this when it was released. Finally we get a collection of photos, a radio broadcast of "Treasure" featuring Bogie and Walter Huston, a second cartoon, storyboards and behind-the-scenes photos.
Bottom line: If your film fan hasn't purchased these separate this is a great set. However if you did buy any of these titles individually I should warn you there's nothing here that's new. Unlike the second Bogie set which does have some films that hadn't been released to DVD before (the gem in that set is "The Maltese Falcon" in a three disc special edition but there are also some worthwhile Bogie gold in that set as well. There's no fool's gold but as with any set the quality of the gold will vary).
The movie features a host of superb actors from Warner Brothers stable of contract players. The always-underrated Ida Lupino (who was also an accomplished director of "B" pictures) excells as Marie Garson, while 16-year-old Joan Leslie is perfect as the young, innocent girl Roy Earle wants to help. The rest of the cast is filled by such superb character talents as Henry Travers, Arthur Kennedy, Jerome Cowan, Henry Hull, Barton MacLane, and a very young Cornel Wilde.
The other thing that really makes this film stand out is the remarkable on location scenes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Almost all gangster films of the thirties were shot entirely on movie sets, and very, very few were shot outdoors. In this one, numerous scenes were shot in various locations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and elsewhere, and this lends an atmosphere unique to the era. Also, setting it in California rather than New York or Chicago enhances the story. The final, climatic scenes with Bogart trying to escape from the police by heading into the mountains is a classic.
Bogart went on to make more gangster films in his career, most notably THE DESPERATE HOURS, but in many ways this film signaled the end of the Golden Age of the genre. Although up to this point his career had primarily consisted of portraying gangsers, henceforward he would more often be associated with detectives or men of action. A great film in every way.
And then came High Sierra and everything changed.
Before America had other things to worry about (ie: Adolf Hitler), it was still working out its love/hate relationship with pseudo-Robin Hood, depression-era hoodlums (John Dillinger and the like). By 1941, Warner Brothers had practically cornered the market deifying and demonizing these "angels with dirty faces." Raoul Walsh had humbly served the cause in his previous The Roaring Twenties; here, he directs Bogie in the role of existential anti-hero Roy "Mad Dog" Earle. It would be a defining film in the transition from the James Cagney-style gagster pictures to the dawning era of film noir (which Bogart would come to define).
Newly-released from prison, Roy has a debt to settle with the crime boss to whom he now owes his freedom - payment, as it so often does, comes in the form of one last score. There's apparently thousands of dollars of jewelry in need of stealing and no one but Roy qualified to make sure it gets done right. Per custom, things do not go according to plan as Bogie falls in love (twice), people get shot, and our Mad Dog faces destiny on the doomed high sierra from which the film takes its title.
It's not a great film. Bogart talks in his sleep during a crucial scene, which is probably the most overused narrative cheat in the history of celluloid. Man's best friend figures much too prominently and awkwardly in the plot as a literal harbinger of doom (both the film's "dogs" are cursed); additionally, there some "I'se be catchin' ma feets nah, Boss" style racial stereotyping that is just plain embarrassing.
There are some great moments, though. Earle's emotional castration at the hands of the formerly club-footed Velma (Joan Leslie) is painful to watch (an aside: Bogie would later revisit this device - the transformative power of miracle surgeries - in Dark Passage; it's worth rememberinh that Bogie's father was a successful surgeon and rumor has it Bogart himself had botched surgery on his lip after an incident in the navy). Bogart, consistently sympathetic notwithstanding some unsavory violent acts (no easy feat) is always a pleasure to watch - it's easy to forget how ground-breaking his naturalistic performances were at the time...until you watch some of his co-stars ham it up with the overly-theatrical line delivery popular at the time.
Thankfully, they're not the show - Bogart is, despite getting second billing under co-star Ida Lupino. In the same year, Bogie would re-team with the writer of this film - John Huston - for the iconic director's first feature, the noir classic The Maltese Falcon. A year later, Bogart and Michael Curtiz got together in Casablanca, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Interesting footnote: Walsh, Bogart, and Lupino previously collaborated on the schizophrenic They Drive By Night, probably best known for Lupino's bizarre courtroom outburst "the doors made me do it." Incidentally, Ida Lupino was somewhat of a trailblazer for female directors. Only the second woman to be admitted into the DGA, her 1953 film The Hitch-Hiker is considered a minor classic of film noir. It has been chosen for preservation by the National Film Registry.
as for the DVD,excellent picture and sound. also included is a short duocumentary entitled "Curtains For Roy Earle".