Dear Humphrey Bogart,

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Amid the flowers of June weddings and Father’s Day tomorrow, I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate your influence. During the classic era of Hollywood surrounded by the tall, dark, and handsome actors like Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart, despite your diminutive size and homely name and features, your magical charisma made women desire you and men want to be like you. You defined for generations the concept of the Man’s Man.

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Director John Huston sure loved you as his leading man. When you starred and he directed, the film became an instant classic.

images (1948) images (1941)

the african queen poster  images (1948)

Beat_the_Devil (1953) across-the-pacific-movie-poster-1942-1020437299(1942)

Ouch! Look at that Post-Pearl Harbor paranoia in the poster.

Speaking of directors, you made Michael Curtiz famous with these winners:

images (1942)

Thank you, by the way, for starring in Casablanca. Your tough guy exterior and soft interior made you perfect on the screen. It is still THE best movie ever. Here’s more films directed by Michael Curtiz.

images (1938)MOV_8175f442_b (1944)  images (1937)

I liked your no-nonsense approach to life. These are some of your sayings that make me smile:

“I don’t approve of the John Waynes and the Gary Coopers saying ‘Shucks, I ain’t no actor — I’m just a bridge builder or a gas station attendant.’ If they aren’t actors, what the hell are they getting paid for? I have respect for my profession. I worked hard at it.”

“I came out here with one suit and everybody said I looked like a bum. Twenty years later Marlon Brando came out with only a sweatshirt and the town drooled over him. That shows how much Hollywood has progressed.”

“I made more lousy pictures than any actor in history.”

“The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.”

“Acting is like sex: you either do it and don`t talk about it, or you talk about it and don`t do it. That`s why I`m always suspicious of people who talk too much about either.”

“A hotdog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz.”

With over fifty films to your credit, it was a shame you died of throat cancer at the age of 57. Your leading lady adored you. While the twenty-six year age difference seemed awkward, your devotion to each other made you Hollywood’s greatest couple. There’s only one Bogie and Bacall.

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I’ve included a video highlighting Lauren Bacall’s WIN life-time achievement award with clips of your famous roles. Your adult children give a peek of your amazing wife and your fame together.

Lauren Bacall is now in her 80s and forever beautiful. I was moved to tears when she won the 2009 Academy Honorary Award. She had been nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 1996 for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces, but lost to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient.

Thanks, Bogie and Bacall, for being the class act immortalized. Hollywood has always put out crappy movies and been the center for torrid affairs and ludicrous lives of the rich and famous, but you two symbolize the best of Hollywood, bringing integrity to characters who do the right thing and make the tough choices in the end. The direction by Huston and Curtiz remind me that films can be art forms which add beauty to my day and influence my life.

Sincerely,

Your Favorite Fan

28 thoughts on “Dear Humphrey Bogart,

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    1. Thanks! I rewatched Key Largo the other night. I loved camera angles, especially ones with mirrors that show Bogart’s face (bus rearview mirror and the dresser). I liked how the b/w accentuates the beads of sweat on their foreheads. And the GREAT acting job by Claire Trevor! What Bogart film is your favorite?

      1. It’s got to be CASABLANCA. Great one in KEY LARGO, Cindy. Surprisingly, his work with my favorite Hepburn (Audrey), toward the end of his career, is something I still cherish with SABRINA.

          1. I have trouble with the remakes of Audrey’s films. I know one of my blogging colleagues, Ruth of Flixchatter, really loves the Ford and Ormand redux. Perhaps, with you two pushing it, I should give it another chance. But the less said about ‘The Truth About Charlie’, the remake of ‘Charade’, the better ;-).

  1. Beautiful tribute Cindy. As you mentioned I am huge Bogart fan. I’ve read three of his biographies and he was such a fascinating individual. I’ve seen every movie that you featured a poster of. And I love his comment about making so many “bad pictures”. Even in those I still love watching him.

    Anyway thanks for the great write up. It was so fun to read.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Keith. I could have talked for hours. I loved the Becall awards tribute. She was always in the shadows next to his greatness, but she ended up with respect and I loved her in The Mirror Has Two Faces. Glad you stopped by!

  2. Lovely tribute to a great actor, one I never tire of watching.

    I’m slowly working my way through Bogart’s filmography, although with 84 films in his oeuvre I’ve no idea how long it will take, or if it’ll even be possible to watch them all.
    My favourite Bogart film so far is The Maltese Falcon closely followed by To Have and Have Not.
    I’ll probably watch Casablanca next and I’m particularly interested in seeing his only western,The Oklahoma Kid, after it was so memorably referenced by De Niro and Pesci in Goodfellas.

