High Sierra

  • Other Recommendations
  • Best Selling Products
  • Product Reviews

3 thoughts on “High Sierra

  1. 47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    “I wouldn’t give you two cents for a dame without a temper.”, April 1, 2004
    By 
    cookieman108 “cookieman108®” (Inside the jar…) –

    This review is from: High Sierra (Snap Case) (DVD)

    High Sierra (1941) is considered by most to be Humphrey Bogart’s first real, breakout role, playing a part that wasn’t initially offered to him. Bogart, the fifth member of Warner Brothers famous ‘Murderers Row’, came into the role of Roy ‘Mad Dog’ Earle only after fellow ‘Row’ members Paul Muni and George Raft didn’t accept the part, one disagreeing on the script and subsequent changes, and the other being talked out of taking the part by Bogart, respectively. Bogart, who hadn’t quite reached the level of big name star by this point, as evident to second billing to costar Ida Lupino, wanted the role badly, as he knew the character of Earle was something he could really sink his teeth into, and showcase his talent to the world.

    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.

    Cookieman108

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

  2. 14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A fitting end to the Golden Age of the gangster film, February 21, 2003
    By 
    Robert Moore (Chicago, IL USA) –
    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)
      
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: High Sierra [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    This film in many ways is the culmination of the Golden Age of the gangster film. At the same time it is the true beginning of Humphrey Bogart’s star career. After a string of gangster films in the thirties, all demonstrating graphically that crime really didn’t pay, we get this great film, in which it not only doesn’t pay, but doesn’t lead to happiness, either. Unlike most of the great gangster characters of the 1930s, Roy “Mad Dog” Earle has an atypical degree of complexity and depth. He is tired of his life, and would like to very much live a different one. He meets two women, one who is a product of the kind of life he would like to escape, and another, who is young, innocent, beautiful, and a symbol of everything he would love to rediscover. Much of the movie’s power and poignancy derives from these dual relationships, as he realizes the life he would like to have is denied him, while at the same time not valuing the love of a woman who doesn’t represent a new way of life, but who nonetheless truly and genuinely cares for him. It ends a tragic love triangle.

    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.

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

  3. 10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    classic gangster Bogart, March 19, 2006
    By 
    Alan W. Armes (Mountain Home, Arkansas USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: High Sierra (Snap Case) (DVD)

    this is one of Bogart’s earlier great performances which aided in launching his career to the legendary performances he became most renowned for. this is the classic ‘gangster with a heart’ Bogart. it is an absolute must for any Bogart fan.

    as for the DVD,excellent picture and sound. also included is a short duocumentary entitled “Curtains For Roy Earle”.

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

Share your experience about this product