“Guys and Dolls” meets “The House on 92nd Street”
Humphrey Bogart and a cast of comedians and character actors make it “All Through the Night,” a spy story set in New York City. Bogart plays Gloves Donahue, a bigwig in the sports world – gambler, bookie, and he likes to get tourists involved in rigged card games. His boys include Jackie Gleason, William Demarest, Phil Silvers, and Frank McHugh – a bunch of characters right out of Damon Runyon if there ever were any. When the baker who makes Gloves’ favorite cheesecake is murdered, Gloves is determined to find out what happened. The trail leads to a spy ring run by sinister Conrad Veidt with assistance from Judith Anderson, her dachshund Hansel, and Peter Lorre. Lorre doubles as a pianist for a nightclub singer (Kaaren Verne) whose father is in a concentration camp and being used as leverage so she will assist the spies.
This is a fast-paced, funny film made shortly before Pearl Harbor. Its underlying message is that the Nazis aren’t going to be content with a few eastern European countries; they want it all. As propaganda, it goes down easily with a terrific cast and some hilarious moments, particularly when Bogart and Demarest attend a secret meeting posing as Nazis.
The plot, of course, is preposterous, and the notes that Bogart finds in Veidt’s desk are, for some reason, written in English instead of German, but none of that takes away from the enjoyment of the movie.
The performances are all excellent, but Bogart is a wonder. His no-nonsense, honest delivery and perfect timing work beautifully in comedy as well as drama.
This is a delightful movie – don’t miss it.
Nazis in Manhattan
Author: jotix100 from New York
24 June 2005
Vincent Sherman’s “All Through the Night” has a feeling of a B picture, although probably was not intended to be that way. This 1942 Warner Bros. film is much more enjoyable than we suspected, because even though the film was supposed to tackle a serious problem, it has a lot of fun moments that make the film much lighter in tone than perhaps the film makers intended.
At the center of the story we find ‘Gloves’ Donahue, a small time gangster and his crew. They are a fun group that are drawn into an international spy story right in their own backyard. Ma Donahue comes to ask her son’s assistance in trying to solve the murder of her baker neighbor, and the fun and games begin in full force.
There are a lot of good moments in the film, but it is dominated by Humphrey Bogart who runs away with the picture. His crew is also a great asset to the film, Frank McHugh, a fantastic actor, no matter in what picture is excellent, as well as William Demarest, one of the best character actors in the movies of that era. A much slender Jackie Gleason puts in an appearance as Starchy, a member of Donahue’s team.
The heavies are amazing. Conrad Veidt is wonderful as the Nazi spy trying to blow up a ship in New York’s harbor. Mr. Veidt was such an elegant figure in everything he did. Judith Anderson is seen as the mysterious assistant to Mr. Veidt’s character. Ms. Anderson had a way about her that she dominates the scenes in which she appears. Peter Lorre does a lot with his small piano player, Pepi.
The film never ceases to entertain. Thanks to Mr. Humphrey and the wonderful cast assembled for the movie, it will not disappoint anyone with an open eye for a lighter take on a serious matter.
Get those Nazis! And boy, do they!
Author: mark.waltz from United States
3 May 2001
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have to start this review by mentioning that I saw this Bogart film before “Casablanca”, “The Maltese Falcon”, and “The African Queen”. I was just a teenager, and boy did I love this film! I waited years to be able to see it again, and it continued to remain among my favorites. When it came out on video, I bought a copy, and watched it several times a year just to see why I enjoyed it so much. Although it has been a while since I have watched it, I wanted to re-visit an old favorite by giving it my review. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, films like “All Through the Night” seem much closer to reality, especially this one with its New York City setting.
Gloves Donahue (Humphrey Bogart) is about as interested in World War II as Scarlett O’Hara was in the civil war. He finds more contentment eating his favorite Papa Miller’s cheesecake (and will eat no facsimile!) or going to the race track or ballgame. So when the baker who makes his favorite cheesecake mysteriously turns up dead, Gloves is naturally upset, and does all he can to a.) find the secret cheesecake recipe; b.) woo his widow; or c.) find the killer.
