Friday, July 29, 2011

Bogart Still Center Stage As American Screen Idol

I talk about film here for the most part, but I would be shirking my duty as a reporter if I didn't mention a book that I finished reading some time ago that deserves to be noted in this forum. It's Stefan Kanfer's biography of Humphrey Bogart, "Tough Without A Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart." A side note: I didn't even receive a review copy of it. I paid full price. I'm just saying ...
The author traces Bogie's life as a child of privilege growing up in a wealthy Manhattan family that later fell into economic hard times, and his ascent from New York theater to an extraordinary career that saw his trajectory shift from character actor to Hollywood leading man.
The title comes from Raymond Chandler's comment upon learning that Bogart was to play Philip Marlowe in the screen adaptation of Chandler's novel, "The Big Sleep." Chandler said he approved of the casting choice because Bogart is "tough without a gun."The book is a clear, balanced history of one of the country's truly great actors. It also looks at how Bogart's reputation diminished sometime after his death, until the next generation again discovered his movies. He's remained an America film icon ever since. For Bogart fans and anyone else interested in film it's a very good read.

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