Friday, September 2, 2011

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT: The Continuing Adventures of Annabelle's Husband

Here’s a high concept for you: “Damon Runyon Kicks Nazi Heinie in NYC.” That’s the clever premise of first-time “A” picture director Vincent Sherman’s 1941 Warner Bros. wartime comedy-thriller All Through the Night (ATtN). Don’t you love it already? And what a cast — it’s Character Actor Central, and all in their prime! The good guys’ corner includes a dazzling array of funny, colorful sidekicks and associates in addition to Humphrey Bogart himself: William Demarest; Jackie Gleason (then billed as Jackie C. Gleason); Phil Silvers as a nearsighted but patriotic waiter; the lovely Kaaren Verne (Kings Row, The Seventh Cross); Barton MacLane (whose many films with Bogart included The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, though TV fans may remember him best as General Peterson on I Dream of Jeannie); Edward Brophy (who Team Bartilucci knows best as Joe Morelli in The Thin Man, and who the young Disney fans in our lives know best as the voice of Timothy Mouse in Dumbo); Wallace Ford (billed as “Wally” here) and Charles Cane from Dead Reckoning; Frank McHugh, in the role that endeared him to Team Bartilucci and earned him the affectionate nickname “Annabelle’s Husband” (more on that shortly); and of all people, The Grapes of Wrath Oscar-winner Jane Darwell as Bogart’s mom (doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does, trust me!). The bad guys they’re up against are no slouches, either: Conrad Veidt; Dame Judith Anderson, Martin Kosleck, and Peter Lorre (who ended up married to co-star Verne for several years, ironically enough). There’s gonna be a rumble in Manhattan tonight!

Sunshine explains how to catch
the Nazis with their Panzers down
This fast, funny, suspenseful adventure gives Bogart one of his most entertaining roles as Alfred “Gloves” Donahue, a dapper New York City “sports promoter.” Translation: gambler and bookie. I should know; that was what my dear old dad did when he wasn’t managing his Italian restaurant in the Bronx when I was a little tyke. My favorite euphemism for Gloves’ line of work comes from a radio bulletin when he’s wrongly accused of murder, describing him as a “man about town and well-known figure in the sporting world.” But I’m getting ahead of myself! The film opens with Gloves’ “boys,” Sunshine (Demarest), Starchy (Gleason), and waiter Louie (Silvers) using toy soldiers and such to map out a campaign against the Nazis. Our guy Gloves joins Sunshine and their cohort Barney (McHugh) at the restaurant. Gloves is a rough-and-tumble but essentially decent guy who’s good to his lovable mother (Darwell). He’s more interested in the sports page than the war news on the front page, until Mom seeks out Gloves for help. Mr. Miller (Ludwig Stossel) is missing. This is a crisis, as Mrs. Miller (Irene Seidner) is Mom Donahue’s BFF, plus Mr. M. is Gloves’ favorite cheesecake maker! We viewers had just seen Pepi (Lorre), a pianist (no, not Adrien Brody) and generally slimy so-and-so, slinking around Miller’s store, eating candy he hasn’t paid for and making veiled threats — not a good sign! Well, Mom Donahue has even sharper “women’s intuition” than Grace Kelly did in Rear Window, and her never-wrong “funny feeling” is once again on the money, alas; Mr. Miller is found murdered in his basement.
Gloves picked a fine time to
accidentally leave his calling card!
Speaking of cheesecake, the lovely German-accented singer Leda Hamilton (Verne) drops by wearing a picture hat and a worried look. Turns out Pepi is Leda’s accompanist. Now Gloves is the one with the funny feeling, first with his attraction to the mysterious yet endearing Leda, then the growing realization that Pepi and Leda are involved with a bunch of mugs even tougher than Gloves and his cronies. When Mom tries to get info out of Leda at The Duchess Club, the nightspot run by Gloves’ rival Marty Callahan (MacLane), Gloves steps in, and before he knows it, shots are fired and he’s framed for the murder of the obnoxious Joe Denning (Brophy). Joe only gives Gloves one clue before dying: he lifts his hand. The chase is on, and soon Gloves and Company realize they’re dealing with “Fivers”— Fifth Columnists, headed by smooth antiques dealer Franz Ebbing (Veidt)! Leda seems to run hot and cold, first knocking Gloves out, then helping him and Sunshine escape. Turns out there’s a terrible hold over her: her father’s in the Dachau concentration camp, and Ebbing and company have been keeping Papa’s death from “natural causes” from her so she’d keep working with them. (I wonder what those Nazi creeps defined as “natural causes”?) Now that Gloves and Leda are joining forces, they’ve got to find out what those Nazi scum are up to over at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Will Gloves get himself and Leda out of this mess? Will Barney and his brand-new bride Annabelle (Jean Ames) get to enjoy any action on their wedding night that doesn’t involve chases and clobbering? You bet — with a little help from their cronies, of course! Native New Yorkers rule!
Congrats & good luck to Barney & Annabelle,
married to the mob!
George Raft, notorious for turning down roles that wound up turning his replacements into stars, was offered the role of Gloves Donahue first. Thank goodness Humphrey Bogart landed the role instead, because Bogie was a tough guy with a knack for comedy! As wonderful as the whole cast is, McHugh is our favorite among the supporting cast. Indeed, we affectionately call him “Annabelle’s Husband.” He gets lots of the best lines, too, like these:
Drake on the move! Perry Mason’s
William Hopper in his first film role
Barney: “Annabelle’s waiting for me…after all, I’m a married man. I got obligations.”
Gloves: “All right, send her flowers.”
Barney: “Well…that wasn’t my idea.

