Welcome to another edition of Random Double Features! This time out we've got a doozy for you, half of which I'm going to have to apologize for. The top half of the bill is a picture from Warner Bros. in 1941 starring Humphrey Bogart called All Through the Night. The bottom half is a picture from the seventh concentric circle of hell via Italy in 1960 and inexplicably called Atom Age Vampire.
All Through the Night is the first picture Bogart made following his star-making turn in The Maltese Falcon. As was usual for Bogart during this period, he got the lead when other actors turned the roles down. The film was originally written for newspaper columnist Walter Winchell, who backed out. Then, as with most stories like this about Bogie, George Raft was approached. He too turned it down, another role in a long line that Bogart took on to success and acclaim.
When Bogie's classic films are brought up, All Through the Night rarely gets a mention even though it out-grossed The Maltese Falcon at the box office. This is probably due to its unusual tone. It's a spoof, yes, and a very funny one, but it's shot like a film noir and contains a very earnest plea for Americans to shake free of their isolationist policies and get involved in the War in Europe. It's also due to it coming between ...Falcon and Casablanca, but it's a great change of pace for Bogart, and it's a well-directed lark with more than a few genuine laughs, proving Bogie could do more than act tough.
Atom Age Vampire is a piece of crap. This could be for many reasons, such as, but not limited to, the bad English dubbing, the jarring and non-sensical editing (probably a result of removing scenes for the American version), and the fact that no Vampire appears in the film at any point. It's the story of a stripper who is disfigured in a car accident. Believing she will be rejected by the man she loves, she decides to undergo an experimental procedure offered by a reclusive scientist who claims he can repair her face with a special serum. Of course, things do not go well. While her face is repaired, the process needs more serum to be permanent, the Doctor is nuts and falls for the girl but his use of an earlier serum to repair his own scars causes him to revert to a disfigured appearance and kill women around Rome. I guess. None of it is all that clear.
The only thing I can possible see connecting these two films is that they both clearly deal with the dangers of fascism. Because only a nation decimated by a totalitarian regime fifteen years earlier could possibly create Atom Age Vampire.
Next time, my friend Brenton has selected for us two flicks. Somehow we're doing our third Hitchcock film, and another from this set of Horror "Classics." Join us November 6th for what many consider to be Hitch's greatest film, Psycho, as the top half of the bill. Our bottom half is Doomed to Die, which could be a nightmare given that it stars English actor Boris Karloff as Asian detective Mr. Wong. Oy. See you soon!