Gary Rutkowski answers our July classic movie questionnaire.
1.) What’s your favorite Humphrey Bogart film?
2.) What do you consider to be his three best performances?
Casablanca, The African Queen, The Big Sleep. HM: The Petrified Forest, The Caine Mutiny
3.) What’s your favorite movie in which he co-starred with Lauren Bacall?
Their first, To Have and Have Not.
4.) In your opinion did Bogart make a better Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon) or Philip Marlowe (The Big Sleep)?
A toughie! I’d probably go with Philip Marlowe, who was probably closer to Bogart in real life.
5.) Of his nine films for director John Huston (The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, In This Our Life, Across the Pacific, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Key Largo, The African Queen, