Dark Passage (1947)


Original plot
Humphrey Bogart goes first-person point of view as he breaks out of San Quentin and hooks up with prisoner groupie Lauren Bacall. Lots of suspicious coppers all over San Francisco put the squeeze on Bogie’s newly reconstructed face meant to hide from the authorities, despite the fact his voice stays the same and he keeps hanging around everyone from his murder trial.

Big changes
The first-person stuff is gonna have to be scaled back. Like a lot. We’ll have a couple of shots. And we can’t have the main character obscured for half the movie, so the plastic surgery will have to come earlier. … … wait. thinking … plastic surgery? What if it’s a comedy? Oh, watch out now.

The Random Remake
Vincent Parry (George Clooney) breaks out of prison to prove he didn’t kill his wife, “The Fugitive”-style. He steals away in a 55-gallon drum out of San Quentin and rolls it out the back of a truck. First-person stuff as he shakily gets out of the drum. He sneaks into San Francisco holding a package of letters (montage to voice-over of a woman who’s been mailing him, saying she believe he’s innocent – oh wait, this is supposed to be funny. The letters have horrible misspellings and the voiceovers say the misspellings phonetically. That sound funny? Maybe you have to see it on the screen). He makes it to the apartment of Irene Jansen (Cameron Diaz, wearing a lopsided butt costume). She tells him everyone’s looking for him! He can’t hide! He’ll be found in an instant! “If only I could get another face” he says, trying to be funny. Wait, she says, she knows of a cheap plastic surgeon. He was disbarred because he gave someone wooden teeth and a powdered wig when she asked to look like Kerry Washington (that’s the joke). He did her butt (there’s a joke there).

The plastic surgeon works on Parry’s face and he’s completely changed (the actor’s changed, too, now he’s Simon Pegg! Constant jokes about Irene not liking him anymore. Cops don’t think he’s actually Parry because he’s goofy looking. Turns about Parry’s wife’s friend killed her because she was jealous and wanted Parry all to herself. She confesses now because she wants to be with Clooney-Parry, not Pegg-Parry.

(I’m sorry if you’re reading this, Simon Pegg. I’m casting you because you’re hilarious, not based on your looks – you’re handsome. We good?)

The pitch
Dark Passage: He’s changing faces, and breaking hearts

Next up: The Lady in the Lake (1947)