Humphrey Bogart teams up with two future Casablanca co-stars and an astounding supporting cast in this incredibly fast-moving wartime propaganda film. As the title suggests, the film takes place over the course of fewer than 24 hours, starting around noon or so of one day and ending up right around dawn of the next. During those hours, Bogie has to deal with a couple of murders, a couple of singing Texans, the unavailability of his favorite cheesecake, and a really pesky bunch of Fifth Columnists. For those of you not up on your World War Deuce lingo, Wikipedia defines a fifth column as “a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within, to help an external enemy.” We’re talking Nazis here, folks.
Made during the time when Bogart had appeared on the American movie-going public’s radar but had not yet become a superstar (roughly the period between High Sierra/The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca), All Through the Night boasts an incredible line-up of character actors: William Demarest (best known for his role as Uncle Charley in the long-running TV series “My Three Sons,” but featured in several Psychotronic films, such as Viva Las Vegas and the essential TV movie Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark); Judith Anderson (later Dame Judith Anderson), who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Mrs. Danvers in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, but also shows up in such Psychotronic films as Laura and And Then There Were None; Jane Darwell (unforgettable as Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, for which she won an Oscar, and as Ma Stone in this blog’s previous entry, The Devil and Daniel Webster—and yes, there does seem to be a pattern emerging in the names of the characters she played…); Phil Silvers (TV’s Sergeant Bilko); Jackie Gleason (TV’s Ralph Kramden on “The Honeymooners”); and Psychotronic favorite Martin Kosleck (The Mummy’s Curse, The Flesh Eaters).
And then there are Bogart’s two future Casablanca co-stars: Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre. Veidt is an especially interesting actor for fans of the horror film, as he was one of the first actors to become known primarily for his roles in features that emphasized the horrific and fantastic. Conrad Veidt was there (in Germany) at the birth of the horror film as we now know it, starring in many of the films that directly influenced Hollywood’s most famous early horror films: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919); The Hands of Orlac (1924); Waxworks (1924); The Student of Prague (1926); and The Man Who Laughs (1928). Only Lon Chaney was better known as a horror star during the silent era. As for Peter Lorre…unless you’ve stumbled across this blog by accident, you should know who he is. In fact, the only reason All Through the Night made it into The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film is because Peter Lorre’s in it. Michael Weldon’s funny that way.
I’ll admit that the first time I watched All Through the Night, I wasn’t terribly enamored of it. It seemed a little too lightweight, like a meringue without a pie underneath it. A repeat viewing has softened my first reaction to the film, however, and now I see it as a fun trifle that, in its own way, is kind of like a 1940s version of Ocean’s 11 (the one with George Clooney, not the one with Frank Sinatra). Both films are filled to brimming with recognizable actors, all looking like they’re having the time of their lives, and neither film comes within a mile of taking itself seriously. In All Through the Night, the interplay between Bogart and Demarest is especially fun, with each trying to out-wisecrack the other. They should have made more films together.
YouTube has a paucity of All Through the Night clips, but there is one longish clip that shows Bogart and Demarest at a fifth column meeting that’s pretty amusing. There’s also a compilation of what looks to be every scene that Conrad Veidt’s in from the film; I can’t imagine that hanging together very well, but your viewing time is your own.
My pick for what to watch until you can watch the entire film is the original trailer, courtesy of the awesome Trailers from Hell! blog. Unfortunately, I can’t get the trailer to embed down here in the swamp, so you’ll just have to watch it via this link: