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Humphrey Bogart

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Humphrey "DeForest Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us" Bogart (December 25, 1899 – January 14, 1957) was an American actor.

After trying different jobs such as private detective and Moroccan bar owner,[1] Bogart began acting in 1921 and became a regular in Broadway productions in the 1920s and 1930s. When the stock markets crashed in 1929, and the demand for plays reduced as money ceased to exist, Bogart also turned to film. He was typecast as a gangster in B movies such as Al Capone Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla and John Dillinger and his Technicolor Dreamcoat. His breakthrough came in 1941, when John Huston, who liked the cut of his jib, recommended him for High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon. The next year his performance in Casablanca raised him to the peak of his profession. Other successes followed: The Big Sleep (1946), remade as Insomnia with Al Pacino in 2002,[2] The African Queen (1951), and The Michael Caine Mutiny (1954).

Bogart during a little-known posthumous screen test as James Bond. He was turned down for being too "manly".

At the time of his death in 1957 Bogart was one of the most respected figures in American cinema. Since his death he has become even more popular, something Bogie takes in his stride. His persona and film performances as a hard-boiled egg have been considered as having a lasting impact and have led to him being described as a cultural icon. In 1999 the American Film Institute ranked him the greatest male star. About damn time.

Early life and education

Bogart was born in a li'l joint in The Big Apple. His pa was a surgeon, who could cut out your heart and put it back before you noticed your shirt was open. His ma was a commercial illustrator, a dame with real heart. They don't make 'em like that no more. They were Upper West Siders, the green rolling in quicker than Pa could count it. The Bogarts were at loggerheads more often than a pregnant nun and her doctor, resulting in a lack of emotion directed towards the kids. Their relationship was cooler than an Eskimo's refrigerator.[4] As a boy Bogie was teased by the no-good kids for his curls, his tidiness, the "cute" pictures his ma had him pose for, the Little Lord Fauntleroy clothes she dressed him in, the name "Humphrey", and the fact that he wore a fedora and trench coat all year round. He learned to stick his neck out for nobody.

The Bogarts sent Humphrey to private schools, places where rich idiots learn how to make themselves feel smarter than us average joes. The Bogarts wanted Humphrey to head to Yale, but Bogie was having none of it. He got himself expelled quicker than you could say "Close the blinds, Peggy Sue." With less going for him than an illiterate Irishman, he joined the Navy. Legend has it, he pointed a gun at a very young Hitler while Hitler was taking the slow boat to gravy town.[5] A dozen of Hitler's guards fired at Bogie, only wounding him in the lip. Bogie fired once, giving Adolf the same scar. While Adolf, idiot that he was, grew a mustache to cover it up like a senator on Veteran's Day, Bogie embraced his own scar™ as part of his character.


Bogie returned home to find Pa had wasted the family's green on investments worth about as much as a condom to a bishop. He rebelled, becoming an alcoholic and developing a leech addiction, but he maintained that if you lick ass you smell like crap. He started out in plays. Manly plays, not prancing around in tights like some young castrato. His breakthrough movie role was The Petrified Forest, in which Bogie turned an entire forest into ashes just by leering at it for ninety minutes. Soon after that the parts started coming in quicker than you could say "That ain't gin, Toots." High Sierra, in which he played a mountain climber, and The Maltese Falcon, in which he played a hard-boiled detective who liked hard-boiled Maltesers, were among his classics from this period. The movie he is most remembered for is Casablanca.

Isle of Fury

Bogart kicked a rubber octopus's [6] and became a star.

In Bogart's first film role he played Val Stevens, a misunderstood south Pacific pearl diver who kicked the crap out of an undersea monster and made audiences swoon coast-to-coast. New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther sprinted from the theater at the premier crying out, "Jesus and Mary, that damn Octopus scared the shit out of me!" Jack Warner was overheard saying, "Bogart is big, big in action/adventure, big in romance, big in comedy ... he's got it all." Decades later megastar and couch-vaulting champion Tom Cruise would say of Bogart, "Really, the action-adventure films I make all hail back to his f[acing off] with that octopus. He really showed us all how it's done."→

High Sierra

High Sierra, a 1941 movie directed by Raoul Walsh, had a screenplay written by Bogart's friend and drinking partner, John Huston. The film was Bogart's last major film playing a gangster. (Jis final gangster role was in The Big Shot in 1942.) Bogart worked well with Ida Lupino, and her relationship with him was a close one, if you catch my drift.[7] Bogie played a gangster-turned-mountain-climber who was contracted to rob a bank atop the Sierras. The plot was called ludicrous by most critics. What do those hacks know?

Bogart plays with a very rare bird.

The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon was also released in 1941. Bogie played a private dick named Sam Spade who was contracted by a dame to protect a rare species of bird, the Maltese Falcon. Spade was a wildlife conservationist-turned-private-detective, so the job fit him like an Armani jacket. Critics once again laughed like jackasses at the ludicrous plot, but they also said Bogie's acting made Marlon Brando look like Keanu Reeves. He won his only Oscar for this role, the Academy Award for Best Conservation of Maltese Falcons.[8]

Bogart in Casablanca, contemplating the Nazi regime and how good he looks in a fedora


Directed by Michael Curtiz, Casablanca is often named among the best films ever made. It stars Bogie as a hard-boiled bar owner in Nazi-occupied Morocco, alongside Ingrid Bergman, part-time Swedish director, full-time hot dish. Rick, played by Bogie, tries to use his influence with the Nazis to buy Paris from them. By supplying them with more drinks from his bar in Casablanca than you could shake a swastika at he hopes to get them drunk enough to sign into the deal.

It's not long before a dame arrives to fog up the glasses. Ilsa, played by Ingrid Bergman, seduces Rick and helps him to construct the nuclear bomb he so desires. With the bomb built, Rick needs a way to bring it to Paris. Knowing the Germans won't sell Paris to him, he wants to destroy it, saying to Isla "We'll always have Paris," showing they will then live in the ruins after the fallout clears away. He tries to convince her to bring the bomb to Paris concealed under her nightie, with the line "There's enough room up that skirt for a little more." Thinking he's flirting with her, she says yes. She finds out the truth, and tries to back out. Rick's plan is to make her feel guiltier than OJ, and he puts her on the spot with the line "Here's looking at you, kid." She agrees. More uncomfortable than Michael Jackson at a Kindergarten play[9] she travels on a train to Paris, where he remotely detonates the bomb from a safe distance.

The war over, Ilsa returns to Rick's side, with an ending more sweet than the floor of the Cinema at the Haribo factory. But it is "just the start of a beautiful friendship" according to Rick, as they plan to use their new-found technology to destroy more cities and take over the world. Isla betrays Rick however, and goes back to America, ending their plans. At its release Casablanca made back its budget of a million bucks quicker than a bank robber with hemorrhoids.

A young George Romero saw Bogart in this role and dedicated his life to pursuing zombies.

The Return of Doctor X

Straight off the success of Casablanca Bogart dove headlong into the horror genre, simultaneously inventing the cult classic. Studio-owner Jack Warner didn't have the guts to make a real horror film, so he pulled the punch by forcing director Busby Berkeley to cast well-known panty-waist Wayne Morris as an in-over-his-head private dick, and the film careened out of control into light-comedy-land. The film's first run proved a disappointment, but the strength of Bogart's chilling performance as the undead Dr. Xavier won the hearts, and perhaps the bowels, of audiences nationwide in dank second-run theaters. Berkeley later said, "I guess I'll just stick to musicals and chorus numbers from now on, but Bogart really showed us all a good time with that white stripe."→

The African Queen

Bogart and pal John Huston kidnapped Katherine Hepburn and flew to Africa in search of a missing jewel or something. Huston filmed the expedition as a documentary called The African Queen. Bogart continued to fuel his addiction to alcohol and leeches while on a small boat with Miss Hepburn. When a storm set the boat adrift Huston and Bogart killed and ate Hepburn to survive. Bogart and Huston were eventually rescued, and the resulting footage won Bogart and Huston numerous international awards for best documentary and won the International Cannibals' Award for Best Cannibalization (Feature Film). Bogart said it was his most enjoyable film and that Miss Hepburn was delicious.

