Humphrey Bogart is my kinda guy.
First of all, he was a fellow Episcopalian which I didn’t know until about 20 seconds ago but it doesn’t surprise me. No one can have THAT much style and THAT damaged a liver and NOT be a member of the Anglican Communion.
Secondly, he liked strong, straight-talking women which isn’t really a surprise either, since his illustrator mother was a committed suffragist and the main breadwinner in his family.
So we all know he and the much-younger (and dead fabulous) Lauren Bacall after they fell in love on the set of “To Have and Have Not” in 1944, BUT did you know Our Lady of the Scotch Soaked Voice was nineteen, NINETEEN, when she taught Bogie how to blow in To Have and Have Not in 1944?
(btw, do we know who “discovered” Lauren Bacall? Louise Dahl-Wolfe and my very own heroine, Diana Vreeland)
Which isn’t to say Bogie wasn’t occasionally swayed by body parts other than a sharp tongue:
My favorite Bogart movie is, by far, The Big Sleep.
It has all the darkness of The Maltese Falcon (my second favorite Bogie picture, also directed by John Huston) plus better roles for women. Of course it probably comes down to whether you’re a Raymond Chandler or a Dashiell Hammett kinda girl (I am the former, even though I adore The Thin Man like all right-thinking people do).
So cool. Don’t smoke, but if you HAVE to smoke, smoke like this.
And do we even have to talk about how he wore a trenchcoat better than anyone else on earth, with the possible exception of Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year?
No friends, we do not.
Of course his most famous film is Casablanca, often considered THE great film of Hollywood’s golden age, if you haven’t seen it, you must. In fact you really need to see all the flicks mentioned here. Casablanca‘s not my favorite film. My grandmother looks too much like Ingrid Bergman so I’m always waiting for Ilsa to turn to the camera, tell me to sit up straight, lose weight and enumerate the ways I disappoint her.
This is about the only time I find a shawl collar on a dinner jacket even remotely palatable. I know there’s nothing wrong with them per se, but I like a peaked lapel. Somehow on Bogie it just works.
One of his last great films, and the one for which he won his only Oscar, was The African Queen. Filmed in 1952 and one of his only color pictures, he and Hepburn The Greater made one of the great odd couples in cinematic history. You’d think since I’m a church-going woman I’d identify more with The Hep’s straightlaced missionary, but there’s just something about Bogie that strikes a familiar chord.
Maybe it’s the hat.