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Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 1, 2011
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He worked on it for almost two decades, honing his craft, playing bit after bit part, until he catches a big break when Director John Huston puts him in High Sierra. Both the star and director were drinking buddies, and drinks and buddies count in Hollywood. It was a radically different industry back then. Today the average movie costs $120 million and studios put out between 12 and 15 big budget movies per year.
Back in the 1930's and 1940's, the average studio of which there were seven, put out a picture a week. That's right a picture a week which means about 50 pictures per studio per year. It's one of the reasons why you had the cast system, which meant that the actors were owned lock, stock, and barrel by the studio. From month to month they would be moved around from movie to movie as they were needed. On occasion they would be loaned to a different studio in return for a payment. This was the system that Bogart who became one of the biggest stars of his generation was a part of, in his case a big part of.Read more ›
I have also read the long biography of Bogart by Sperber and Lax and the Bogart biography by Jeffrey Meyers. The 700-page (or so) book by Ann Sperber and Eric Lax is better than Kanfer's on details, weaker on the ideas they illustrate. That book, if it is still in print, would make a great companion to Kanfer's.
The one drawback about Kanfer's book is the lack of endnotes or footnotes, which may sound unimportant but isn't. He includes an acknowledgment listing libraries and people and includes a bibliography, but there is no section of endnotes pairing the quotes and facts on a specified page with their source(s).Read more ›
TOUGH WITHOUT A GUN contains the standard information (dare I compare it to the "usual suspects"?). Bogart was born into a privileged childhood, growing up in Manhattan, attending the "correct" schools for a person of his station, becoming bored and falling short of academic expectations. He became somewhat lost and rudderless until he found the theater, beginning as a stagehand.
His first experiences behind the scenes and on stage were less than noteworthy. One could easily imagine early performances of stiffly delivered lines and awkward body language. But over the years, Bogart overcame some perceived handicaps, including less-than-movie-star looks and that famous lisp. The roles became increasingly important, and he delivered, perpetuating the demand for his services.
Like many in his Hollywood circle, Bogart suffered for his fame --- early on in his failed marriages before he fell in love with teenaged co-star Lauren Bacall, later in his political difficulties during the Communist scares of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Yet the author doesn't dish too much dirt, thankfully, although his insights into the competitiveness between the leading men of the era as they vied for prized roles is fascinating.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good detail. Explores emotions and background for people's conduct.Published 10 months ago by Joseph G. Rocheleau
There won't be anymore Bogarts. Now we have a world that is just one big 'reality TV show.' Character and 'class' don't figure in any more.Published 11 months ago by Patrick Marro
Humphrey Bogart was too great a star to be part of this misogynist, homophobic, Commie nonsense.Published 12 months ago by mark
I had almost forgotten how much pleasure I have gotten from watching Bogie onscreen during my life. This bio brought it all back. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Frank Paprota
An easy, fun read filled with stories and facts that I didn't know about. Some good pictures too. Worth your time.Published 15 months ago by D. Mowry
I read this while also reading Unbroken and watching (on TV) Master's of Sex. These are 3 stories of men who had different difficult childhoods; very challenging adulthoods which... Read morePublished 17 months ago by DKR'R
This book is very interesting for someone who grew up in the era of Humphrey Bogart. We bought it as a gift; the recipient was delighted.Published 20 months ago by J. Burkholder
This is the only book I have read on Bogie so I can only argue its value based on its own merits. Which I consider to be good. Read morePublished 22 months ago by whitebuffalo