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High Sierra
Film High Sierra
Country USA
Director Raoul Walsh
Year 1941
Cast Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Curtis
Details B&W 100 mins
A black and white gangster movie directed by Raoul Walsh, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino. Roy Earle is a tough guy released from prison so he can do a job for a crime boss. But crime doesn't pay, and the film and Earle end on the hard rocks of the Sierra Nevada.

Put like that "High Sierra" sounds like many other gangster films. But this is Greek tragedy disguised as a gangster film. Destiny / the Gods / society have doomed both Bogart's and Lupino's characters. Bogart's character may see himself as the champion of a poor innocent club-footed girl, see this as his means of redemption, but this is just wishful thinking. The dog which attaches itself to Bogart and Lupino is a divine harbinger of bad things to come.

Bogart makes his character more 3-dimensional than most gangsters by adding vulnerability. The weaknesses that Earle has make Earle strangely more dangerous than a normal assembly-line hoodlum. One can see that here is a character twisted and hardened by his past. Bogart's character is aware at some level that there is no way out, that his choices in letting Lupino stay with him, in letting the dog come along, are ensuring his fate.

A classic gangster film of the 1940s, lean economical and profoundly tragic.