Out of the Fog

Overview

Out of the Fog is the film version of the Irwin Shaw play The Gentle People, refashioned to mollify the Hollywood censors by expert wordsmiths Robert Rossen, Jerry Wald, and Richard Macaulay. Humphrey Bogart lobbied strenuously to play the leading role of charming but ruthless waterfront loan shark Harold Goff, but in the end Warners chose the more "bankable" John Garfield. The terror of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, Goff is able to extort five dollars per week from people like tailor Jonah Goodwin Thomas Mitchell ...
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Overview

Out of the Fog is the film version of the Irwin Shaw play The Gentle People, refashioned to mollify the Hollywood censors by expert wordsmiths Robert Rossen, Jerry Wald, and Richard Macaulay. Humphrey Bogart lobbied strenuously to play the leading role of charming but ruthless waterfront loan shark Harold Goff, but in the end Warners chose the more "bankable" John Garfield. The terror of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, Goff is able to extort five dollars per week from people like tailor Jonah Goodwin Thomas Mitchell and short-order cook Olaf Johnson John Qualen, knowing full well that his victims are too good-hearted to fight back. Making matters worse for Goodwin is the fact that his restless daughter, Stella Ida Lupino, seeking to escape her humdrum existence, has fallen in love with the fascinating Goff, leaving her mild-mannered sweetheart George Watkins Eddie Albert in the cold. The Irwin Shaw play was a symbolic plea for a united front against European fascism, suggesting that the only way that dictatorial bullies like Goff can be destroyed is for good men to forget such edicts as "turn the other cheek" and "love thy neighbors." Originally, The Gentle People ended with Jonah and Olaf, pushed to the brink when Goff seduces Stella and then demands all their money, conspiring to murder the villain-and getting away with it. Hollywood's Hays Office, however, would never approve of an unpunished murder, no matter what the justification, so the screenplay contrives to have Goff killed by accident. This still doesn't resolve the moral guilt suffered by the two elderly conspirators, so the screenplay takes several dizzying twists and turns before it can arrive at a censor-proof happy ending. Atmospherically photographed by James Wong Howe, Out of the Fog was film noir before the term was even invented.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Out of the Fog has everything going for it that a great 1940s noir-ish thriller needs -- except a top-notch script. The Irwin Shaw play that serves as its basis is too symbolically didactic by half, and despite the best efforts of all involved to open it up, it still feels stage-bound and artificial. To make matters worse, the censors of the time prohibited the film from keeping the play's controversial ending, in which the two good men actually succeed in premeditatedly murdering the force of evil that has come to dominate their lives and the lives of all around them. Yet in spite of these flaws, Fog manages to be a pretty good, often gripping little melodrama, thanks to Anatole Litvak's taut, skillful direction and a dream cast. As the overpowering bully, John Garfield is incredibly powerful, fully committed to the role and never succumbing to the temptation to soften his character in order to avoid alienating his fans. Garfield is sinister, evil, and inhuman -- yet dangerously fascinating, letting the audience see how Ida Lupino could be attracted to him. Lupino is also quite good, though hampered by poor writing and character development; even better are Thomas Mitchell and John Qualen, who manage to wrest control of the film away from Garfield -- no mean feat. To top things off, James Wong Howe has filmed the piece beautifully, with atmospheric blacks and grays that add immeasurably to Fog's impact. If Out of the Fog's screenplay keeps it from classic status, its assets still provide ample rewards.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/17/2009
  • UPC: 883316221181
  • Original Release: 1941
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:32:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 16,261

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ida Lupino Stella Goodwin
John Garfield Harold Goff
Thomas Mitchell Jonah Goodwin
Eddie Albert George Watkins
George Tobias Igor Propotkin
John Qualen Olaf Knudsen
Aline MacMahon Florence Goodwin
Jerome Cowan District Attorney
Odette Myrtil Caroline Pomponette
Leo Gorcey Eddie
Robert E. Homans Officer Magruder
Bernard Gorcey Sam Pepper
Paul Harvey Judge Moriarity
Ben Welden Boss
Murray Alper Clerk
Charles Drake Reporter
Jack Mower Detective
Herbert Heywood Morgue Attendant
Frank Coghlan Jr. Newspaper Vendor
Eddie Graham Reporter
Richard Kipling Reporter
Alexander Leftwich Reporter
Barbara Pepper Cigarette Girl
Jack Wise Reporter
Charles Wilson Detective
Jimmy Conlin Kibitzer
Technical Credits
Anatole Litvak Director
Henry Blanke Associate Producer
Everett A. Brown Sound/Sound Designer
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
James Wong Howe Cinematographer
Lee Katz Asst. Director
Robert Lord Producer
Warren Low Editor
Richard Macaulay Screenwriter
Robert Rossen Screenwriter
Howard Shoup Costumes/Costume Designer
Jerry Wald Screenwriter
Hal B. Wallis Executive Producer
Perc Westmore Makeup
Carl Jules Weyl Art Director
Rex Wimpy Special Effects
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