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Dark Passage: Book & Film

Dark Passage (1946) is a David Goodis novel that was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post, and then sold to Warner Bros. for the film that Delmer Daves directed, even before it appeared in hardback. It is interesting to compare the film "Dark Passage" (1947) with the Goodis book, because the director had to make a number of cinematic changes in order to get at the essence of the novel's prose and technique.

Goodis writes his novel in the third person, and his clipped sentences make it a perfect vehicle for a film noir: "It was a tough break. Parry was innocent. On top of that he was a decent sort of guy who never bothered people and wanted to lead a quiet life." (Goodis 7)

In the film Bogart plays Vincent Parry, who escapes from San Quentin in order to prove his innocence in the murder of his wife. Lauren Bacall plays Irene Jansen, who helps him because she had followed his trial and knew that he was not guilty.

Daves uses a subjective camera, which was also a technique in another film noir, Raymond Chandler's "The Lady in the Lake," to show Bogart before his plastic surgery and after. This creates suspense in the film mode, and it approximates the paranoid voice that Goodis used to show that Parry was both uptight and determined to prove his innocence.

"Delmer Daves followed the scenes and the dialogue of the novel very closely, as well as Goodis's strict attention to topography." (Ottoson 52) Daves did this because Goodis's writing methods lent themselves very easily to the movie medium, just as others such as James M. Cain and Cornell Woolrich also did.

The effectiveness of the transposition of the story into the film medium can be seen especially in the characterization of Bogart. He is an ideal Goodis hero in that he can portray his lack of guilt and at the same time show a man who has become a victim of society and the legal system. As Goodis says: "There was too much of the other side and on his sid...

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Dark Passage: Book & Film. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 13:36, May 19, 2019, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1703134.html