R.I.’s State House in noir

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Still shot from opening scene of the 1941 film High Sierra. (Warner Bros.)

Imagine my surprise at seeing, last night, the Rhode Island State House in the opening scene of High Sierra,  the 1941 film in which Humphrey Bogart is pardoned. He shortly after plans a heist in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Rhode Island’s star turn lasts but seconds, cast in noir as befits the film. The very next shot depicts some other “state capitol” entrance in high classical style, then the “Office of the Governor” and then the pardon being signed from over the governor’s shoulder. In 1938, the year the film takes place, that governor of Rhode Island would have been Robert E. Quinn, the two-term successor to Theodore Francis Green, hero of the “Bloodless Revolution” (the capture of the state by Democrats after decades of Republican rule). But in fact an actor plays the governor of Illinois, not Rhode Island. Bogart leaves “Mossmoor Prison,” in Chicago. Bogart got second billing to Ida Lupino.

I always rejoice when I happen upon a Bogart film that I’ve never seen. High Sierra opened with a cherry on top. Here is that cherry:

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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1 Response to R.I.’s State House in noir

  1. Bob G says:

    Wow, I love Bogie and that movie, but didn’t know of the RI State House cameo, thanks for posting


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