All Through the Night
(1942) Humphrey Bogart stars in this action caper about a group of New York professional gamblers who uncover a Nazi spy ring right in their neighborhood. The film premiered in New York in January of 1942, right after the U.S. went to war with Germany. As the New York Times reviewer explained, the movie was made pre-Pearl Harbor “lest any one raise the objection that it plays too fast and loose with a subject much too serious for melodramatic kidding in these times.”
Bogart is the head guy in his circle of friends who include 42nd street hoods and gangsters. There is not a scene when he isn’t dressed beautifully in a tailored suit … even after he has been swimming in New York harbor.
They are trying to foil a plot cooked up by a group of what Bogart and his gang refer to as “Fives” … fifth columnists … who are meeting secretly to hatch a big plot. Peter Lorre is the sinister Nazi who does most of the dirty work. German actor Conrad Veidt played the head of the Nazis. Later that year both actors would star with Bogart in Casablanca.
Both Lorre and Veidt made films in Germany early in their careers. Lorre was Jewish, and Veidt married a Jewish woman. They both left Germany just in time. Sadly, Veidt died of a heart attack in 1943 at the age of 50.
It was fun to watch young comics Jackie Gleason (billed as Jackie C. Gleason) and Phil Silvers in small roles totally in character. William Demerest was hysterical when he was spouting out German double-talk during the gathering of the American Nazis. I laughed out loud.
The message was clear that our country was being infiltrated by these groups whose goal was to cause division and unrest … before they finally take over our country completely. I’m sure that in 1942 this came through louder than the laughs.