Terror is in the news these days..since it can hit anyone anytime..that's the precarious hold we all hold on life, whom can anyone really trust? The release of two films from the early 50's(if they get released)WE're no Angels and The Desperate Hours, both released in the same year are a case in point, and starred humphrey bogart at the end of his career..and is a reflection of his earlier career. The movie should also be seen with the earler film The Petrified Forest(1936) and the subsequent films the actor made up to Casablanca, and became a romantic star. At this late stage in his career, young liked him, old, women and men, and he developed an internation fan base and Paramount head was eager to put him in a series of films(Sabrina)including these two. The earler film We're No angels is actually from a french play, and he was looking forward to doing it, but where as the french version was comedic in a fanciful way, with him the relations around the group a family whom devil's island escapees visit led by him is bent on terror..its comedy though. No actor could act out these parts and give the interpretation with the other actors that he could, would we recall the film today if he wasnt in it, especially his take on the male heads of the family, and how they dealt with the family and society, and a young girl and her boyfriend in this film, there are a series of murders by these assembled devil's island escapees, at christmas..critics thought unkindly of him sending up all his gangster characters in this portrait, and his interpretation caused some controversey..for we get the sense of the characters the way he interacts with each character...and what breeds these characters. At the time he also starred in some movies with spanish characters and can be viewed in The treasure of the sierra madre, The Harder they fall and The Barefoot Contessa(some of his better roles, and the latter an international film)..he often helped film people through tight spots as well..at the start of We're No Angels..he refused to make the film at one point unless they include Joan Bennett who was unable to find work..and they agreed to his request. While filming in Italy and making a few films, he spent some nights in a cafe with a padre, and one of his secretaries was able to get him a visit to see the pope at her request and he agrred to go along(see the book Bogie and Me, Verita Thomson for a personal side of the author)..around this time he also made the film about China THe Left hand of God..many of his films had international locations including Sirooco in Syria..
Then we have The Desperate Hours. There's no comedy here. Here we have post war America...when things are going well after the war to stop the tide of communism..the marshall plan dumped tons of money across europe and at home much consumer spending as homes are being inundated with all kinds of products being made across the country from washing machines..the tranquil home is propagandized as a model way of living , the family life of the 50 and the father as caretaker of home and much else. You need to understand that to get this film..and to understand modern terror. The early scenes are scenes of domestic bliss when families actually sat together and ate and seemed to exist in harmony, a tranquil family who interacted with each other and as in We're no Angels..three escaped convists pick out a family home in suburbia(based on actual events)and in a closed environment, a home, inflict terror and the relations the Bogart character inflicts, the father and his son, but often elsewhere, they give you an idea of whom they want to terrorize, and if you watch the film, why? When he first enters the home, he sees a line of books, and sais learning to teach a fine mind..but is that what books do...or to him are they a function of something else..including this family and work and city life? The key to the film is the phrase he sais to the father..like a clock..tick..tock..tick..tock...this phrase is said over and over. The clock became famous since Newton's time when god was seena s the clockmaker who set existence in order like a machine...the man here is like a god..whom Griffin wants to dethrone..and mr bogart the way he interacts here..as in We're no angels..youll get that point of view and that's his interpretation...there is a scene when his younger brother one of the convicts falls for the younger female in the household..he picks her over him and allows him to leave and he's later murdered at a cafe..and in the climactic ending (a very good ending)..he has a gun to the child's head..with the father..the boy runs and he tries to kill the kid the only one in the film he tries to shoot dead..at the end in the police lights he is told do you see the lights come forward..and he sees no light..their light...and breaks their light and died in a foray of gunshots..dieing to their world..now I gave a hint of modern terror..a very complex problem..interesting to view in light of the recent children's massacre,,,and there's a scene with a teacher in this film as well...from microcosm to macrocosm..put it into your computer and run a macro..in the friendly atmosphere of the 1950's these two films and his interpretation caused much controversey(including filming with the directors)..but the studio heads actually choose him for these roles. He stated to the press" (the lack of suceess)maybe it was the dignity label on the film..they didnt let people know it was a gangster film...because of momism these days..no one cares if Pop is in danger of having his head bashed in."..He developed a strong female base of fans...in many films the Casablanca character and scenes break through..not in these two..the films are out now released suddenly!!