Across the Pacific (1942)

Across the Pacific (1942), directed by John Huston

Just before WW2, Humphrey Bogart is a disgraced Army artillery captain off to be a soldier of fortune. Maybe he can sell secrets to Japanese sympathizer Sydney Greenstreet? Mysterious fellow ship passenger Mary Astor: what's her game, and where will she land when all the deceptions are revealed?

A The Maltese Falcon (1941) reunion with the director and three big stars. Not as deft as Huston's other work with Bogart. The final action segment was directed by Vincent Sherman, doing as well as he could: Huston took the script with him when he joined the Army Signal Corps. It plays like Warner wartime entertainment, although in the last scene Mary Astor is strangely unconcerned that her father was just murdered.

Bogart doesn't look quite right in uniform. We're relieved when he dons trenchcoat and fedora. He was "Rick" twice in one year.

Despite the title they never get to the Pacific. This was originally about a plot to bomb Pearl Harbor, but when that actually happened they changed the target to the Panama Canal, which was plausible.

The Japanese are definitely the enemy here but the race angle is not hit as hard as it will be later in the war. Several Asian-American actors would have long careers: Richard Loo, and Keye Luke and Philip Ahn, both of who would star in the original Kung Fu TV series.

Available on DVD.