The Monday Hotness: You Know How To Whistle, Doncha?

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:

Busted, Bogie.

(busted)

My favorite Bogart movie is, by far, The Big Sleep.

Bogart tied up

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).

bogart falcon

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?

humphrey-bogart-maltese-falcon

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.

Bogart casablanca

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.

bogart's gin

Maybe it’s the hat.

9 Responses to “The Monday Hotness: You Know How To Whistle, Doncha?”

  1. Geogrrl March 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    Oh, yeah. Bogey. I’ve had a semi-crush on him for years.

    What I thought was interesting was that many of the stories that filtered out over the years all said what an a-hole he was.

    Then I read Raymond Massey’s autobiography. Perhaps it says more about him than it does about Humphrey Bogart, but Raymond Massey basically said he didn’t understand why other people didn’t get along with Humphrey Bogart. The two of them got along great and were friends on and off the set until Bogart died.

    My husband said it’s because Bogart would have respected Massey, his reputation as a stage actor, and his professionalism, as Bogart didn’t suffer fools gladly.

    I don’t recall the exact quote, but when Bogart was asked how he had liked working with Audrey Hepburn on “Sabrina”, his reply was something like, “Fine. If you don’t mind doing ten takes of each scene.” Audrey Hepburn was evidently famous for not memorizing or forgetting her lines.

  2. Plumcake March 15, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    He really didn’t like working with the director Billy Wilder, he thought the Sabrina script was bad (it wasn’t finished when he agreed to do the picture) and was really unhappy on the set. Plus he was the second choice from the beginning. Wilder originally wanted Cary Grant.

  3. jojo.k March 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    She was 19? That’s an awful lot of chutzpah for 19. And that voice.
    19 doesn’t seem to go with that voice either.

  4. Frances March 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    19?! Phwoar. Seriously: Phwoar.

  5. Toby Wollin March 15, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    Ah, The African Queen, which, IMHO, has one of the truly great lines in cinematic history: “Nature, Mr. Alnott, is what we are here to rise above.”
    The Victorian lady just drips off that.

  6. Jennifer March 15, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    My mother has always had a bit of a thing for Humphrey Bogart, which has resulted in me watching all of these movies over and over and over, ever since I was little. So thank you for this! I love him. And Lauren Bacall, who is exactly who I want to be when I grow up.

    The African Queen is finally available on DVD in the US, starting on the 23rd. About damn time, say I.

  7. Plumcake March 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    If any of you Bacall enthusiasts can locate her readings of Dorothy Parker’s “The Big Blonde” and “Horsie” buy it at any price.

  8. Evie March 15, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    Please tell me Lauren Bacall is this week’s Friday Fierceness…

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