Monday Movie: All Through the Night, by David Bax
Every Monday, we’ll highlight a piece of writing from our vaults. This review of All Through the Night originally ran as part of our TCM Classic Film Festival 2019 coverage.
If Vincent Sherman’s All Through the Night (1942) isn’t as well remembered as some of the other films featuring its heavy hitter cast, it might be because of similarities that some could see as redundant. That cast includes Humphrey Bogart, Conrad Veidt and Peter Lorre, who would all reteam later that year for Casablanca. Hell, Bogart even plays an antihero who faces off against Nazis led by Conrad Veidt; it’s like it was a practice run. Plus, the part of the story where rival gangs team up to take on a common enemy the police are too incompetent to handle themselves is reminiscent of M, the movie that made Lorre an international star. The difference is that, as serious a subject as Nazi fifth columnists in America was, All Through the Night has an almost anarchic sense of fun to it. I mean, Veidt’s Nazi leader has a pet dachsund (of course) that follows him wherever he goes. And the whole plot only kicks off because the Nazis kill the baker who happens to make the cheesecake that Bogart’s gang boss, “Gloves” Donahue, eats every day. Though Gloves’ initial goals in tracking down the traitors are more gastronomic than patriotic, All Through the Night is an unabashed work of propaganda meant, like Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent and many other films of the era, to stir up American support for entering the ongoing war. The movie does take the Nazis (who speak often in unsubtitled German) seriously, even though casual, almost humorous references to Dachau come off as insultingly clueless today. But this is still the kind of movie where guys disappear around a corner only for us to see their tall, lingering shadows get conked on the head.