Bogart is an armed robber who gets out of prison with an unexplained pardon at the very beginning of the movie and immediately starts setting up another job, while being pulled between a good girl and a bad girl.
The good: there isn't any fake glamour around the gangsters in this movie, they're just pathetic criminals who live stupid, depressing lives, so that element feels fresh and authentic.
And of course Bogart is great in everything.
The bad: well, a number of things, but for one thing I don't think he clicks with either of the leading ladies. In particular the good girl is insufferable and this relationship is doomed to fail in ways that make it seem fake rather than inevitably tragic, and the scene where it finally does makes him seem weirdly square.
There are also some other elements that just don't work, like a dog that's supposed to be bad luck (although the dog itself, Bogart's dog in real life, is an appealing presence) and a cringy dumb-coon-stereotype (and Walsh has to take most of the blame for this unbearable performance). I also think the movie feels too talky.
This is the only one of these four movies that I expect other people here to have seen so I'm interested to hear other opinions on it.
Colorado Territory (rewatch) - Once you get past the meaningless title I think this western remake of High Sierra is better than the original in ever way, aside from the leading man, who is merely just as good.
Joel McCrea breaks out of prison (instead of getting pardoned for no reason) and gets sucked into trying to pull one last big robbery that he thinks will set him up with the money he needs to build a better life.
This is a sparser, more streamlined script, and Dorothy Malone and Virginia Mayo blow the girls from the last movie out of the water. And in particular, the "good girl" is a much more interesting character this time. I also think that in general the story works better as a Western, because in this setting the possibility that he'll actually be able to walk away and start a new life if everything goes off correctly feels more plausible.
The whole movie is more visually engaging. High Sierra had some good location shooting the mountains but it doesn't compare to what we see in this one, and this movie has a really terrific train heist sequence (although I doubt that you can pull the pins from a moving train like that). And the ending is memorably and quintessential Walshian.
I'd pick this as one of the best westerns of the 1940s.
Battle Cry - I thought this was a somewhat obscure one, but it was the 3rd highest grossing movie of 1955 after #2 Mister Roberts and #1...Cinerama Holiday? Okay, I guess being one of the biggest hits of 1955 doesn't mean that it's not obscure now. But it did beat out a bunch of movies people still remember.
This a war movie, with a large cast of the kinds of characters you expect in a Classic Hollwood WWII movie. But there's not alot of war in it, it's mostly about how the war breaks, makes, and fails to break the characters' various romantic relationships as they wait for their big chance to prove themselves as soldiers. We don't get to see any of the minor, mop-up combat they're assigned int he meantime, even when a main character is killed in one of these assignments, so all the action is in the last 20 minutes of this 2.5 hour movie.
I was wary walking into this one but it ended up being pretty good, albeit hokey in spots, and actresses in particular turn in some very good performances. But the big star was some truly outstanding early Cinemascope, accomplished without alot of the weird rippling effect or "Cinemascope mumps" you get in some movies from this period.
Walsh actually made a movie in this aspect ratio (or something close to it) in the early '30s, The Big Trail with John Wayne, but nobody wanted to invest in the technology to screen it and it went mostly unseen until (I think) the '80s. He never made anything else as spectacular looking as that one but of the movies I've seen this might be his best looking work in 'Scope.
There's probably not a huge audience for this anymore but I'm glad I checked it out.
The Naked and the Dead - If Battle Cry was a hit due, at least partially, to the fact that it was based on a book that was popular at the time then this one's reputation was probably poisoned by the fact that nobody thinks that it does the book (which I should read, but haven't yet) justice. Actually I don't think it's supposed to be very much like the book anyway, so maybe they should have called it something else and people would have liked it better.
In the WWII Pacific theater a general and sgt., who are both bad leaders and bad people for completely different reasons, but heads with an idealistic but inexperience lieutenant. The first half is a big movie with numerous sub-plots, and the second half is a behind-enemy-lines mission with a narrower focus.
Bernard Hermann's score is a major asset, although in the year of Vertigo and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad I'd give it third place (no shame in that).
Overall this is a pretty good '50s war movie that strikes a decent ideological balance that war movies would mostly stop aiming for by the late '60s. It probably helps that I haven't read the book.
Btw I think I recognize some stock footage from Battle Cry, but that's fine because it's just a few seconds and I only noticed it, if in fact I am actually right about that, because I watched them a day apart. A bigger issue is the use of real-life stock footage, which is the bane of old WWII movies.