DVD Extra: Humphrey Bogart collections
Posted June 30, 2012
Humphrey Bogart remains a film icon more than a half century after his death in 1957 thanks to unforgettable roles in movies like Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, Key Largo and The African Queen. With his perpetually dangling cigarette and world-weary expression, Bogart's aura is deeply imbedded in popular culture. The American Film Institute ranked him the greatest male star in the history of American cinema.
But before Bogie really became Bogie, he toiled for years in the Warner Bros. studio system during the 1920s and 1930s, playing second and sometimes third banana to more popular stars at the time like Edward G. Robinson, George Raft and James Cagney, and was frequently typecast in criminal roles. Two new four-film collections from the studio's archives explore some of his early roles and some of his wartime films in which he grew into the main attraction. Regardless of where he fell on the marquee, though, Bogart never seem to fail to make an impact.
TCM Greatest Classic Gangster Films: Humphrey Bogart (1936-1941, Turner Classic Movies, not rated, $28) leads off with The|-|Petrified Forest (1936). It stars Leslie Howard and Bette Davis, whose characters wind up among those taken hostage in an Arizona diner by Bogart's escaped killer Duke Mantee. Bogart's chilling portrayal of the desperate crook with the cops closing in led to more roles in a similar vein.
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) stars Robinson as a wealthy doctor who studies criminal behavior and who successfully pulls off a series of heists as part of his research. Things get dicier when he gets involved with a fence (Claire Trevor) and a gang of thieves led by "Rocks" Valentine (Bogart).
All Through the Night (1941) finds Bogart in the lead role as Alfred "Gloves" Donahue, a sports promoter who helps a nightclub singer (Kaaren Verne) involved in a murder even though he has murder troubles of his own.
High Sierra (1941), Bogart's intense, complex portrayal of gangster Roy "Mad Dog" Earle, solidified his status as a leading man and opened doors for a wider variety of roles. The film, which also starred Ida Lupino, follows a gang whose robbery of a California resort casino goes terribly wrong. Both Paul Muni and George Raft turned down the role before the studio reluctantly gave it to Bogart.
TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Humphrey Bogart (1940-1943, Turner Classic Movies, not rated, $28) features They Drive by Night (1940) with Raft and Bogart playing brothers in the long-distance trucking business. Raft is torn between a waitress (Ann Sheridan) and a trucking executive's murderous widow (Lupino). The fourth-billed Bogart is embittered after losing his arm in an accident.
In Across the Pacific (1942), Bogart stars as Rick Leland, a spy assigned to prevent a plot to torpedo the Panama Canal locks. Sydney Greenstreet and Mary Astor also star.
Action in the North Atlantic (1943) stars Bogart as a first officer on a Merchant Marine oil tanker who survives an attack by Nazi U-boats. He returns to sea on a vessel carrying vital war supplies and is once again targeted by the enemy subs and planes.
Passage to Marseille (1944) features much of the cast from 1942's Casablanca including Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Claude Rains and Helmut Dantine. Bogart stars as Jean Matrac, leader of a band of Devil's Island escapees who join the Free French Air Corps against Nazi Germany.
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