Humphrey Bogart

One of the great icons of the screen, Humphrey Bogart, sadly died of cancer of the esophagus this day in 1957 at the much to young age of 57.  Some of the classic films he starred in include CASABLANCA and THE AFRICAN QUEEN, as well as THE MALTESE FALCON, KEY LARGO, and of course THE BIG SLEEP.  His screen presence is captivating.  Something about Bogie just draws one in with his self-deprecating, if not slightly melancholic, attitude.  I always loved what Roger Ebert wrote about Bogart, so I'll include this eloquant few paragraphs he wrote in an article about THE BIG SLEEP:

"Bogart himself made personal style into an art form. What else did he have? He wasn't particularly handsome, he wore a rug, he wasn't tall ("I try to be," he tells Vickers), and he always seemed to act within a certain range. Yet no other movie actor is more likely to be remembered a century from now. And the fascinating subtext in "The Big Sleep" is that in Bacall he found his match.

"You can see it in his eyes: Sure, he's in love, but there's something else, too. He was going through a messy breakup with his wife, Mayo, when they shot the picture. He was drinking so heavily he didn't turn up some days, and Hawks had to shoot around him. He saw this coltish 20-year-old not only as his love but perhaps as his salvation. That's the undercurrent. It may not have been fun to live through, but it creates a kind of joyous, desperate tension on the screen. And since the whole idea of film noir was to live through unspeakable experiences and keep your cool, this was the right screenplay for this time in his life."

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