Talking to Madame (Anderson) at the auction house after Gloves and Sunshine are knocked out and tied up:

Barney: “Lookit, lady, when we started out tonight, there were three of us. Twenty minutes later, there was only two. Now there’s only one. One of us isn’t enough to leave here alone!”

A portrait's worth 1000 words: fiendish Fivers afoot!
The screenplay by Leonard Spigelgass and Edwin Gilbert (story by Spigelgass), and Leo Rosten writing as Leonard Q. Ross is fast and funny, blending comedy, action, and suspense effortlessly. I especially got a kick out of the breezy, sometimes punny dialogue (like Gleason’s “The first one of those (Nazi) guys I tag, I’m gonna kick him right in the swastika!” and Bogart’s “Hey, there’s more here than meets the FBI!”). I was also tickled when I spotted Hedda Hopper’s son DeWolfe Hopper in an uncredited role as a reporter in the background of the film’s last scene; of course, we Perry Mason fans know him better as William Hopper, who played Perry’s private investigator Paul Drake, as well as starring in the films 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Deadly Mantis, and The Bad Seed, among others!

Considering ATtN ends with Gloves’ Mom rushing to him in the middle of a press conference to tell him that now the milkman is MIA, it would have been so cool if Warners had made a sequel, and/or maybe even a new movie series! But alas, at that time, the attack on Pearl Harbor was still too fresh in 1941 audiences’ minds for them to embrace a quasi-realistic World War 2 spy thriller with broadly humorous overtones. Happily, ATtN is available on DVD and TCM (as it was during Conrad Veidt Day recently on TCM’s Summer Under the Stars) so we modern movie lovers can enjoy this entertaining genre blend guilt-free!

Hmm, wonder which cheesecake Peter Lorre liked best? Miller's cheesecake?

Or then-wife Kaaren Verne? ;-)

It’s double jeopardy for Gloves and Leda as
they unravel the evil Fifth Columnists' plot.

 Poor little pooch! It’s not the dog’s fault his owner is Nazi scum!


  1. Gloves "Good to his mother" Donahue...

    It's amazing how many thrillers have a scene in an auction house, isn't it? Maybe it's the excitement of the bidding or something.

