Passage to Marseille - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Passage to Marseille Reviews

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½ April 12, 2016
Passage to Marseille follows a group of convicts who escape from Devil's Island and embark upon a treacherous journey across the sea to enlist in the French Resistance. Many compare this film to Casablanca since it's a World War II drama that reunites director Michael Curtiz with composer Max Steiner and a cast that includes Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre. Anyone who expects this movie to be as good as one of the most beloved Hollywood classics ever made is in for some disappointment, but Passage to Marseille does have its moments. It's a sentimental film that wears its propagandist heart on its sleeve, but the cast still makes you root for them in the climactic gunfight. This picture is hardly essential, but one could do a lot worse should they be looking for 1940's action movies.
April 10, 2016
This is an excellent film with Humphrey Bogart which is a "Casablanca" reunion of sorts as it has the same director, and also costars Peter Lorre, Claude Rains and Sidney Greenstreet. This is an entertaining war flick set in France. If a fan of classics or of Bogart, give this a watch!
January 8, 2016
Wonderful black and white cinematography by James Wong Howe, great technical advising and set design, but dull screenplay and pointless structure from the reunited creators of Casablanca. Laughable (french) patriotism (the young sailor is one of the worst propaganda character ever) and painful sentimentalism.
December 29, 2015
This film has so many flash backs within the blahs backs shows different types of scenery from royal French Air Force ship finding prisoners stranded in the ocean, a flashback to prisoners in the jungle, to Humprey Bogarts story at a French Newspaper in 1938.

Major mutiny occurs concerning which France should be served once Hitler invades France. France controlled by Nazis or based in Great Britain.

What I thought was interesting was that this film shows realism onboard the ship by showing the camera move on the ship to represent waves.

This film it is easy to tell when there is a model being used rather than the real thing.
November 18, 2015
An interesting take on French nationalism via the jungles and prisons of South America. The same group who made Casablanca made it entertaining, but not nearly as well organized or compelling.
November 15, 2015
another example of the studio trying to clone "casablanca'. rewatch: 11/15/2015 stills stirs up patriotism in me watching this-vive le France!!!
April 11, 2015
Curtiz can't quite recreate the magic of Casablanca
November 2, 2014
It was cool seeing the director and stars of Casablanca reunite shortly afterwards for this propaganda film heralding the contributions of the French resistance during the second World War. Though the special effects are atrocious at times (you can see the cables above the German fighter plane and the outside shots of the train look especially phony) and that it could be tied with Night Train to Munich for worst shooting accuracy in movie history, it's especially rewarding, especially the speech over Matrac's grave at the end. A powerful film.
½ July 1, 2014
Seems to be unfairly compared to Casablance; of course it's not in the same league, but on its own it's a solid movie that can't and shouldn't have to live up to the comparisons with the classic movie. A very franophiliac movie, and a very effective example of good war propaganda.
½ May 13, 2014
Director Michael Curtiz re-teamed with fellow "Casablanca" alumni Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, and Helmut Dantine to make another war story. But "Passage to Marseilles" is a far cry from "Casablanca". This is a mess of a film that's heavy on talk and short on action. The editing looks like it was done as an after-thought. The result is a hodge-podge of flashbacks. At one point we're watching a flashback within a flashback within a flashback, and if you're keeping the timeline straight, you're doing a better job with it than I did. Had we seen the story chronologically, it may have been a little more enjoyable. That way we would have seen everything happening rather than being told what happened. It seems a group of escaped convicts from Devil's Island - all mistakenly or unjustifiably imprisoned, of course - are found floating on the ocean, and they wind up fighting for the French during World War II. The screenplay was melodramatic without the humor, and full of holes big enough for a bomber to fly through. There's a completely unnecessary scene of mutiny (though the ship's captain refers to it as "piracy") that's resolved in about five minutes. Another traitor reveals the ship's position, with the sole result being the Nazis try to sink the ship. Along with the traitor. So why would he do that in the first place? There are more inconsistencies, but they're not worth mention. It just goes to show you, some movies just aren't going to work, regardless of the pedigree behind it.
May 13, 2014
Quite a good film. I didn't have any trouble following the flashback-in-a-flashback scheme. Humphrey Bogart was amazing as always. What can you say? Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre were good. Claude Rains was excellent. The script is excellent. Michael Curtiz did a good job with this film. Passage to Marseilles is a must see if you're a fan of Bogart.
½ May 13, 2014
Excellent cast and director, but there just seems like something's missing here. Very reminiscent to Casablanca, but lacks magic, chemistry, and script. It had to be a chance of being one of those great classics, but just a decent film.
½ May 13, 2014
PASSAGE TO MARSEILLE is war propaganda first and foremost. There is no question where the sympathies of the filmmakers lie. Directed by Michael Curtiz 2 years after making CASABLANCA, Curtiz borrows a few similar themes using some of the same actors. Where CASABLANCA was moviemaking at it's finest...PASSAGE TO MARSEILLE fails to produce the same kind of magic as the earlier film. I applaud the effort though.

