ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT (1942)
They're played by character actors ranging from Frank McHugh and William Demarest to Phil Silvers. An unimpressive Jackie Gleason has a bit part. He stumbles on a killing and a pretty (but unwilling) German agent (Kaaren Verne) who leads him to a nest of deadly Nazi Fifth Columnists (Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, Judith Anderson). They control a horde of traitors.
The film consciously tries to reconcile patriotism, action and comedy, but exists solely on the level of unconscious camp. The dialogue is simplistic, approaching the moronic. "All Through the Night" is one step removed from Bob Hope (or Abbott and Costello) spy comedies, but has none of the funny lines and zingers of Hope pictures.
Moving in too pat and neat generic studio sets, for all his heroics and authority over those around him, Bogart is really a naive, simple-minded character. He plays--or rather reacts--in a rudimentary, light fashion, with Bogartian mannerisms that parody themselves. The year before Bogart and Lorre had been in "The Maltese Falcon." The year following, Bogart, Lorre and Veidt were reunited in "Casablanca" But there's just no comparison between those other roles and films.
Made in the fall of 1941(before Pearl Harbor), this flick amounts to nothing filmically, yet won't put you to sleep. It's worth seeing as prime evidence of the period's mentality and conceptions, both Hollywoodian and at large. Among them: the incredible naivete and cliches about the super-organized, efficient nasty Nazis; the dumb New York cops; the preposterously nice all-American gangsters, gamblers, con men, nightclub owners who bury the hatchet to go after the sinister swine. Kaaren Verne is the generic nightclub singer.
The film is not without racial stereotypes. In an atrociously self-demeaning "joke" Bogart's black servant says "Don't worry Miss, things ain't always as black as they look."
There is also that standard Hollywood association of suave, often "Continental" manners and accents (Veidt speaks German-accented, but excellent English; Anderson goes for high-toned speech), with sinister people. On the other hand, the good ole' boys like "Gloves" speak "Amurrican" say things like "buddy, " "sister, " and "scratch."
The music, by Adolf Deutsch, has sometimes an interesting resemblance to the Max Steiner score for the later Bogart vehicle, "The Big Sleep."