Tag Archives: Humphrey Bogart

Bogart’s The Caine Mutiny

Bogart_CAinePosterHumphrey Bogart made three very different types of movies in 1954. The second, Sabrina, was a light-hearted romantic comedy, while the third, The Barefoot Contessa, was a ponderous, garish melodrama. The first film he made that year was a big budget, gripping drama, which netted him his third Oscar nomination (he lost out to Marlon Brando). Lieutenant Commander Philip Francis Queeg found himself on the wrong side of The Caine Mutiny.

As usual, Bogart was battling with Jack Warner, head of Warner Brothers, over roles. Fresh off the mess that was Beat the Devil, Bogie wanted to star in the adaptation of Herman Wouk’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. He won, which put him to work for Columbia Pictures, not Warners.

Bogart_CaineTableBogart really wanted the part and Columbia President Harry Cohn actually low-balled his offer, which Bogie accepted, though he was seething inside. The movie was produced by Edward Dmtryk, one of the infamous ‘Hollywood Ten,’ who served jail time before naming names. Initially, Dmtryk wasn’t allowed onto a naval base or ship because of his record and the US Navy had to be convinced to change its stance towards him.

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I (We) Got Nominated…

REHFoundationAwrdLast March, I did a post on Robert E. Howard’s hard-boiled private eye, Steve Harrison, for ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ over at BlackGate.com. I’m a big Howard fan, but I’m not qualified to write about too many aspects of his work. But I thought it would be neat to have others who were contribute to a series covering all kinds of different areas. Paul Bishop agreed to do a piece on Howard’s boxing stories and Discovering Robert E. Howard was born.

Some of the best and brightest names in the world of Robert E. Howard contributed, with the latest (and just about the last) appearing today. This post by Dr. Fred Ward on Almuric also has links to the previous posts in the series.

I am quite pleased to say that the series was nominated for The Black River – Special Achievement Award for the 2016 Robert E. Howard Foundation Awards. Now, I only wrote 3 of the 33 posts we tagged in the series at Black Gate. So, this isn’t a nomination for me. It’s a recognition of the great contributions from almost two dozen people, sharing their expertise on one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. The series was a treat to read and I’m pleased I helped put it together.

Black Gate was also nominated for the best website.

I thoroughly enjoyed Howard Andrew Jones and Bill Ward’s re-read of the Del Rey Conan books, which is nominated in the same category. I even voted for it myself (I’m a Foundation member). So if that wins, I don’t think it diminishes what we all accomplished with the series. Heck, the other nominee, Rob Roehm, was busy with his own great stuff and steered me to Bobby Derie, who contributed a fine piece.

There were a few more posts I wanted to include in the series that didn’t quite happen, so I have hopes of a mini Discovering Robert E. Howard follow-up later this year. As the great Inspector Clouseau said, “We shall see what we shall see.”



How George Raft Made Humphrey Bogart a Star

Last week, The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes looked at The Maltese Falcon: primarily focusing on Bogart’s 1941 classic film. Well, that gave me the opportunity to follow it up with one of my own favorite essays.

Raft_DriveWarner Brothers signed Raft in 1939 and Jack Warner expected him to be the company’s biggest star. Humphrey Bogart was a supporting actor who usually got gunned down by the hero and occasionally snagged the lead in a minor B picture. Through a series of just terrible casting decisions, George Raft completely torpedoed his career while turning Bogart into Bogie. Dead End, High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon – Raft was his own worst enemy.

If you’re a Bogart fan, you really should head on over to Black Gate and see the details: I couldn’t make this stuff up!


The Maltese Falcon

Bogart_FAlconHustonCastToday over at Black Gate, ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ has a post on one of my favorite books and movies, The Maltese Falcon. The main discussion is about Humphrey Bogart’s 1941 film version, which presaged the advent of film noir. But I talk about a lot of other stuff related to this great topic.

If you’ve never read the book, you’re missing out on the finest private eye novel yet written. And the third adaptation, written and directed by John Huston, is brilliant.

Next week, I’ll post about the string of bad choices George Raft made that helped launch ‘Bogie.’



TBT – How George Raft Made Humphrey Bogart a Star

I’m a HUGE Bogie fan. I really enjoyed writing this essay several years ago. I mean, you couldn’t make this stuff up!

OK, I’ll admit that the title is a bit of an over-simplification. However, in the annals of Hollywood, never has one actor so torpedoed his own career, while making another actor a star at the same time. Let’s take a

Bogart_RaftGeorge Raft grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, where he was a childhood friend of Owney Madden, who would become a powerful mobster in the days of Prohibition. Raft toyed with being a boxer and then taught himself to dance, hitting it big in Vaudeville in the early twenties. At the same time, he hung out with professional gangsters, gaining access through his friendship with Downey. He studied how they walked and talked, and mastered the art of imitating their mannerisms.

After appearing in a few films as a dancer, he broke through in 1932. Long before Rod Steiger and Al Pacino played Capone roles, Paul Muni made a classic gangster film: Scarface – Shame of a Nation. Raft had a part as Rinaldo, a coin-flipping gunman. He played a great gangster because he had many real life friends to emulate and he received strong reviews.

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The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes – The Science Fictional Humphrey Bogart

Bogart_ReturnPoster2Swing over to Black Gate for my latest Monday installment. I look at not one of the better films from my favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Here’s a preview…

Into the nineteen fifties, Hollywood operated under the studio system. A few major movie studios owned both the production and distribution channels and dominated the industry.

They cranked out “B” pictures to provide product to support the “A” films and keep the theaters they owned filled.

Actors, especially non-stars, made several films a year, either appearing higher in the credits on B films or as supporting actors in A movies. Those actors had very little power in the system as well.

In 1936, Humphrey Bogart (who had already twice failed to stick in Hollywood) received his first critical acclaim for The Petrified Forest, in which he recreated his Broadway role as gangster Duke Mantee.

He would really strike it big in 1941 with first, High Sierra, and then The Maltese Falcon  (if you haven’t seen this one,  rent it tonight and then leave an apology comment on this post for waiting so long). In the five years between Forest and Sierra he appeared in twenty-nine films: most not as the star.

Bogart famously said, “I made more lousy pictures than any actor in history.” This was because Warner Brothers tossed him into every low budget B movie they could.

Sometimes it was so bad that he refused the part, which then got him suspended without pay. That’s why you see Dennis Morgan and not Bogie in the awful western, Bad Men of Missouri (with Wayne Morris starring – see below).

Bogie, in a career with over eighty credits and possibly the greatest star in film history, made only one horror/science fiction movie. And he considered it one of his worst. He’s got a point.


His sixth film in 1939 was The Return of Doctor X. It had nothing to do with 1932’s risqué Doctor X: Warner Brothers was just trying to cash in on the earlier movie.