Swing Your Lady

Having cut their comedy chops on The African Queen, Bogart and Huston moved on to another promising project at the suggestion of Penny Singleton and Louise Fazenda. Bogie played a lovesick fight promoter trying to get into a lady blacksmith's pants. He lost out to his fighter, played by Nat Pendleton, but the fun couldn't be held back, as Singleton took the lead along with The Weavers and Elviry for some of Hollywood's most memorable musical numbers. Bogart was later quoted as saying, "All those confusing high-brow pictures I made really got old after a while ... I mean, I still don't know why what's-her-name killed Miles Archer, and what the hell was that "Big Sleep" mess about, anyway? I gave up the girl in the Casablanca-thing just so she could accompany her dippy husband to New York to file for unemployment? Give me more of these comedies ... no spooky shadows, and a good time for everyone." Bogart and Huston would go on to make a third comedy (Beat the Devil) together, in which Bogie finally did get into a lady blacksmith's pants – the blacksmith this time was the dowdy Gina Lollobrigida.

Later life

Bogie still grabbed the goat by its horns later in his career, moulding such classics as The Treasure of Sierra Madre, where he played Long John Silver, and The Michael Caine Mutiny, where he fought Michael Caine for seventy-two minutes, followed by him rocking the joint with Ingrid Bergman for sixteen. By this time Bogie was the Marlon Brando of movies. A legend in his own time, he didn't care much for broads, dames, or chicks who wanted him for his status.

The panda incident

Bogart and his pal Bill Seeman[10] arrived at the El Morocco Club in New York City after midnight in 1950. Bogart and Seeman sent someone to buy two 22-pound stuffed pandas because, in a drunken state, they thought the pandas would be good company. They propped up the bears in separate chairs and began to drink. Two young women saw the stuffed animals. When one woman picked one up, she quickly ended up on the floor. The other woman tried to do the same and wound up in the same position.

The next morning Bogart was awakened by a city official who served him a summons for assault. Knowing a media frenzy was imminent, he met the media unshaven and in pajamas. He told the press he remembered grabbing the panda and "this screaming, squawking young lady. Sure, I socked those bitches. They were my god damn bears. I told them to keep their greasy mitts off, but you know women. Hormones or something."[11]

The following Friday, after the woman admitted to touching the panda, it was ruled by the Magistrate that Bogart was defending his property, and that under New York law he could have killed the woman had he seen fit.


Bogart started seeing the bottom of a Jack Daniels bottle from the inside more than once a day. Cigars became a toy for him, he placed leeches on every appendage twice a day, and his life of hard living started to catch up with him, until he finally died in 1957. The funeral attracted some of the biggest bums in show business, but only people who truly liked him – such as C-lister Frank Sinatra – were allowed to attend.

Overall Bogie made seven films, each one of them a classic. His famous trenchcoat went on sale and earned more than the gate guard at Fort Knox. On Christmas. He helped spawn more imitators than Elvis, each male actor forever forced to live in the shadow of his Empire State Building of a career. In 1962 he was approached to play James Bond by Albert "Cubby" Broccoli. Not letting a little thing like being dead get in the way, he did a screen test but was rejected for being too manly.

Bogart did for cinema what Sinatra[12] did for singing: make people think that wearing a hat makes you talented. Bogie had it all, and never lost it. Even when he died.


  1. This later gave him material to use in his movie roles. Handy.
  2. Rated 8.9 on the IMDb
  3. He acted. In movies. What else ya want, ya bum?
  4. An Eskimo's is mighty cold.
  5. No one is exactly sure what that means.
  6. 'Iz zass.
  7. Drift. Wossamotta U. (They had sex.)
  8. The Oscar was specially created for this movie, and given to Robert De Niro in every subsequent year.
  9. God rest him.
  10. Hehe.
  11. Damn right.
  12. Frank, not Nancy

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