PASSAGE TO MARSEILLE (1944) B/W 110m dir: Michael Curtiz

w/Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Michele Morgan, Philip Dorn, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, George Tobias, Victor Francen, Helmut Dantine, John Loder, Corinna Mura, Louis Mercier

Confused but exciting story of convicts who escape from the prison at Cayenne in French Guiana to join forces with the Free French during WWII.

From The Movie Guide: "With adventurer Humphrey Bogart as his lead, director Michael Curtiz here offers a slam-bang action film, one with a tricky plot whose narrative unfolds through a complicated series of flashbacks-within-flashbacks and flash forwards, but that is nevertheless exciting and absorbing all the way. ... Although Curtiz draws superb performances from his great cast, many of whom (Bogart, Lorre, Greenstreet, Dantine, Claude Rains, Corinna Mura, and Louis Mercier) appeared in Warner Bros.' recent smash CASABLANCA, which was also directed by Curtiz, the story is more than a little confusing because of the unwieldy flashbacks used to tell the tale. Yet the great action director packs the film with marvelous adventure and exciting scenes, not to mention stirring patriotism. Warners attempted to time PASSAGE TO MARSEILLE's release to coincide with what the studio thought would be the invasion of southern France, but when this failed to take place the film was distributed without an international news event to boost the production (as had been the case with CASABLANCA, released just after the American troops landed in Africa and Allied leaders met in that African city for top-level conferences). James Wong Howe's gritty photography helps set the mood, and Max Steiner's music dynamically establishes patriotic fervor."