1941 | Film Noir | 100 minutes | English
The aging gangster, Big Mac, is planning to rob a fashionable resort in Tropico Springs California. To help him, he recruits another gangster, Roy Earle, who was recently released from prison. Big Mac rounds up three more men to assist in the heist: Louis Mendoza, who works as clerk at the hotel, Red, and Babe. Babe is accompanied by his dance-hall friend, Marie. Predictably, Marie falls for Roy (after all, he is Bogie), but initially he doesn’t reciprocate. While driving up the mountain, Roy meets the family of Velma, a young woman with a deformed foot. In a display of compassion, Roy pays for Velma’s corrective surgery. He falls in love with Velma, but she tells Roy she is engaged. In a classic rebound, Roy now turns to Marie and they become lovers. Unfortunately, the heist at the hotel goes wrong. Roy and Marie are able to escape but the police set up a dragnet. While Roy is being pursued in the Sierra Mountains, he convinces Marie to separate and save herself. Roy is getting cornered by the police as they refer to him as “Mad Dog Earle.” Roy is not giving up, but what chance does he have with high mountains at his back and surrounded by armed police?
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 95%
- National Board of Review: Winners, Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart); Best Actress (Ida Lupino)
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HIGH SIERRA is a landmark crime film in many ways. It is Bogart’s first solid role as a sympathetic lead, a good-bad guy out of his element and beyond his time. Director Raoul Walsh does a superb job in keeping a nonstop action, succinctly pausing to give Bogart setups in which his character is revealed, a masterful balance of movement and repose
As gangster pictures go, this one has everything—excitement, suspense and that ennobling suggestion of futility which makes for irony and pity. Humphrey Bogart plays the leading role with a perfection of hard-boiled vitality.
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