Fall CMBA Blogathon – Outlaws…

the petrified forrest

source: Warner Bros.

When discussing notorious gangsters, one name usually comes to mind.

From his buzzcuts to his scars on face, Humphrey Bogart, the man with the famous lisp, was, for a time, the world’s most threatening man.

Before marrying Bacall, and flirting with Audrey Hepburn on camera, Bogart was Hollywood’s resident tough guys; cracking wise, smooching dames, the guy did it all.

The film that best portrays Bogart in this “tough guy” light is 1936’s The Petrified Forest.


Directed by Archie Mayo and co-starring a talented cast of Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, and Dick Foran, The Petrified Forest tells the story of a man, a wanderer, to say the least, the goes by the name of Alan Squier.

He’s a failed writer, a poet – a broken man. Couple that with his Great Depression woes, and that makes a perfect recipe for someone, specifically Alan, to go and bother a homely barkeep and his daughter.

petrified-forest 2

source: Warner Bros.

After getting fed and clothed, Gabrielle (Bette Davis) and Alan start to get on swimmingly.

It’s quite cute, actually. This homely, rather socially awkward (this hits too close to home,) young lady being absolutely enthralled with this mystery man’s presence is, frankly, one of the more underrated parts of this film.

So, the two of them get along very well, and everything appears to be going splendidly for them.

In walks Bogart and company.


Duke Mantee, a gangster, a cheat, an all-around bad guy walks into their bar with a gun in one hand and a point to prove.

After holding hostage a wealthy couple in order to evade police, Duke strolls into this bar looking his girlfriend that he was supposed to rendezvous with.

Duke is a pretty intimidating guy and is precisely the reason why he was picked for this blogathon.

When you initially view this film, especially when you’re used to the “cleaned up” Bogart, his appearance comes as a shock.

Dirtied, 5 O’Clock shadow, and stained clothes galore, this is Duke Mantee in his entire glory.

petrified forest 3

source: Warner Bros. 

What makes him so scary is his lack of control.

Duke has a very quick temper and any little thing (or person) that he perceives to mess up his plans will more or less be caught in his line of fire.

This kept me on edge throughout the entire film.

When he’s holding everyone captive inside that bar, you could feel the tension. One false move and, potentially, your life could be over. Just thinking about it again makes my skin crawl. What a wonderful performance that Bogart put on, absolutely outstanding.

Classic movie buffs could argue that this is the film that put Bogart on the map, and they’d be right.

This was Bogart‘s first major screen role, it essentially put Humphrey‘s acting abilities on the map, not only for the public eye but also in the offices of every major movie studio during that era.

If you haven’t had the chance to see this film, I strongly suggest you do so. You’ll not only enjoy performances from Bette Davis and Leslie Howard, but you will also be able to see Bogart at his career inception and, arguably,  in his very best role.

 

If you’d like to read more entries in this blogathon, click: here

 

 

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The Second Lauren Bacall Blogathon…

Lauren Bacall Applause

source: Lauren Bacall performing in Applause (1970)

Lauren Bacall.

A classic Hollywood legend, an icon, a woman of character, and one of the greatest actresses to ever live. Most people know her as Humphrey Bogart‘s wife, the “Slim” to his “Bogie,” but classic film fans know that Bacall had a rich, and wonderful career, even without the Bogart connection.

This is especially true, even after Bogart‘s death in 1957.


When Bogart and Bacall met, it was the stuff of legends. She was young, he was a mentor who turned into something more. Fast forward a couple of months and they start dating, fast forward even further and they’re getting married – much to the chagrin of Bogart‘s ex-wife, Mayo Methot.

A couple of years and two children later, the Bogart‘s relationship was progressing quite nicely.

The same can’t be same for Lauren‘s career, however.

Designing Woman 1

source: MGM

When Bogart died in 1957, it was as Bacall describes it, “the worst night of her life.”

Left alone with two kids and a dwindling (more or less) acting career, what was Lauren supposed to do? Well, throw herself into work, of course.

The first film Bacall did after the death of her husband was 1957’s Designing Woman, a nice romantic comedy co-starring Gregory Peck. Not to be confused with the tv series, Designing Women, the movie about two newlyweds from polar opposite worlds and their attempt to conform to each other’s quirks.

It’s a cute film, I recommend you check it out, actually. It gives you a look at post-Bogart Bacall in all of her glorious form.

The thing about Lauren was that her voice was so deep and velvety smooth that you worried about the number of cigarettes she smoked per day. Some may say she had a voice for the theatre…

Lauren Bacall Applause 3

Lauren in Applause (1970)

After a myriad of films that include The Gift of Love in 1958, North West Frontier in 1959, Bacall moved to the theatre in the 1960s and 70s.

Starting on Broadway with 1959’s Goodbye, Charlie and starring in plays like in Cactus Flower and, of course, Applause, Lauren slowly made the transition from screen to the stage.

Naturally, she would dabble in a few films as well with the highlight being Murder on the Orient Express, but the majority of her work was set on the stage.


In the end, Bacall would enjoy a successful career after her husband’s death.

I see too many people writing her off after his death and I think it’s fair, Bacall had such a solid career in the late 50s through the 70s. Even though we tend to equate Bacall with Bogart, Lauren had a brilliant career all on her own.

 

 

 

To read more entries, click here.

Anybody Got A Match?

to-have-and-have-not

You may be wondering why the title of this blog is grammatically incorrect. I probably would be asking myself the same question if I wasn’t a classic movie fan. For all you die hards out there you know exactly where this quote came from. And if you’re a classic Hollywood newbie, allow me to introduce you to this fantastic scene in Howard Hawks’ 1944 adventure-romance film, To Have and Have Not. The scene is so great, I decided to name this blog after it. Hope you enjoy!