Bogart

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3 thoughts on “Bogart

  1. 14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Definitive Biography, July 18, 2006
    By 
    D. A Wend (Arlington Heights, IL USA) –
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Bogart (Hardcover)

    Bogart is the definitive biography of Humphrey Bogart. A. M. Sperber, who also wrote a marvelous book about Edward R. Murrow, has done painstaking research that included over 200 interviews. I have previously read the short biography of Bogart by Joe Hyams and Lauren Bacall’s autobiography, which helped to gauge some of the information in this book. A. M. Sperber died before she could complete this book so it was completed by Eric Lax.

    This is the kind of book that is difficult to put down; a well written book that moves along giving a non-judgmental view of its famous subject. What I came away with was a much broader portrait of Humphrey Bogart and the realization of how unhappy he was. An interesting revelation was that despite his success as an actor there was some regret that he not become a writer. An aspect of Bogart’s life that I wish was better covered was his personal likes and dislikes. As in Lauren Bacall’s autobiography, this book revealed that he was very fond of Bach and Debussy and the music of both composers was played at his funeral. This was certainly different from his tough guy image! So, although I learned a great deal about his battles with Jack Warner and Mayo and his passionate defense of the First Amendment, it is a portrait lacking a spark of life.

    The book goes into detail about his childhood and his parents, who were both drug addicts and near alcoholics. As the book progresses, one can vividly see how his parents affected Humphrey Bogart’s personality, making him introverted but also instilling in him the qualities of a gentleman and the Victorian ideal of doing what must be done. The book presents a balanced viewpoint of Bogart’s good and bad traits, including his belligerent needling that he seems to make a change in this character during the 1950′s.

    One minor item that I found to be incorrect was the report in the book that the Bogart dog Harvey had to be put to sleep. Lauren Bacall said in her autobiography that Harvey died at the veterinarian’s office shortly after she visited him of a heart attack. Otherwise, this is an impressive book that anyone who has an interest in Humphrey Bogart will want to read.

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  2. 13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Well documented Bogart bio, October 11, 2005
    By 
    B. W. Fairbanks “Brian W. Fairbanks” (Lakewood, OH United States) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Bogart (Hardcover)

    Several years ago, the American Film Institute, Entertainment Weekly, and Premiere magazine all named Humphrey Bogart the greatest film star of all time, a selection few film buffs would argue with. Like John Wayne and Cary Grant, Bogart was larger than life, yet, unlike them, he was also down in the dirt with the rest of us. An average guy in many ways, the characters he played beat the odds, but only after enormous effort and struggle.

    A.M. Sperber’s generally excellent biography shows that Bogart the icon and Bogart the man shared many similar traits. Though the son of a wealthy doctor and his artist wife, there was a dark side to Bogart’s outwardly pampered life. His mother was distant, his father was addicted to morphine, and the young boy and his sisters, one of whom suffered from mental illness, were abused by the servants. Bogart was an academic failure with little hope for success until distinguishing himself on Broadway with his classic portrayal of Duke Mantee in “The Petrified Forest.”

    But even when Hollywood beckoned, life didn’t get easier for the insecure actor. While James Cagney, George Raft, Paul Muni, and Edward G. Robinson were “stars” who got the best roles Warner Bros. had to offer, Bogart was taken for granted, a mere contract player who played supporting roles in the important projects, and spent years buried in a series of undistinguished B flicks churned out on the Hollywood assembly line. Well paid, especially by Depression era standards, he nonetheless struggled to support his ailing sisters and to pay off his late father’s debts.

    Today, it’s hard to believe his employers took so long to recognize the charisma and talent that Bogart would bring to “High Sierra” and “The Maltese Falcon,” both of which were intended for that great non-entity George Raft. “Casablanca,” of course, made Bogart the biggest star on the Warner lot, and Sperber shoots down the myth that both Raft and Ronald Reagan were initially considered for the role of Hollywood’s ultimate romantic hero. For once, a role was tailor-made for Bogart, and the legend was born.

    Bogart’s early life isn’t covered as thoroughly as hoped, but that’s not a surprise since most of those who could provide insight into the future superstar had died long before Sperber began her book. But the career is well documented, and the man behind the myth emerges as a flesh and blood figure, a fiercely intelligent and generally admirable one, on every page.

    Brian W. Fairbanks

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  3. 11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    1st Class Biography, July 12, 1997
    By A Customer
    This review is from: Bogart (Hardcover)

    “Bogart” reads quick and you can tell the authors both spent a good deal of time creating it. (Sperber died before it was finished) The reading gets a tad depressing following Bogart’s ill-fated trip to Washington DC to take on the Blacklisters. However, the descriptions of the anti-Communist attacks on the film industry are compelling. There is a good balance between the film icon’s life in and out of the studio. If you don’t care to know how many times Bogart arrived on the set of The Maltese Falcon with a hangover, don’t worry, the pace will keep you interested. On the other hand, don’t pick this up if all you want is an in-depth look at Casablanca. The authors play no favorites. All of his major films receive about the same amount of attention. I say that as a compliment. The book also presents fascinating looks into Jack Warner (who ran Warner Bros.), John Huston, Howard Hawks and of course Bacall. This is no Bogart/Bacall love story either. While their courtship and marriage are covered well, you’ll get four fifths through before they have their first child. If your all-time favorite film is Star Wars, save your money. If not, buy this

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