  2. The hubby and I refer to all bad guys, be they spies or not, be they contemporary or not, as "dirty fivers".

    For a bunch of tough guys, the heroes in "All Through the Night" are absolutely adorable! I love 'em all - and I gotta have some cheesecake!

  3. I love this movie and have always thought "Annabelle's husband" was a real funny in describing Frank McHugh-such a favorite of mine too. This had the best group of hilarious gangsters ever. Yet, the movie had pathos too, which you wouldn't really expect from a broad comedy like this -- maybe it was the war, and also the talented cast, mainly Bogart. I agree that Raft would not have been as good, much as I love Raft. He's just more menacing overall than Bogie, and the character would not have come across the same.

    Did you come up with “Damon Runyon Kicks Nazi Heinie in NYC.”? Love it!

  4. This is one of my favorite Bogart movies. Of course I always love Conrad Veidt even when he played Nazi scum. Ha!

    Enjoyed reading your post as always, Dorian. I thought I was the only one who'd ever heard of this movie. I should have known better. :)

  5. Caftan Woman, you're a gal after my own heart when it comes to great character actors AND cheesecake! Ah, to be in NYC eating cheese cake at Lindy's or Junior's right about now! :-) And I love that you and your hubby have dubbed movie bad guys "dirty fivers." You guys are our kind of people! Always happy to have you join the conversation!

  6. Becky, I'm delighted but not surprised to hear that you too are a fan of ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT and "Annabelle's Husband" -- youse got good taste! :-) One of the things I like most about ATtN is that is balances comedy, pathos, and suspense so well. No doubt the film was made on New York-style sets, but director Vincent Sherman and his cast and crew did a great job of getting a palpable New York City feeling across. And yes, I did indeed come up with "Damon Runyon Kicks Nazi Heinie in NYC;" glad you liked it! Just goes to show you can take the girl out of NYC, but you can't take the NYC outta the girl! :-)

  7. Yvette, glad to see that Blogger is behaving for you again! ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT is absolutely one of my favorite movies. Conrad Veidt was a great villain, of course, but during TCM's Conrad Veidt day, I watched his performance in the silent film version of THE HANDS OF ORLAC, and I was really impressed! Happy to have you as a member in good standing of the ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT Appreciation Society! :-)

  8. Believe it or not, I haven't seen this, although it's been on my pile to watch for a year. Hopefully soon, because you make it sound like a lot of fun. Thanks for the post!

  9. Brian, I know where you're coming from; I've got a million DVDs and TiVo-ed movies I've been meaning to watch, too, but life's obligations keep getting in the way. Why not kick off your Labor Day Weekend with ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT? I bet you'll be glad you did! :-) Thanks for your kind words about my post and for joining the conversation!

  10. Great post, Dorian! Your reviews and insights are almost as much fun as the movie (and sometimes more!).

  11. Thanks so much, FlickChick! Your high opinion of my reviews and insights is welcome praise indeed! :-)

  12. Hey, gang, maybe one (or more :-)) of you can help me with some ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT info. I've been trying to find out the name of the uncredited African-American actor who plays "Saratoga," Gloves Donahue's valet, but no soap. Saratoga has some bits that crack me up, like this one. I particularly liked this bit, which might be ancient for all I know, but the delivery and timing is priceless:

    Gloves: "Hey, Saratoga."
    Saratoga: "Yes, sir?"
    Gloves: "Isn't that my tie you got on?"
    Saratoga: "Yes, sir."
    Gloves: "And my shirt?"
    Saratoga: "Yes, sir."
    Gloves: "What're you doing with my belt?"
    Saratoga: "You don't want your pants to fall down, do you, boss?"

