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Entries in Humphrey Bogart (9)


Beauty vs Beast: Thoroughly Modern Mistress

Happy Monday, everybody -- Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" poll here for you to ponder. I've been trying to use older films for this series lately since it's more likely you'll participate if you've, you know, seen the movie at hand, but this week it just couldn't be helped; we have to go current. Not only is it director Noah Baumbach's birthday later this week (he's turning 46 on Thursday) but just yesterday Nathaniel admitted (MUCH TO MY HORROR) that he didn't much like Baumbach's new film Mistress America. What what what? I... disagree. (Here's the review I wrote.) While I can't say MA kicked my beloved Frances Ha to the curb or anything quite that psychotic (it would take a miracle or a nuke to come close) I reveled in Mistress' heady mix of madcap silliness and sadness - nothing's made me feel quite so simultaneously goofy and gallant in some time. What a script; what a sharp-edged choreography of words and full-screen wiliness. Anyway hopefully you have seen it by now, and can judge this week's contest for yourselves...

PREVIOUSLY Yesterday the 1954 Supporting Actress Smackdown put that year to bed for this month at TFE, but wait, one last thing -- who successfully won Sabrina, says y'all? It was a shockingly close battle between the brothers, but in the end William Holden's, well, William-Holden-ness, beat out Bogie. Said Leslie19:

"All William Holden, all the time. Who else can sit down on champagne glasses with such aplomb?"


Beauty vs Beast: Audrey in the Middle

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" -- you're probably vividly aware at this point that this month's Supporting Actress Smackdown is tackling the ladies of 1954, especially since just the other day the Smackdowners listed some of their favorite things about that year. And what a year it was! I was pretty tempted to give this week's contest over to my favorite movie of all-time Rear Window (it's in a lifelong dead heat with Rosemary's Baby for that mantle, actually) but... well that's awfully expected of me. How many of these posts have I already dedicated to Hitchcock movies?

So I looked a smidge deeper and found a perfectly pleasant second pick -- after all, who wouldn't want to put themselves in Audrey Hepburn's designer shoes for a moment? Sabrina it is! Make like you're Billy Wilder's leading lady and choose -- Bogart's puppy-eyed businessman or Holden's suave playboy?

PREVIOUSLY Last week we brought it on with the rival cheerleading squads of Bring It On -- but who brought it bigger in the end? In a reversal of the movie's well-reason donouement we've handed our trophy to the loveable cheaters the Rancho Carne Toros! The curse of the dropped spirit stick is broken! Said Jonn:

"Team Jesse Bradford brushing his teeth isn't an option?!"


The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

We're looking back into 1948 ahead of this weekend's Smackdown. A world away from all of those women, though, John Huston was making one of cinema's most famous films about men. Here's David...

It was evident from the gilded treachery on display in The Maltese Falcon that John Huston was a filmmaker fully aware and largely in thrall to the darker side of human nature. World War II changed him, as it did millions of American men. An adaptation of B. Traven’s 1927 novel, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was the first feature Huston made following his time making war documentaries for the U.S. government, and while its setting and subject are quite estranged from the war – three men mining for gold in 1925 Mexico – it betrays the even grittier experiences Huston had witnessed abroad. If the film is about greed, as has long been celebrated, it just as much about the deep insecurities of masculinity.


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1973 Look Back: Robert Altman's "The Long Goodbye"

We're giving 1973 some context as we approach the Smackdown. Here's Matthew Eng on an Altman film.

There’s an unmistakable sense of nostalgia that permeates Robert Altman’s seldom-seen 1973 neo-noir The Long Goodbye, an air of reminiscence highlighted by the film’s title track, a nifty, pliable, lovelorn little number composed by John Williams and Johnny Mercer that gets incorporated endlessly throughout the movie, evoking sporadic familiarity, even though we rarely hear the same version twice. It transforms itself, from scene-to-scene, into a flimsy piece of supermarket Muzak, an ivory-tickled barroom ditty, even a castanet-laden flamenco. It’s a caressing torch ballad one moment and a marching band’s funeral hymn the next. The song, in all its reimagined incarnations, continually threatens to embed itself into the viewer’s mind, but just as quickly eludes any tighter hold. It’s as though the film, in its own increasingly weary, tumbledown sort of way, is nostalgic for the tune, longing for something that comes back but is never the same.