    Have a great week.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for your comments! I just watched the Maltese Falcon the other night and was struck by the pace of the plot action. The cast was awesome–especially The Fat Man and Peter Lorre was perfect. Even better for me was Key Largo and African Queen. Sierre Madre is a great one, too–well, heck, they all are! I like the fact Bogie thinks he made a lot of crappy movies and yet, so many are timeless and classic.
      Thank you for stopping by!

      1. We’re on the same wavelength because I’ve often thought the same.
        I actually think Michelle was born too late, she would have made a perfect femme fatale in the film noir of Hollywood’s classic era.

  3. Awesome post, Cindy!! I’m not as familiar w/ Bogart as you do but I like him in Casablanca, perhaps his best role ever. I was however, enraptured by Gregory Peck, I even had a GP marathon last year 😉 That said, I’m still gonna check out more of Bogie & Bacall’s movies. It’s interesting that the couple was great personal friends of Mr. Peck, too.

    1. I love Peck, too. One of my favorite Hitchcock films is Spellbound. He was amazing. Of course, he’s the perfect man for To Kill a Mockingbird and Roman Holiday. Sigh. A true tall, dark, and handsome.:)

      1. Yep, I guess I have a weakness for those types of men 😀 I even started a GP tumblr at one point, my hubby teased me how I could fall for a dead man, ahah.

  4. I hadn’t read one of those quotes before. now I want to read a biography on the man. Much more to him than I thought. And what can one say about Bacall–what a lady.

      1. Tell me about it. One book at a time, I guess, but I wish I could speed read. Alas, I’m a slow reader–well in my opinion. The better half says I’m fast. Of course the BH reads one book per year so not sure how accurate the opinion is.

  5. Hi, Cindy:

    Wow! Lots of love headed Mr. Bogart’s way!

    He didn’t possess the refined, handsome, leading man’s looks of that day and age. Nor was he particularly muscle bound, tall or eloquent . He tugged at his right earlobe contemplatively before throwing down million dollar lines. Long or short. It didn’t matter. Yet it always worked.

    Though he did have a knack for portraying urban, sometimes crooked Middle America. Could speak full blown soliloquies with a cigarette in the corner of his mouth in ways hundreds of later French New Wave Actors would have killed for. He handled firearms with a respectful familiarity and looked like he knew how to use them. And on rare occasions, lose himself and bare his soul in many memorable characters.

    He was a guy! What you saw is what you got. No frills or polished sheen. Owning moments of, or the entire film. I still think he best work is the few moments before meeting Dorothy Malone inside the Acme Book store in ‘The Big Sleep’.

    Slowly spiraling into paranoid Hell as Fred C. Dobbs in ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’ Portraying Sgt. Joe Gunn in ‘Sahara’. And as Commander Queeg during his ball bearing enhanced testimony in ‘The Caine Mutiny’.

    1. I like your tribute better than mine 🙂 Say, Jack, I saw you were stationed all over the world. I’m a Navy Vet and was wondering about your affiliation with the military? Inquisitive, not nosy!

      1. Hi, Cindy:

        Thanks very much for the compliment!

        Active Air Force from late 1972 to mid-1976. Engine Maintenance all the way. First in TAC (Tactical Air Command). Then in Military Airlift Command. AF Reserves from 1976 to mid 2009 and mandatory retirement at age 55.

        C-130s mostly. My first and longest love. Then C-141s for about a decade. Have no use for an aircraft whose engine cowlings weigh more than I do! Finally KC-135s. Been all over the world. And even a few places we we’re officially supposed to be.

        What was cool about Bogart was his ability to be ordinary. Faults and all.

        1. Sweet! My daughter and her husband just completed time on the USS Stennis in the aviation section of the ship. What a great background, Jack. I was only in for four years. Got out to stay home with my kids. My husband and I were Radioman. I finished as E4. Well!
          Yes, Bogart seemed to have that stoic expression and the clipped delivery; but you can see his eyes soften, his forehead wringles relax, and there was variety of emotion. I liked the fact he was ordinary, even though he came from wealthy family. He was something else. As always, glad for your comments.

  6. Great post Cindy, I really dug those quotes. I actually have not seen a few of those films you featured posters of. Looks like I have some more watching to do. Damn 26 years age difference, my wife being 7 years my junior doesn’t seem like a big deal compared to that.

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