The problem may be that this film is at least 90% backstory - that is, it is told mostly in flashbacks. Not only that, but you have flashback within flashback within flashback within flashback (if i counted correctly). I suppose if you structure your film in such a fashion - you better have one hell of a finale...and PASSAGE TO MARSEILLE tries to do just that - but I feel it just falls short of the goal.

Captain Freycinet (Claude Rains) heads a squadron of bombers composed of French expatriates based in England. The squadron flies bombing missions over Germany. After a mission - one of the bombers on occasion would make a detour and fly over the farm where the wife and child of one of the crew members live. Gunner Jean Matrac (Humphrey Bogart) would drop a canister containing a letter for his wife, Paula (Michele Morgan). She would eagerly run outside upon hearing the bomber in anticipation of her husband's dropping the letters.

When a british journalist (John Loder) arrives meaning to write a story on the French fliers - Captain Freycinet obliges the writer by providing the first of a series of flashbacks involving (for one) the crew of a freighter plying the waters of the Atlantic just prior to the start of WWII...(and secondly) a group of men serving time at the prison camps in the jungles of French Guiana.

PASSAGE TO MARSEILLE definitely lacks the witty humor of CASABLANCA - nor are the characters as endearing. Claude Rains' character here, Captain Freycinet pales in comparison to his wonderfully realized Captain Renault in CASABLANCA.

Humphrey Bogart's Jean Matrac may just be as conflicted as Rick - but Matrac certainly lacks Rick Blaine's charisma. Matrac will certainly test the viewer's loyalties when he makes a decisive and brutal moral decision near the climax of the film.

It's interesting that Michelle Morgan plays opposite Humphrey Bogart here. The French actress was the original choice to play Ilsa in CASABLANCA, before her salary demands handed Ingrid Bergman the role. One of the flashbacks here is even similar to the Paris flashback in CASABLANCA.

PASSAGE TO MARSEILLE is an interesting watch with excellent production values but pales in comparison to the greatness of CASABLANCA, which it tries to emulate in theme and emotions.

7 / 10
½ May 13, 2014
A semi-reunion of some of the key players from CASABLANCA, this film does at times feel like it's desperately trying to recapture some of that magic, but for the most part, it's a significantly less effective offering. That's not at all to say it isn't entertaining, because it is - Bogart, Rains, and Greenstreet deliver the goods (as they always do), the dialogue crackles, and the production values are terrific. Solid entertainment from the golden age of the Studio System.
½ May 13, 2014
just about perfect puts together many from casablanca as the studio tried 2 capitolize on its success
August 14, 2013
intense action, bogart is awesome once again
½ June 25, 2013
Most of the cast of Casablanca reunite for a story of free French patriotism. Has some great atmosphere and exciting battle scenes, but not as well paced or romantic as Casablanca. Still worth a look though.
½ May 4, 2013
Micheal Curtiz nos brinda otro espectacular trabajo en "Passage to Marseille" con su apasionante tono bélico, tramas complejas, giros inesperados y la grandiosa actuación de Humphrey Bogart y el resto del elenco.
August 24, 2012
Interesting storytelling: flashback (Bogart in France) inside flashback (escape from prison) inside flashback (ship to Marseilles) inside main narrative (French air field).
May 11, 2012
War film with the usual suspects--Entertaining!!
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