    Any help in solving this little mystery will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance! :-)

  13. I happened to see the trailer of All Through the Night during one of those "Warner Night at the Movies" they like to include with Errol Flynn films, and I instantly knew I HAD to see it. And needless to say, I was not disappointed in the least. Tough, sweet Bogie chases after murderous Nazis. Over CHEESECAKE. Whilst cracking some jolly good one-liners. The perfection of it all just kills me.

    I find it interesting how Bogie almost spoofs his own persona with this film...yet, he was very early in his career as a bona fide star. Of course, he'd been around films as a gangster for a good decade, but he looks surprisingly young as Gloves. But he's Humphrey Bogart and I love him when he's ancient and wooing Audrey Hepburn over "Yes, We Have No Bananas". So I'm kind of bound to the think anything he does is perfect.

  14. Emm, my admiration for your great taste in movies just keeps growing, with your love of both Errol Flynn and ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT. You're making your Auntie Dorian so proud! :-) Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway :-)), I'm in 100% agreement with every word of your comments about ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT. Glad you enjoyed my blog post -- many thanks!

    Speaking of great blogs, have I mentioned that I've added your own blog THE STUPENDOUSLY AMAZINGLY COOL WORLD OF OLD TV to my "Further Distractions" list on the right-hand side of this blog? Hey, everybody, if by some bizarre twist of fate anyone here hasn't yet discovered Emm's delightful blog, here's the link:

    Always nice to have you drop by and join the conversation, Emm! Thanks again, and may you and everyone here enjoy a lovely Labor Day Weekend!

  15. Watched this film a few times, most recently about a year or so ago and it struck me at that time how odd it was to see Bogart along with Phil Silvers and Jackie Gleason in the same movie... and fighting Nazi's no less! The film had some bad timing, made before the U.S. entry into the war but released only days before Pearl Harbor which probably did not make it seem so funny at that time. In some ways it reminds me of a Bowery Boys film, only on a much improved scale, meaning here we have good guy patriotic gangsters, instead of Leo Gorcey and Co., fighting Nazi's which they seemed to have done a few times.

    As you mention the film is fully loaded with Warner's character actors all of who add to the overall enjoyment. I just finished watching THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT with Raft and Bogart, another film where Warner's put their stable of character actors to good use.

    Enjoyed reading this immensely, great job as always Dorian!!!


  16. John, great to have you join the conversation here, as always! It's a shame about the timing of ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT'S original theatrical release so close to the attack on Pearl Harbor, though I've been pleased to see that time has been kinder to ATtN, allowing today's audiences to appreciate its comedy elements.

    Your mention of The Bowery Boys had me imagining what it might have been like if The Dead End Kids (as Leo Gorcey & Co. were billed back then, if I recall correctly) had been in the film. Maybe they would have been kind of like a New York City version of The Baker Street Irregulars to ATtN's Gloves Donahue and his boys! :-)

  17. Dorian, like Classicfilmboy, I must admit that I've never seen this film. But with Conrad Veidt, Dame Judith Anderson, and Peter Lorre as the villains, it's definitely going on my gotta-see list. Cute dachshund!

  18. Rick, what with Bogart, great Warner Bros. character actors, cheesecake of all kinds, and cute doggies, ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT is well worth seeking out! :-) Thanks for joining the chat, as always!

  19. I dig this one, too. I recall laughing at it all the way through (though they pulled an old Laurel & Hardy gag--Bogart asking the stooge with the glass of milk in his hand "What time is it?" followed by the resulting spill. The fight in the warehouse is terrific, too.

  20. Hey, Thom, delighted to have you pulling up a chair and joining the TotED conversation! Glad you're a fan of ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT, too -- and you know, I had forgotten the "What time is it?" gag originated with Laurel & Hardy! Thanks for the reminder and for dropping by; come back any time!

  21. Hey, gang, we've got a brand new blogger here at TotED: Stef, who has just begun two new blogs. Let's all get her started right! Here are Stef's links:

    Stef's Reviews and Musings:

    Stef's Odds and Ends: