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High Sierra

Ida Lupino , Humphrey Bogart , Raoul Walsh    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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This 1941 melodrama is memorable for both its strong central performances and their intimations of how the previous decade's crime dramas would evolve into film noir--no accident, given the solid direction of veteran Raoul Walsh and the hand of screenwriter John Huston, who teamed with the author of its novelistic source, W.R. Burnett (Little Caesar). In the central character of Roy "Mad Dog" Earle, a fictional peer to John Dillinger, Humphrey Bogart finds a defining role that anticipates the underlying fatalism and moral ambiguity visible in the career-making roles soon to follow, including Sam Spade in Huston's directorial debut, The Maltese Falcon.

Earle suggests a prescient variation on the enraged sociopaths that were fixtures of the gangster melodramas that shaped Bogart's early screen image. Pardoned from a long prison stretch, the weary robber is clearly more eager to savor his new freedom than immediately swing back into action. But his early release has been engineered by a mobster who wants Earle to pull off a high-stakes burglary, setting in motion a plot that is a prototype for doomed-heist capers--a small, yet potent subgenre that would later include Huston's The Asphalt Jungle and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing.

What gives High Sierra its power, however, isn't the crime itself but Earle's collision with the younger, brasher confederates picked to help him, and the hard-edged but vulnerable taxi dancer they're competing for, played forcefully by Ida Lupino, who actually received top billing. Her attraction to the reluctant Earle is complicated by a convoluted subplot designed to showcase then starlet Joan Leslie, but the movie finally moves into its most gripping moments when the wounded Earle, pursued by police, flees ever higher toward the mountains. His final, suicidal showdown would become a cliché of sorts in lesser films, but here it provides a wrenching climax sealed by Lupino's vivid final scene. --Sam Sutherland



Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Bogie near the peak of Super-Stardom! July 12 2009
By Robert Badgley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
"High Sierra" released in January of 1941,gives us Bogart after having climbed that acting mountain for many years,just in hairs reach of the peak of super stardom.A classy tale of a heist gone wrong with lots of action and good acting throughout.
The story concerns one Roy Earle,a criminal who is sprung out of the pen by his old boss Big Mac(Don McBride).He has one last big job for him and wants him to take charge of a group of characters,none of which Roy really trusts.On the way out he meets up with a kindly family led by Pa(Henry Travers)and his granddaughter Velma(Joan Leslie).Roy falls for the granddaughter whom he later helps out by giving the funds necessary to correct her clubbed foot.But Roy's love in the end is unrequited and in the end chalks his good deed up to experience.
He reaches a camp where the "gang" are holed up waiting for the job to begin.One of the two men Babe(Alan Curtis) has brought along a girlfriend by the name of Marie(Ida Lupino),whom he periodically roughs up,much to the chagrin of Roy.After one such incident Roy gets rough with Babe and puts him in his place.Roy has wanted Marie to leave but in the end recants and Marie starts to fall for him.
Roy finally meets up with Big Mac who is in serious trouble,health wise.Big Mac gives Roy a letter to be opened if anything should happen to him.The day of the big job finally comes and Roy and company rob the safe of a very up-scale hotel.The front desk clerk Mendosa(Cornel Wilde) is their inside man who leaves the safe purposely unlocked.The job is taking a little longer than expected when a security guard making his rounds stumbles in on the heist and gets shot by Roy.While fleeing in seperate cars,Roy and Marie witness their three partners accidentally run off the road and seemingly killed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bogart Breakout July 9 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This was the first of the George Raft reject parts that transformed Humphrey Bogart from James Cagney's second banana into...Bogart. The next two were "The Maltese Falcon" and "Casablanca". In "High Sierra" Bogart plays a sociopath bank heister who still has a shred of humanity left, something like Frankenstein's monster but not as bulky. The character originally was stitched together from a number of Public Enemies by novelist W. R. Burnett. Bogart's performance is completely un-maudlin and genuine and like all his best work continues to last as the modern touchstone of American film acting. Another great directing job by Raoul Walsh as well, a man who could handle about anything the studio threw his way.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bogart - Classic Film Nov. 18 2003
Format:DVD
Bogart fans rejoiced when High Sierra was finally released on DVD. Bogart plays Roy Earle, freed from prison for the sole purpose of getting "that last big score".Bogart does a tremendous job with this complex role showing the 'tough as nails' side he's known for and a kind, gentle man who breaks many of his own rules because of his heart. Although he didn't recieve top billing, it's clear Bogart is the star. It's hard to believe he wasn't Warner's first choice for the role.
The DVD isn't overflowing with extras. There's a nice short extra which tells how Bogie came into the role of Roy Earle but that's about it. The picture quality is excellent making it steal and a must for any classic movie lover's collection.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: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.
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By J. Lovins TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "HIGH SIERRA" (1941) (100 min/B&W) -- Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ida Lupino, Alan Curtis, Arthur Kennedy, Joan Leslie & Henry Hull

Directed by Raoul Walsh

Witty dialogue, great on-location direction by Raoul Walsh, a cute dog, and a climactic car chase that wouldn't be equaled until "Bullitt" (1968) with Steve McQueen, are just some of this films other virtues, plus a great cast of actors lead and supporting.

Special footnote, Incidentally, a lot of people have mistakenly thought that Pard was played by the same dog that played Toto in "The Wizard of Oz," but in fact it was Bogart's own pet, Zero. Hopefully the star negotiated a decent contract for his mutt.

This film made Humphrey Bogart a major star while creating what can be called the birth of American film noir. If it's not in your film collection it should be. Roy Earle was a new type of character -- the truly romantic criminal. Bogart would play variations on Earle throughout his career, though he rarely exceeded his triumph here. Giving much of the credit to Bogie's acting, some more credit must be extended to the screenwriter, John Huston. "High Sierra" was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Haunting score by composer Adolph Deutsch.

Bogart's interpretation already showed signs of the special qualities that were to become an important part of his mystique in a few more films. As a film, "High Sierra" has other notable qualities, particularly Ida Lupino's strong and moving performance as Marie, the girl who brings out Roy Earle's more human emotions.

Many fine moments with Bogey -- including a memorable speech within his cabin hideout. This is one of the best portraits of a desperate outlaw in film history.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars M. Jean Malouin
Produit défectueux ou du moins illisible ici, car on y voit que du gris à l'écran. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jean Malouin
5.0 out of 5 stars The convergence of old ways and newly found self...
The callous Roy Earl (Humphrey Bogart), a skilled robber, is pardoned and released back into society from being locked up in a prison. Read more
Published on March 11 2004 by Kim Anehall
3.0 out of 5 stars Old style Hollywood crime thriller
One of the old films that when we start watching it, we know how it will turn out-making it sad and a bit predictable, in a funny way. Read more
Published on Dec 12 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars TOUGH GUY GET BURNED - GREAT LOOKING DVD!
"High Sierra" is the story of an convict who is makes parol only to find himself thrown back into the hopper of organized crime. Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2003 by Nix Pix
5.0 out of 5 stars Bogart and Lupino at their best
In HIGH SIERRA Humphrey Bogart plays professional criminal Roy Earle who is pardoned from prison because of the influence of a crime boss named Big Mac. Read more
Published on July 31 2003 by Peter Kenney
5.0 out of 5 stars An Old Rebel and his Faithful Lady
At the close of "High Sierra" Ida Lupino exhibits a look of serenity as she exclaims the word "free! Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2002 by William Hare
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime Doesn't Pay - Again!
The movie starts by showing how a lifer convict can be pardoned to allow him to continue crime in another state, but provides no other details. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2002 by Acute Observer
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Run
Bank-robber Roy Earle (Bogart) may be outside the law, but he's a lot more sympathetic than those functionaries carrying out the law. Read more
Published on July 2 2001 by Douglas Doepke
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