Across the Pacific Reviews
The "Across the Pacific" protagonist, career U.S. Army Artillery officer, Captain Rick Leland, receives a court-marshal for allegedly stealing company funds. He leaves the military with a bad taste in his mouth and tries to enlist in the Canadian Army, but the recruiter knows about Leland's court-marshal and turns him down. Not long afterward, the Japanese contact Rick (Humphrey Bogart of "The Maltese Falcon") and arrange his passage to Panama on Nipponese freighter Genoa Maru. Rick meets a Canadian lady Alberta Marlow. In the novel, Alberta is bound for the Hawaii Islands to visit a rich uncle, while in the screen version, she says she is going to visit her wealthy uncle, Dan Marlow, who owns a plantation in Panama. In the Saturday Evening Post story, an obese Filipino, Doctor Barca, serves as the villain, while in the story treatment, he is Japanese man named Dr. Yomoto. At the end of the story treatment, a notation indicates that, "Yomoto has been changed to Dr. Lorenz." Dr. Lorenz (Sidney Greenstreetof "The Maltese Falcon") greatly admires the Japanese way of life and Lorenz, Alberta, and Rick spend a great deal of time together discussing a variety of topics, until Lorenz gets Rick to himself, pours enough liquor into the ex-artilleryman to loosen his tongue, and learns that he has information about the artillery batteries guarding the Panama Canal. About half way through the action, the film reveals what many had expected that the dishonored hero is really an undercover agent whose court-marshal was a sham to elicit Dr. Lorenz to approach Rick. Complications occur just as Rick gives Lorenz his first report on the air traffic around the Canal. Dr. Lorenz has Rick's only contact murdered and leaves Rick for dead after a severe beating with his cane. Rick survives the torture and finds Lorenz has set up a make-shift air field where a Japanese officer plans to fly a bomb-laden plane to the Panama Canal and destroy it. Incredibly, even with the change of locales, "Across the Pacific" anticipates a later Warner Brothers film "Northern Pursuit," of no relation than coincidence to the former film, where Nazi aviators plan to bomb an unnamed but obvious canal in northeastern America. Naturally, Rick guns down the plane before it can take off, the arrests Dr. Lorenz hours later when the fifth columnist lacks the intestinal fortitude to commit hara-kiri.
This fast-moving, World War II thriller is not as good as "All Through the Night," but it is nevertheless fun to watch.
One of the best early Warner Brother's war movies. Directed by John Huston and features Bogart, as Rick Leland, a dishonorably discharged U.S. Army officer trying to offer his services to anyone who'll take him. This is all taking place before the attack on Pearl Harbor, so the audience knows something that only Rick suspects.
Rick's easy pickings for Dr. Lorenz (Sidney Greenstreet) who he meets on a Japanese ship heading back from Canada to New York and will eventually head to Japan via the Panama Canal. Rick can be a big help to Dr. Lorenz's friends.
I also loved Mary Astor's portrayal of Alberta Marlow from Red Deer, Canada, who might or might not be a Japanese spy. I've only seen her in movies where she's played ultra melodramatic roles (Red Dust and The Maltese Falcon) and in this one she's acts much more natural. She even does a little light comedy and shows off some legs.
This movie also stars most of the more popular Asian-American actors of the time, from Richard Loo, Philip Ahn, Keye Luke, Ruby Robles, and Chester Gan. Nobody was acting in "yellow face" in this movie which I loved. One thing that I felt uncomfortable with was Victor Sen Yung's portrayal of Joe Totsuiko, who talked in very Americanized scat, but was in fact, working for the Japanese. I got to thinking about all of those Nisei who got thrown into concentration camps because people saw this movie.
This is a great movie and well worth a look.
All the elements that went into "Maltese Falcon" and "Casablanca" are here, but it proves only how far those classics rose above formula. This flick doesn't rise above the time it was made, in the months after Pearl Harbor. It's just a little lead foot -- Greenstreet is a little flat, Astor is a little unbelievable, Huston's direction is phoned in and the dialogue isn't as sharp as it first sounds to the ear. Can Bogey rescue a movie called "Across the Pacific" when the characters never even cross the Pacific???
Nope. They should have gotten Reagan for this one.
Bonus round: you can spot the actor who played Cane's mentor in the "Kung Fu" television series! Grasshopper!!!
Bogie seems a little unsure of himself at times in this film. I don't think they knew quite what they were trying to do with this film at times and some of the dialog seemed forced and un natural (very unlike the Falcon) and I guess the fact that the film was made so close to the breakout of the war, and John Huston was called up during filming and had to leave, it's understandable why the film is a little flat in parts.
But the actors are great, and it features some classic Bogart images.
I think the early love scenes between Bogie and Astor are really awkward. Bogart was not used to being a leading man at this stage and throughout his career he was better when he was a cynical type of love interest up against a tough and dangerous woman, like Lauren Bacall. That's also why he worked so well in Sabrina because he was not who you would expect Sabrina to fall in love with.
A mixed bag of a film, but worth owning and I'm glad its finally out on DVD in Australia.