Bogie's on the run and Bacall's at his side in Delmer Daves' stylish film-noir thriller that's the third of four films Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall made together. Bogart is Vincent Parry, a prison escapee framed for murder who emerges from plastic surgery with a new face. Bacall is Irene Jansen, his lone ally. In sharp support, Agnes Moorehead plays a venomous harpy finding pleasure in the unhappiness of others. The leads' chemistry is undeniable, augmented here with exceptional tenderness. Exceptional too are San Francisco locations and creative camerawork that shows Vincent's point of view - but not his face - until bandages are removed. Lest Irene get ideas, post-surgery Vincent tells her: "Don't change yours. I like it just as it is". So do we.
The plot of this film noir thriller is quite hard to take at times, with a few wildly unlikely moments and coincidences. However, it's redeemed by some inventive direction - particularly the first half, where everything is either shot from the point of view of Bogart's character, or so that his face isn't shown (he does eventually appear on camera, but it takes so long, I was beginning to wonder if the producers had decided to save money by just hiring Bogart for a voice-over and getting a stand-in for the physical scenes). The hero's quest to clear his name also doesn't play out in quite the way you might expect, leaving this a slightly odd but interestingly different film.
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