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USA 1942
Directed by
John Huston
97 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars

Across The Pacific

Re-teaming Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor and Sydney Greenstreet with John Huston in a attempt to repeats the huge success of the latter feature debut  The Maltese Falcon from the previous year Warners dishes up a spy movie/adventure/romance mash-up that makes little sense and offers even fewer pleasures.

Bogart plays Rick Leland who has just been court-martialed out of the army for unexplained reasons and boards a Japanese ship for the Orient in late 1941 in order to sell his services to the highest bidder. There he encounters fellow passengers Doctor Lorenz (Greenstreet) and Alberta Marlow (Mary Astor). Lorenz is a Japanese sympathiser and soon it is revealed that Ric has gone undercover in order to bring him down. I have never seen the sex appeal of Astor in The Maltese Falcon and I can’t see it here (for some reason she always reminds me of Margaret Dumont). No matter, for after the brief court-martial sequence Ric dons Phillip Marlowe’s trench-coat and is swapping zesty banter and the odd snog with her aboard a boat bound for the Far East.

Set immediately before Pearl Harbour (which happened on 7 December 1941) the Japanese are either depicted as ruthless villains or patronized as quaintly servile. This will be enough to bury the film for most viewers but the perfunctory plot, which doesn’t even get its protagonists across the Pacific, and the routine characters are sufficient to achieve the same effect.




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