Slow to begin, this accelerates into a fine, noir-ish thriller, set on the eve of Pearl Harbour and pitting Bogart against Jap spies plotting to destroy the Panama Canal with aerial torpedoes. Featuring the same irresistible mixture of darkness, double-cross and quirky humour as The Maltese Falcon, it again boasts - in addition to some superbly laconic intimations of violence - the inimitable Greenstreet, at his silkiest as a turncoat given to justifying his treachery by discoursing on the arts of judo and the haiku. But the real delight is the wisecracking relationship between Bogart and Astor, who pull a brilliant switch on their earlier romantic partnership - though still teased by a note of doubt - into the Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man. The absurd, flag-waving finale was added by Vincent Sherman after Huston, mobilised before completing the film, maliciously left Bogart in a tight corner from which only Superman could reasonably hope to escape.
Cast and crew
Victor Sen Young