High Sierra (film)

High Sierra (film)

name = High Sierra

caption = Theatrical poster
director = Raoul Walsh
producer = Mark Hellinger
writer = Story: W.R. Burnett Screenplay: John Huston W.R. Burnett
starring = Ida Lupino Humphrey Bogart Alan Curtis Arthur Kennedy
music = Adolph Deutsch
cinematography = Tony Gaudio, ASC
editing = Jack Killifer
distributor = Warner Bros.
released = January 21 1941 (U.S.A.)
runtime = 100 minutes
country = United States
language = English
amg_id = 1:22400
imdb_id = 0033717|

"High Sierra" (1941) is an early heist film and film noir written by John Huston and W.R. Burnett from the novel by Burnett. The movie features Ida Lupino and Humphrey Bogart and was directed by Raoul Walsh on location at Whitney Portal, halfway up Mount Whitney. [imdb title|id=0033717|title=High Sierra.]

The screenplay was written by Bogart's friend and drinking partner, John Huston, adapted from the novel by William R. Burnett (also known for, among others, "Little Caesar" and "Scarface"). [cite book |author = Sperber, A.M. and Lax, Eric | title = Bogart |location = New York |publisher = William Morrow & Co. |date = 1997 | id = ISBN 0-68807-539-8 | page = p. 119] The film cemented a strong personal and professional connection between Bogart and Huston. [cite book|last = Meyers | first = Jeffrey| title = Bogart: A Life in Hollywood|location = London| publisher = Andre Deutsch Ltd| date = 1997| id = ISBN 0-233-99144-1| page = p. 115]

The film was noted for its extensive location shooting, especially in the climactic final scenes, as the authorities pursue Bogart's character, gangster "Mad Dog" Roy Earle, from Lone Pine up to the foot of the mountain.


A gangster, Big Mac, is planning a robbery at a California resort casino, and he wants an experienced Roy Earle,just released from an eastern prison by a governor's pardon, to lead the heist. Roy Earle is to take charge of the operation. Roy drives across the country to a camp in the mountains to meet up with the three men who will assist him in the heist: Louis Mendoza, who is working in the resort, and Red and Babe, who are already living at the camp. Babe has also brought along a young woman, Marie. Roy wants to send Marie back to Los Angeles, but after some argument she convinces Roy to let her stay. At the camp Roy also is adopted by a small dog called Pard.

Marie falls in love with Roy as he plans and executes the robbery, but he does not reciprocate. On the drive up to the mountains, Roy met the family of Velma, a young woman with a deformed foot who walks with a limp. Roy pays for corrective surgery to allow Velma to walk normally. While she is convalescing, Roy asks Velma to marry him, but she refuses, explaining that she is engaged to a man from back home. When Velma's fiancee arrives, Roy then turns to Marie, and the two become lovers.

The heist goes wrong when they are interrupted by a security guard. Mendoza, Red and Babe are involved in a car accident; Red and Babe die. Mendoza talks to the police.

While Roy and Marie leave town, a dragnet is put out for him. The two separate in order to allow Marie time to escape, while Roy is pursued until he climbs one of the Sierra mountains, where he holes up overnight. Shortly after sunrise, Roy trades shots with the police down the mountain from him, he hears Pard barking and runs out calling Marie's name and is shot dead by a sharp shooter from behind.


Actor George Raft was originally intended to play the Bogart part, but as with "The Maltese Falcon", Raft turned down the role.

This was the last major film in which Bogart played a gangster (his final gangster role was in "The Big Shot" in 1942).

Bogart's character's dog, "Pard", was erroneously believed by some, to be canine actor 'Terry' ("Toto" from the "Wizard of Oz"). But in fact, it is Bogart's then pet dog, Zero, that appears in "High Sierra", as "Pard". In the final scene, Buster Wiles, a stunt performer, plays Roy's corpse and his hand is filled with biscuits to encourage Pard to lick Roy's hand. [cite book|url = http://books.google.com.au/books?id=2arX5Mr-brgC&pg=PA16&lpg=PA16&dq=bogart+dog+zero+pard&source=web&ots=5Xjs3GlGEo&sig=G3a2q7qJIzsYybzEQ2H-q6w7c1c&hl=en#PPA16,M1|title = Crime Wave| page = page 16| last = Hughes| Howard| date = 2006| accessdate = 2008-04-17]

Many key shots of the movie were made on location in the Sierra Mountains. In a climactic scene, Bogart's character slid convert|90|ft|m down a mountainside to his just reward. His stunt double, Buster Wiles, bounced a few times going down the mountain and wanted another take to do better. "Forget it", said Raoul Walsh. "It's good enough for the 25-cent customers."Sperber, A.M. and Lax, Eric. "Bogart", p. 127.]


* Ida Lupino as Marie
* Humphrey Bogart as Roy Earle
* Alan Curtis as Babe
* Arthur Kennedy as Red
* Joan Leslie as Velma
* Henry Hull as Doc Banton
* Henry Travers as Pa
* Jerome Cowan as Healy
* Minna Gombell as Mrs. Baughmam
* Barton MacLane as Jake Kranmer
* Elisabeth Risdon as Ma
* Cornel Wilde as Louis Mendoza
* Donald MacBride as Big Mac
* Paul Harvey as Mr. Baughmam
* Isabel Jewell as Blonde
* Willie Best as Algernon
* Spencer Charters as Ed
* George Meeker as Pfiffer

Critical reception

Critic Bosley Crowther liked the acting in the picture, and wrote, "As gangster pictures go, this one has everything—speed, excitement, suspense and that ennobling suggestion of futility which makes for irony and pity. Mr. Bogart plays the leading role with a perfection of hard-boiled vitality, and Ida Lupino, Arthur Kennedy, Alan Curtis and a newcomer named Joan Leslie handle lesser roles effectively. Especially, is Miss Lupino impressive as the adoring moll. As gangster pictures go—if they do— it's a perfect epilogue. Count on the old guard and Warners: they die but never surrender. [ [http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=1&res=990DE7DC163AE33BBC4D51DFB766838A659EDE&oref=slogin Crowther, Bosley] . "The New York Times," film review, "High Sierra," Considers the Tragic and Dramatic Plight of the Last Gangster," January 25, 1941. Last accessed: January 29, 2008.]

"Time" magazine reviewed the film when released as having "less of realistic savagery than of the quaint, nostalgic atmosphere of costume drama." The reviewer noted, "What makes High Sierra something more than a Grade B melodrama is its sensitive delineation of Gangster Earle's character. Superbly played by Actor Bogart, Earle is a complex human being, a farmer boy who turned mobster, a gunman with a string of murders on his record who still is shocked when newsmen call him "Mad-Dog" Earle. He is kind to the mongrel dog (Zero) that travels with him, befriends a taxi dancer (Ida Lupino) who becomes his moll, goes out of his way to help a crippled girl (Joan Leslie). All Roy Earle wants is freedom. He finds it for good on a lonely peak in the mountains." [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,851035-2,00.html "Time"] . "The New Pictures," February 17 1944. Last accessed: April 17 2008.]


The film was remade twice:
* As the 1949 western "Colorado Territory" starring Joel McCrea and Virginia Mayo, also directed by Raoul Walsh.
* In 1955 as "I Died a Thousand Times" starring Jack Palance and Shelley Winters, and directed by Stuart Heisler.



External links

* [http://www.filmreference.com/Films-Hi-Ik/High-Sierra.html "High Sierra"] at Film Reference

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