Bogart: A Life in Hollywood

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3 thoughts on “Bogart: A Life in Hollywood

  1. 7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A “hard case” from childhood through death., January 24, 2001
    By 
    R. ARANT “Toun” (Lanesville, Indiana USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Bogart (Paperback)

    The uniquely direct style of Jeffrey Meyers is a most suitable tool for examining this uniquely blunt man. Some startling parallels exist in the lives of Bogart and Hemingway. Bogart’s bravery in facing a painful death is remarkably well-told and provides the most important insights into the man’s inner soul. Bogart would no doubt be pleased, amused and enraged at this in-depth treatment of his life and legacy.

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  2. 3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Bogart: A Life in Hollywood, April 25, 2002
    By A Customer
    This review is from: Bogart: A Life in Hollywood (Hardcover)

    A very well written biography of the legendary Humphrey Bogart? Sounds like a daunting task, but Meyers brings the man behind the myth to life, beautifully.Meyers draws from a vast array of factual material and accounts (with excellent footnotes chronicling what was said when, where and by whom), and sometimes even adds his own caustic wit into the mix (just as Bogie would have liked it!) but he always manages to stay objective and to the point. He avoids gossip, but does not shy away from exploring the very interesting personal facts and details about Bogie’s off-screen life–all of those things that bring the legend to life and portray him for the man that he was–very human–and rare. The book also features a great bibliography. A very informative and intelligently written biography that I know I will keep refering back to again and again through the years, as I catch up on all of his films, (which are also described–and explained here in great eye-opening detail on the studios at the time, directors actors…and the infamous Jack Warner of Warner Bros.) A terrific read–I highly recommend it!

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  3. 2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great Biography – Lots of Detail, November 27, 2005
    By 
    J. E. Robinson
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Bogart: A Life in Hollywood (Hardcover)

    This is a great biography of Bogart that blends his off screen real character with descriptions of his more than 50 movies.

    Bogart is a cultural icon that we think of as being remote, a combination cool tough guy, but with a soft heart. It is hard to keep it all in perspective since the Bogart persona was all an act by a skilled and professional actor. At Warner Brothers and elsewhere he liked to follow a strictly 9:00am to 6:00pm schedule, resisted travel to exotic locations, had a habit of learning his lines in the morning, shooting in the afternoon, and then going home at 6:00 pm. He kept regular hours except during periods of crisis or between movies. Bogart had a slightly volatile personality and was prone to outbreaks of profanity, but he was not a rowdy who would start fist fights in bars or similar. Also, he was not impressed with wealth since his New York parents were well off and the money from his fame did not go to his head. He was often the center of attention in public, but also he was a very private person who enjoyed the solitude of his sailing boats in seclusion off the coast of California, or games of chess, or just staying at home. Like his fans, he sometimes confused his on screen and off screen personalities. He was a chain smoker and frequent drinker who eventually fell prey to throat cancer, but he continued to smoke until he died.

    His story is aptly told here by a well know biography author Jeffrey Myers and it is a good book. It is well written, seemingly well researched, engrossing, and an entertaining read. I read the 400 pages cover to cover. It is very entertaing for Bogart fans. The book is slightly uneven but it is mostly great reading. There is a lot of detail in the book including many quotes from old letters, memos, and recollections of telephone calls. The presen book fills in a lot of detail on the early years, the behind the scenes action with the dynamic director Howard Hawks, his love affairs and girl friends, the first three marriages, then Lauren Bacall, fellow actor James Cagney, Bette Davis, writer and director John Huston, Edward G Robinson, relations with Warner Brothers and Jack Warner, and on and on.

    The book progresses roughly in chronological order and it has chapters that cover different periods and different movies, including lots of details on conflicts and collaborations, and what Bogart thought of the factory like production of the Warner lot B movies with his name attached – that he was forced to make under contract and under protest. We learn about his approach to acting, and what he was like to work with by fellow actors such as Mary Astor, and how Ingrid Bergman was in awe. We learn how he handles success, his insecurity with Bacall, the drinking, his complex and talented abilities, and his volatile personality. The book has lots and lots of stories.

    The author walks us through a number of major films almost scene by scene and gives summaries of less well known films. He explains the double meanings of some lines that are insider jokes, and what particular actors thought of their lines, or where the lines came from. Some of Bacall’s most famous lines came from her first screen test. Other famous Bogart movie lines were written just moments before shooting, or they contained subtle and hidden jabs at Warner management, or were inspired or almost copied from earlier movies. It is hard to believe that the movies such as Casablanca were made in 8 to 10 weeks essentially factory style, movie after movie, and that this could produce such on screen magic. In any case many of the productions are described including the filming of African Queen on its remote river setting – with one photo of that production.

    The chapter on the movie Petrified Forest is revealing. It describes his first big success with the big 1930s star Bette Davis in that movie and his subsequent success as a tough guy in a movie market craving tough guys such as Edward G Robinson. Also, the opening part of this chapter contains a wonderful description of Bogart and his father at the time of his father’s death. Similarly there is an excellent chapter of John Huston, one of Bogart’s best friends, a man who was also married many times and had a similarly complex life and was overflowing with talent.

    It is all compelling stuff for Bogart fans and by the way there are a number of black and white photos of Bogart and his family and friends, plus the book has an extensive 30 pages of notes including a

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