If you said “C”, then you were right, but the tongue-in-cheek wisecrack remarks of “A” and “B” are keeping within the theme of this light-hearted World War II propaganda film. Gloves eventually discovers that Miller was involved with a group of Fifth Columnist spies (against his will), and sets out to break them up, much to his own surprise. Yes, his crew is an over-aged group of Bowery Boys (played comically by William Demarest, Frank McHugh, Jackie Gleason, and Phil Silvers), and yes, the villains are much like the ones the overripe Bowery Boys used to face in their movies. (In fact, the Bowery Boys had plot lines during World War II very similar to this movie…)
The Nazis are a nasty bunch of seemingly civilized creatures. Conrad Veidt, General Strasser of “Casablanca”, is the epitome of dashing villainy as the head of the Nazi Ring who hides behind the innocent appearance of an Auction shop owner. Peter Lorre, also from “Casablanca”, is the evil Pepe, who we see early on doing the nasty deed to poor Mr. Miller (Ludwig Stossel, also in “Casablanca”). To civilize his murderous character, Lorre’s Pepe is seen as the piano player in a nightclub. The wonderful (Dame) Judith Anderson, seen two years earlier as the evil housekeeper Mrs. Danvers in “Rebecca”, is all in black here again, but with sequins and a touch of glamor added to her role as Veidt’s obvious mistress. While she has fewer scenes than Veidt or Lorre, Anderson adds subtle touches to her character through her unspoken love for Veidt that makes the viewer feel sympathetic to her character.
The heroine, Leda Hamilton, is played by Kaaren Verne, the real-life wife of Peter Lorre off-screen. Here, Verne can’t stand Pepe, who obviously lusts after her. Verne is first seen after Miller’s murder visiting him, then disappearing before Gloves can question her. Gloves’ nosy mother (played by the wonderful Jane Darwell), who informed Gloves about Miller’s disappearance in the first place, later locates Leda in a nightclub, causing a disturbance with the nightclub’s owners (Barton MacLane and Edward Brophy). When Brophy is shot by Pepe, he lives long enough to give Gloves a sign that will ultimately reveal what is going on.
The film moves at such a fast pace that to go through every scene would take away a lot of the excitement, and take a lot of space. We’ll just stop with the synopsis here and say that this film moves like lightning. While longer than most “B” films of this nature (100 minutes), “All Through the Night” moves just as quickly, and is ultimately more entertaining. The writers spent more time with character development, but that doesn’t slow down this film one bit. Every character who crosses Glove’s path has a chance to reveal a thing or two about them which makes them more than just one-dimensional villains or comic relief. Even flighty McHugh gets his chance with a minor secondary plot involving his girl.
During World War II, there were many anti-Nazi dramas and comedies, and “All Through the Night” stands out as a unique one in the sense that it takes place in our own back yard. Released just two months after Pearl Harbor, “All Through the Night” served its purpose in bringing the idea of spies in our neighborhoods to the forefront of the public’s mind. I’m sure many people in the audience upon seeing this film looked at the person sitting next to them in the darkened theater, and wondering, “Is this person really a Nazi Spy?”
Bosley Crowther of The New York Times gave the film a mostly positive review, writing: “In spite of its slap-bang construction and its hour-and-three-quarters length, the picture does move with precision and steadily maintained suspense … ‘All Through the Night’ is not exactly a melodrama out of the top drawer, but it is a super-duper action picture — mostly duper, when you stop to think.” Variety wrote: “Somewhat on the lurid side and with the Nazi menace motif of familiar timber, shortcomings are compensated for by fast-moving continuity which smartly builds suspense and hold (sic) attention.” Film Daily called it a “fast-moving and exciting melodrama.” Russell Maloney of The New Yorker panned the film, writing that “Hitchcock himself couldn’t have asked for a better plot,” but claiming that it was brought down by “the feebleness of invention, the wordiness of the dialogue, [and] the sluggishly paced direction.”