Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dead End (1937)

I've heard a few film-loving folks on Twitter proclaim that sleep is overrated. Hmph! It is indeed NOT overrated. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is highly underrated. A good night's sleep does wonders for ones well-being. And as film enthusiasts, being awake and alert and not drowsy (or the opposite, jittery from the excess caffeine) is the only way to watch a film. Sure you can cram a few more films in if you sleep fewer hours but are you really enjoying them?

I watched Dead End at home, on my sofa, wrapped in a warm blanket. I was instantly hooked, especially because I had enjoyed Crime School (1938) (another Dead End Kids-Bogie film) so much. 40 minutes into this 93 minute movie and I started to doze off. I kept trying to stay awake but no matter how good the story I just couldn't. After a long week with not enough sleep, I was mentally and physically fatigued. I drifted in an out of consciousness during the last 30 minutes, Bogie's face popping up intermittently along with that of Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea and the delightfully rambunctious Dead End kids. However, I couldn't keep awake. I saw enough to understand the plot and know what was going on but Carlos had to fill me in at certain points.

Before I return Dead End to Netflix, I'll give it a proper viewing, rested and awake and ready to full absorb the film. One thing that is notable about Dead End is that Bogie has a considerable role in the film, which was not all that common in his film career during the 1930s. He plays Baby Face Martin, a gangster just come out of some reconstructive surgery on his face and heading back to his old 'hood to find a dame he once knew as well as to reconnect with his mother. He takes some time to cause some mischief as well. Bogie's idleness in the film (he hangs around a lot, watching and threatening but not doing much until towards the end) is what keeps the various plot points together. After each section ends, it keeps coming back to Bogie's character and his growing ire and itch to do something really bad. The Dead End kids as well as the physical location do this as well. They are all anchors for the film and keep us grounded.

2 comments:

  1. I think you'll love Dead End. It is definitely a great film and one you really want to be awake for! :-)

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