A Light-Hearted Angle on Serious Matters

1942 | NR | 1h 47m | Action, Comedy, Crime

A year after establishing himself as a household name in 1941’s “The Maltese Falcon,” actor Humphrey Bogart starred in director Vincent Sherman’s 1942 comedic crime caper, “All Through the Night.” Bogart is supported by outstanding character actors who have great chemistry together.

Bogart steps into the role of “Gloves” Donahue, who is a “big-shot” sports gambler and tough guy with a heart of gold. His small gang consists of a grumpy man ironically named Sunshine (William Demarest), Starchy (Jackie Gleason), and driver Barney (Frank McHugh).

Each day, Gloves has a slice of cheesecake at a New York dining establishment called Lindy’s. However, one morning the place serves him a piece of cake that wasn’t made by Mr. Miller (Ludwig Stössel), a kind, older Jewish man who normally makes the delicious cheesecakes for Lindy’s.

“All Through the Night.”
Gloves (Humphrey Bogart, R) and Mrs. Donahue (Jane Darwell), in “All Through the Night.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

We soon find that a nefarious character named Pepi (Peter Lorre) has disposed of Mr. Miller. Gloves’s mother, Mrs. Donahue (Jane Darwell) suspects that something bad has happened to Mr. Miller and urges Gloves to visit the man’s bakery to look for clues. Gloves discovers quite a large clue when he finds Mr. Miller’s body in the basement of the bakery.

A pretty nightclub singer, Leda Hamilton (Kaaren Verne), arrives at the bakery but then quickly disappears when she learns of Mr. Miller’s demise. The cops also visit the bakery and tell Gloves to stick around town in case the local district attorney wants to ask him some questions relating to the murder.

Mrs. Donahue thinks that Leda knows something about Mr. Miller’s homicide and tracks the young woman down to the nightclub where she sings. When Gloves realizes that his mother is at the club, he also visits the place and becomes smitten by Leda. However, Pepi, who plays piano at the joint, shows up and threatens Gloves to leave Leda alone.

Pepi takes Leda to a back room where one of the nightclub’s owners, Joe Denning (Edward Brophy) overhears them discussing a secret Nazi plan. Not wanting word to get out about the plan, Pepi shoots Joe, who runs out of the room and collapses on the hallway floor in front of Gloves.

“All Through the Night.”
Sparks fly between Gloves Donahue (Humphrey Bogart, L) and Leda Hamilton (Kaaren Verne), in “All Through the Night.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

As Joe dies in Gloves’s hands, the shooting victim, unable to talk, holds his empty hand up as a clue. Meanwhile, Pepi vanishes with Leda. Gloves is seen by a witness as he is hunched over Joe’s body and becomes the prime suspect in the murder. He also accidentally leaves one of his gloves at the crime scene. Whoops!

On the run from the law, Gloves and his gang trace the cab that Pepi made off in with Leda, to an auction house operated by a shadowy German named Ebbing (Conrad Veidt) and his equally sinister associate, Madam (Judith Anderson), a woman with a very icy countenance.

Gloves tries to secretly infiltrate the auction house by posing as one of the bidders but gets recognized by Pepi. Gloves purchases something that is up for bid and manages to visit a back room with Ebbing. Pepi plans to ambush Gloves by shooting him but Leda saves the gambler’s life by knocking him out instead. What fate awaits Gloves at the hands of this cell of dastardly Nazis?

Bogart was well-cast here as a good-hearted gangster and has plenty of humorous scenes and interactions with the excellent supporting cast. Verne is also great as the damsel in distress (she is being forced to work with the Nazi spies), and Peter Lorre is quite threatening as the main enforcer of the secret cell.

“All Through the Night.”
Leda Hamilton (Kaaren Verne), in “All Through the Night.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

“All Through the Night” features lots of suspense, drama, and comedy, and due to its strong cast of colorful characters, is able to pull off this crime-comedy well. Its light-hearted angle on a more serious subject is sure to entertain.

“All Through the Night” is available on Amazon, Vudu, and Apple TV.

‘All Through the Night’
Director: Vincent Sherman
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt, Kaaren Verne
Not Rated
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes
Release Date: Jan. 10, 1942
Rated: 3.5 stars out of 5

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