Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Forgotten Films: Across the Pacific

You can put Mary Astor, Humphrey Bogart, and Sidney Greenstreet back together with director John Huston, but that doesn't mean you're going to get another Maltese Falcon. What you do get is an entertaining espionage film. With that cast, how could you miss?

Bogart's dishonorably discharged (so we're supposed to think) from the army, and he soon finds himself on a freighter bound for the Panama Canal. Actually, he's undercover, trying to stop the Japanese from blowing up the locks at the canal and blocking it as a means of access to the Pacific. On the freighter are Greenstreet, a Japanese sympathizer, and Astor, who's not quite what she seems. All three give fine performances, and there are some funny lines (as when Bogart and Greenstreet pull their pistols and Bogart says, "Mine's bigger than yours").

While it's fun, it's not in the league with the Falcon. Why not? The plot is more predictable, for one thing. For another, there's a bit of racism that, while perfectly acceptable to audiences in 1942, considering what was going on then, is likely to bother viewers now. If you can get past those things, you'll have a good time.


Todd Mason said...

Also, no source novel by Hammett probably gets in the way...

Bud said...

Yes, it's a B movie at best with some really laughable lines for Mary Astor (who had a hard time delivering them with a straight face), but it's always fun watching Sidney Greenstreet working overtime for the Axis!

Yvette said...

I've been meaning to watch this again. Thanks for the second nudge.

My brother saw this recently and really recommended I see it. First nudge.

I love Sidney Greenstreet.