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High Sierra (Warner 1941, Humphrey Bogart, Ida Lupino)

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High Sierra is a seminal gangster film that focused attention on Humphrey Bogart and writer John Huston. Bogart plays a violent criminal just released from prison who knows he’s got just one more job in him. An aging gang boss wants Bogart to lead a jewel heist at a resort.

When he sees the inexperienced men he’ll be leading (and fends off the attentions of Lupino, the girlfriend of one of the thugs), Bogart suspects there will be trouble, and there is when a cop is killed during the robbery. A manhunt drives Bogart to the highest peak in the High Sierras where he awaits death at the hands of the police. A gripping portrait of a desperate outlaw and a breakthrough for its creators.

Much of High Sierra was filmed on location near Lone Pine, California and on the stunning but difficult slopes of Mount Whitney; cinematographer Tony Gaudio was challenged by hot sun and gusty winds, shooting at altitudes of up to 11,000 feet.

As in all his best films (They Died With Their Boots On, White Heat, They Drive By Night), director Raoul Walsh steels out and out action with intense human drama, while the script (co-adapted by W R Burnett from his own novel) adds a dark humour to the tragedy.

High Sierra was remade by Walsh himself (under the title Colorado Territory (1949)) and heavily informs Persons Unknown (1996), starring Joe Mantegna and Kelly Lynch, and directed by the improbably named George Hickenlooper (co-director of Hearts Of Darkness).

production details
Country: USA | Warner Bros | 100 minutes
Release Year: 1941

Director: Raoul Walsh
Producer: Mark Hellinger
Original Story: W. R. Burnett
Director of Photography: Tony Gaudio
Editor: Jack Killifer
Composers: Adolph Deutsch, Leo F. Forbstein
Screenwriter: John Huston

cast
Humphrey Bogart as Roy Earle
Ida Lupino as Marie
Henry Hull as ‘Doc’ Banton
Willie Best as Algernon
Arthur Kennedy as Red
George Meeker as Pfiffer
Alan Curtis as Babe
Isabel Jewell as Blonde
Donald MacBride as Big Mac
Henry Travers as Pa
Cornel Wilde as Louis Mendoza
Minna Gombell as Mrs. Baughmam
Spencer Charters as Ed
Joan Leslie as Velma
Jerome Cowan as Healy
Barton MacLane as Jake Kranmer
Elisabeth Risdon as Ma
Paul Harvey as Mr. Baughmam
Robert Strange as Art
John Eldredge as Lon Preiser
Dorothy Appleby as Margie – Joe’s Girlfriend (uncredited)

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