Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday: Humphrey Bogart!

Humphrey Bogart (December 25, 1899 – January 14, 1957). During a film career of almost thirty years, he performed in 75 feature films. His first huge success was as Duke Mantee in, The Petrified Forest (1936), which led to being typecast as a gangster with films: Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) and B-movies like The Return of Doctor X (1939)and The Oklahoma Kid (1939).

Other successful films : High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca,  To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948), with his wife Lauren Bacall, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The African Queen (1951), for which he won his only Academy Award, Beat the Devil (1953) Sabrina (1954) and The Caine Mutiny (1954).

Please click here to read more about Humphrey Bogart.

His last movie was, The Harder They Fall (1956). A film noir directed by Mark Robson. The film was written by Philip Yordan and based on the 1947 novel by Budd Schulberg. The drama tells the story of the Primo Carnera boxing scandal". Bogart's character, Eddie Willis, is based on the career of boxing writer and event promoter Harold Conrad.

While Eddie Willis, is looking for work after the newspaper he works for goes under, he is hired by crooked boxing promoter Nick Benko, to publicize his new boxer, Toro Moreno. Toro and his friend/manager, Luís Agrandi , do not know that all of his fights are fixed. The unhappy boxer wants to quit and go home, but Eddie talks him out of it. Benko, arranges for Toro to fight the heavyweight champ, Buddy Brannen. Knowing Toro has no chance, Benko places bets secretly against his fighter. Toro loses as expected and gets brutally beaten. After learning,  that Toro is paid only a small amount, Eddie pays for Toro trip home to Argentina. Eddie then begins writing an his story about corruption in the boxing world.

A wonderful film about a poor dumb boxer who believes in honor. Bogie was wonderful playing one of his many complex roles.

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