It’s telling of Altman’s intentions that the film forsakes any other discernible music apart from this titular track, save for the classic, semi-satiric “Hooray for Hollywood,” which opens and closes the film. The Long Goodbye may be based on an eponymous Raymond Chandler novel, centered around a character made legendary by Bogart, and hitched to an entire history of early noir filmmaking, but it is not a mere, Body Heat­-like retread. And although there may be obvious admiration and even some slight affection for the genre in all of its former, mannered glory, it’s certainly not a love letter.

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A Year with Kate: The African Queen (1951)

Episode 27 of 52: In which Kate goes to Africa with Bogart, Bacall, and Huston, and almost loses her mind. 

When Katharine Hepburn decides to make a change in her career, she does not screw around. Kate’s first film of the 1950s (after a year off doing Shakespeare) was directed by John Huston, was shot in Technicolor by Jack Cardiff on location in Africa, and costarred Humphrey Bogart. When it opened in 1951, The African Queen was a hit, and eventually scored four Academy Award nominations (only Bogie won).

The story of making The African Queen is as incredible as the film itself. Everyone involved almost died at least once. Kate wrote a book on it (add author to her list of accomplishments), and it’s a fantastic read. Relevant to our interests is the fact that Kate got dysentery and dropped 20 pounds, making her already willowy frame even skinnier, a fact that would not be readily guessed from the promotional art:

"One of these things is not like the other..."

Bogie’s got biceps! Kate’s got curves! What the hell? This has got to be my favorite example of misleading poster art, and not just because Kate looks hilariously like Rita Hayworth. This poster displays the conflicting image shift that happened for Kate in the early 1950s. The African Queen is the film that launched the spinster phase of Kate’s career. But though romantic glamor was a thing of the past image-wise, romance--specifically sex--would become even more important. 

One sentence plot summary: A theologian thrillseeker and a half-cocked Canadian captain run a rustbucket boat down a river in the Congo to bomb the German navy in WWI. Sex and danger after the jump.

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Seasons of Bette: Dark Victory (1939)

Seasons of Bette had a headache last week but is feeling much better now, thank you. Herewith, your catch-up episode on Dark Victory (1939)

it was the ghastliest feeling, everything went fuzzy. 

Fallen out of order, have I. That's awfully dreadful of me given that the great revelation of both Anne Marie's brilliant A Year With Kate and my own intermittent Seasons of Bette series is that you can actually watch a movie star grow in power and nuance and embrace of their own specificity if you watch their films chronologically.

This is true, at least, of the studio system where stars were invested in for the long haul rather than dabbled with for a few months at a time if agents, lawyers, producer, directors and stars could agree on a one-time contract. The old system had its drawbacks of course, giving thespians less agency in their own filmography and less ability to test their range in different genres and with left turn character types. Despite that, and even because of it, it was uniquely ideal soil for the true movie stars to grow like majestic redwoods. You know the kind of superstar I'm talking about: they are emphatically always themselves no matter how well they play any particular character. [more...]

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Cinema's Greatest On-Screen and Off-Screen Couples

Here's abstew with a Valentine special!

In the dark of the movie theatre is where we fall in love. Romantic films have influenced our lives and how we love since the dawn of cinema. And as we watch–perhaps on a first date–the actors fall in love on the silver screen, we swoon. More often than not, if you believe location rumors, that passion on-screen finds its way into the real-life relationships of the actors involved. In honor of Valentine's Day, let's celebrate those cinematic couples who's love burned bright on and off the big-screen.

Here are five of Hollywood's most iconic lovers...

Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh

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