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To think of Humphrey Bogart is in many ways to think of classic film itself. He is that tough, cynical presence who is noble to the end. His character in Casablanca probably crystallizes that persona more than any other film, but it’s just one stop along a tour of Bogart’s brilliant career. Here are his five top films other than Casablanca now playing on satellite TV.
5. To Have and Have Not. The film that started the Bogart-Bacall highlight reel (and love affair), you’d be hard-pressed to find a more incendiary screen debut than Bacall’s in this film. “You know how to whistle, Steve, don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.” Bacall sizzles, but Bogart drives the action, reprising that noble loner persona from Casablanca with aplomb. Any Bogart birthday celebration on satellite TV’s Turner Classic Movies is bound to showcase this Howard Hawks film.
4. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Directed by the legendary John Huston, a frequent collaborator of Bogart’s, this film features a petty and ruthless Bogart not often seen in his star days. A tribute to Bogart’s disdain for celebrity, his performance keys a movie all about desperation and greed. Watch it in HD for the stunning cinematography of the American Southwest.
3. The Maltese Falcon. The film that really got Bogart rolling, Huston’s first film is a film noir classic and as crisp a film as you will ever see. Propelled by Bogart’s fast-talking, face-slapping detective Sam Spade, the story follows a group of international scoundrels as they scratch and claw in pursuit of an elusive (and priceless) black statuette. Perhaps a little static in its camera movement, Huston nonetheless elicits terrific performances from Bogart and supporting actors Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet (in his debut). The Falcon is the “stuff dreams are made of,” based on the Dashiell Hammett novel, and there is a high body count to back up the claim.
2. In A Lonely Place. Perhaps the least-known of Bogart’s best movies, In A Lonely Place showcases the intelligence and acting skill of our favorite leading man. Directed by Nicholas Ray (who later made Rebel Without a Cause), the film follows the life of Dix, a troubled Hollywood screenwriter whose violent temper leads him to being suspected of murder. Gloria Grahame, Ray’s wife at the time, delivers her best performance as well in this chilling classic, a must-see in HD on TCM.
1. The Big Sleep. Re-uniting Bogart, Bacall and director Hawks, The Big Sleep is the film that features Bogart at his all-around best. Tough as nails, charming, insolent and fearless, Bogart’s portrayal of private detective Philip Marlowe is a landmark in film noir as well as an example of Hollywood production at its very best. The epitome of the word classic, this movie is in heavy rotation on satellite TV networks like TCM.
write by Alula