High Sierra


The last heist ends as
you knew it would:
Roy Earle tumbling
from the high sierra.

His weeping woman;
his crying dog.

 But before that, love,
for which Palance
and Winters are
too pretty,
too well-fed;

even in CinemaScope
even in Warnercolor
love needs Bogart
and Lupino, their
small desperation,

 the sharp angularity
of his lived-in face, its
barely contained
loneliness, the terrible
hunger in her bright eyes

which he might have felt
as burden had love

 not got him shot
in the back calling
to her shot
through the heart
and tumbling
from the high sierra.

His weeping woman;
his crying dog.

Crashed out and free, the
happiest ending they
could hope for, after all —
to part believing

she could answer
his loneliness, and he,
her hunger.

bogart lupino


W.R. Burnett’s High Sierra inspired three movies, including the original 1941 adaptation starring Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino.  I Died a Thousand Times,  the 1955 CinemaScope Warnercolor production starring Jack Palance and Shelly Winters, is also worth watching. The 1949 Western Colorado Territory lacks the dog — and the depth — of the other two.  


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