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  All Through The Night You Nazty Spy
Year: 1941
Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt, Kaaren Verne, Jane Darwell, Frank McHugh, Peter Lorre, Judith Anderson, William Demarest, Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers, Wallace Ford, Barton MacLane, Edward Brophy, Martin Kosleck, Jean Ames, Ludwig Stossel
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: The war in Europe is what is troubling these gangsters as they congregate at their favourite eaterie today, and they think they know better about how to beat the Nazis there. But they are interrupted by their boss, Gloves Donahue (Humphrey Bogart), who arrives to partake of his favourite cheesecake - trouble is, it's not available as the baker, Miller (Ludwig Stossel), hasn't shown up. Gloves notices the substitute he is offered straight away and complains, but has other things to concern him when Miller disappears, only to turn up dead in his own basement. What was he mixed up in? Gloves decides to turn detective...

There were quite a few propaganda-flavoured comedy thrillers made by Hollywood in the first half of the forties, but All Through The Night was notable for two reasons. One, that it was released at almost the same time the United States entered the Second World War, as it came out in December of 1941, the month Pearl Harbor was attacked, and two, it had one of the best casts for what was essentially a throwaway item of drum beating, with Bogart well on his way to superstar status by this stage. Backing him up was a host of recognisable faces, even if you couldn't put a name to some of them you'd still be thinking, hey, it's that guy!

The baker has been killed off by a gang of Fifth Columnists, but Gloves doesn't know that until about half an hour into the movie. There are a few suspicious characters hanging around, and they're not the ones in Donahue's gang, who are Damon Runyon types to a man, played by the likes of William Demarest (and yes, he does get to fall over a few times) and Frank McHugh, making the most of a wealth of snappy lines offered to them. As for the bad guys, the first one we see is a classic villain, Peter Lorre as Pepi, the fellow who offed Miller, and has a day job as the piano player to a night club act. Though what he's actually up to is far more sinister.

That singer is Leda Hamilton (Kaaren Verne, who became Mrs Peter Lorre for a while after this), and she is in over her head with the Nazis, led by Conrad Veidt. Gloves visits one of her shows and is impressed, but what does not impress him is when he witnesses the death of the nightclub owner (Edward Brophy, yet another great character actor) which is blamed on him, putting the gangster on the run. It should be pointed out that while Gloves is a man who operates outside the law to some extent - he calls himself a "promoter" - we're never in any doubt about his patriotism, because he may be involved in any number of rackets, but being an American he makes no deals with the Nazis, and that's how we know he's on the level when push comes to shove.

Now Gloves is a wanted man, he gets up to some mildly Hitchcockian shenanigans, including attending an auction which emerges as the front for the Fifth Columnists' activities. For our hero it's a case of getting captured, escaping, getting captured, escaping, and so on until the end of the movie, which in truth goes on a little too long considering how slight it is, something the filmmakers manage to hide pretty well while you're watching it. This is the type of effort where the goodies become aware of the baddies' true intentions when they find a portait of Adolf Hitler on the wall of a secret room - this was always such a giveaway that you wonder why Nazis couldn't be more discreet, but luckily for us they were more keen on giving the game away. The action does indeed take place all through the night at the title tells us, and it's spirited and even exciting, with some very funny dialogue; nothing taxing, but it did what it set out to do. Music by Adolph Deutsch.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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