Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Producer: William Jacobs (Warner Bros.)
Screenplay: Arthur T. Horman, Dwight Taylor
Director of Photography: Merritt B. Gerstad
Music: Friedrich Hollaender
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Alexis Smith, Sydney Greenstreet, Rose Hobart, Charles Drake
Conflict, directed by Curtis Bernhardt (last year we presented his film Possessed, 1947, with Joan Crawford in the Freudian noir section), is an atypical and unjustly overlooked piece of work in Bogart’s filmography. After all, his character of engineer Mason defies the iconic image of the Marlowian hero who stands on the right side of the law, and keeps a cool head in every situation. Mason is a cold-blooded murderer, who calculatedly rids himself of his wife so that he can be with her younger sister. However, as usual, the perfect noir crime gets out of the protagonist’s control, and he sinks into greater and greater paranoia until he succumbs to desperate insanity. The casting of actor Sydney Greenstreet as Bogart’s positive opponent, who has the upper hand over Mason, is also non-standard (it was usually the opposite case). It’s no surprise that the actor opposed the role – but under pressure from producer Jack Warner, and threats of severance of the contract with Warner Bros., he did not have many other options left.
SCREENINGS: Thursday, Aug 17, 6.30 pm, Lizabeth Scott Hall / Saturday, Aug 19, 12.15 pm, Lizabeth Scott Hall