Showing posts with label Lauren Bacall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lauren Bacall. Show all posts

Friday, September 12, 2014

Stars & Their Hobbies ~ Lauren Bacall

Everyone agrees that Lauren Bacall collected beer steins. Except for Lauren Bacall.

When Bacall passed away passed away last month at the age of 89, several online obituaries claimed that Bacall's only hobby was collecting beer mugs/steins.

I did some research on this and came across an interview with Lauren Bacall by Rebecca Winters of Time magazine. Here is there exchange:

Winters: Your fan websites say you collect beer mugs.

Bacall: That I collect what? Absolutely untrue. Your not serious! I don't drink beer. I've been accused of a lot of things but that's a new one.

I think this rumor started on the internet when people saw these photos of Lauren Bacall at home with Humphrey Bogart. You can see beer steins on display behind them.

My series Stars & Their Hobbies explores how notable actors and actresses from Hollywood history spent their free time. Click here to view a complete list of entries.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

God Speed Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)

When I heard the news about Lauren Bacall's death, I didn't want to believe it. One of the things I always admired about Bacall was her resiliency. Surely she could survive death rumors! Alas, it was then confirmed by the Bogart estate that Bacall passed away yesterday.

Lauren Bacall was absolutely stunning. She was a talented actress who was as effective at being sultry as she was being serious or silly. She had wonderful range and I admire her for embracing old age when many other actresses were terrified of it.

Her love affair and marriage to Humphrey Bogart is the greatest love story to come out of Hollywood. When you hear "Bogie and Bacall" you immediately think of a relationship of passion, devotion and mutual respect. I'm sure it wasn't a perfect marriage but they were perfect for each other.

I even honored Bogie and Bacall at my own wedding. Table number four was dedicated to them and featured a framed photo of them on their wedding day.

Check out this video clip from 1954. Edward R. Murrow gets a virtual tour of the Bogart home by Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. Little Stephen and Leslie Bogart also make an appearance! It's a charming little tribute to their family.

If you want to pay your respects to the Bogart family, consider leaving a message on Twitter, include @BogartEstate in your tweet, or on Facebook on the estate's official page.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Young Man With a Horn (1950)


Young Man With a Horn (1950) airs on TCM Friday August 30th at 8AM EST for the Kirk Douglas Summer Under the Stars day and it's not a film to be missed. This post is my second contribution to this year's Summer Under the Stars Blogathon hosted by Jill and Michael.

The story is based on the novel Young Man With a Horn by Dorothy Baker. The books is considered to be the first jazz novel and is loosely based on real life jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke but is really in essence a work of fiction. I plan to review the novel for my 2013 Summer Reading Classic Film Challenge so stay tuned for that!

The film follows the life story of Rick Martin (Kirk Douglas), a jazz trumpeter, from beginning to end. We first see Rick as a young boy. He's parentless and being raised by his sister. He discovers music, jazz in particular, purely by accident and is instantly enamored. Rick watches jazz musicians turn out tunes and dreams of owning the trumpet he sees in a local pawn shop. He's a white kid amongst a lot of African-American jazz musicians including Art Hazzard (Juano Hernandez), who would become his life-long friend. The years pass and Rick fine tunes his skills and becomes a professional jazz musician.

Rick meets Jo Jordan (Doris Day), the girl he should be with, and Amy North (Lauren Bacall), the girl he wants to be with. Jo is a singer who befriends Rick and tries to help him out during his many low points. However, Rick has his eye on Amy, a sophisticated and glamorous socialite who is enamored with Rick. She's talentless and is intrigued by Rick's wealth of talent. She goes to school and parties to fill the hours of her days because she's terribly bored. Rick and Amy marry but it's a turbulent marriage that sends Rick on a downward spiral.

Young Man With a Horn is a wonderful film. When reading the novel, I discovered that while the film doesn't stay very true to the original story, it focuses more on Rick's romantic life and downward spiral, it still stands well on its own. The film was released 63 years ago and is notable because, as of today, all three main stars are still alive: Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall and Doris Day. It deals with issues of race, love and alcoholism. Kirk Douglas is really good at playing characters who are intense and passionate and the character of Rick Martin is no exception. Doris Day has an opportunity to sing as well as to play the good girl character she's become known for in the years that followed. Lauren Bacall is really enticing as the femme fatale whose siren call is Rick's downfall. Lesbianism is hinted at in the story when Amy North brings home a female companion for what looks like a romantic rendezvous. Author Dorothy Baker didn't include this in the novel but was interested in homosexual characters and they appear in several of her novels. We talk a lot more openly today about homosexuality so for modern audiences this doesn't mean much but probably did mean a lot in 1950.

I've seen this film several times and feel a sort of bond with it. I watched the film early on when I started to develop an interest in classic movies and it has stuck with me ever since. Each time I watch it I get something new out of it.

TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Kirk Douglas DVDSo get up early or set your DVR for Young Man With a Horn (1950)! If you do miss it, it's available to rent from ClassicFlix and Netflix and you can purchase it as part of the TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Kirk Douglas DVD Set or the Doris Day Collection Volume 1. It used to be available as a stand-alone DVD but has since gone out of print.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Key Largo (1948)

Key Largo (1948) is a fine film indeed because of it's acute attention to detail. It's character and plot development are straight on. We learn so much from so little. Let's take a look at some details that really stand out:
  • Dual storms - There is a hurricane outside and an equally dangerous storm brewing inside the hotel. This duality increases the tension and makes for great suspense.
  • Ridiculous Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) - He's in the midst of unforgiving tropical heat, spends his days in a tub of cold water with a fan oscillating next to him. Yet he'll still don a full-on robe complete with pocket square, scarf and lit up cigar even though it's the most ridiculous ensemble to wear in such heat. He also refuses to bring in his boat during the hurricane and eventually loses it. To top it all off he brings his drunk girlfriend Gaye (Claire Trevor) who foils his plans every which way she can. For such a smart conniving gangster, Rocco becomes a complete idiot in Key Largo and that says something about his future.
  • Conflicted Frank McCloud (Bogie) - He survived WWII through his cowardice. He doesn't know whether he's coming or going or whether he should be brave and take action or whether he should just let things happen as they will. You can see the conflict in his eyes. The desire to be a better person but the debilitating fear that grips him.
  • Native Americans - Perhaps this is a John Huston touch. The camera focuses at one point on a group of Native Americans and Nora Temple (Lauren Bacall) spends a considerable amount of screen time introducing us to a 100+ year old woman. The camera adores her wrinkled constitution focusing on it so closely that her face takes up the whole screen. It humanizes the story in many ways.
  • Lionel Barrymore in a wheelchair - How can this not tug on your heartstrings? If you are familiar with Barrymore's earlier work, you'll understand that it's difficult to watch him in this state towards the end of his career. It's not just the character in the wheelchair it's the actor too.
  • Lush versus Widow - Juxtaposition of two opposing female characters adds a lot to the story. It makes us understand each of the two characters and their interactions with both Rocco and McCloud help us understand those male characters too.
  • Uncomfortable - Those goons at the beginning of the picture made me terribly uncomfortable. They made the other characters uncomfortable too. The way they spoke, their restlessness and their short fuses made me scared of what was to come. It was tension before the real tension even started.
You can see this film in many ways. As a Bogie film. As a Bogie-Bacall film. As a Bogie-Robinson film. Or even as a Bogie-Trevor film. But what anchors the film is Bogie himself. He's what all the plot points depend on even when he seems to be lurking in the background. In the end, this is really a Bogie film.

Popular Posts

 Twitter   Instagram   Facebook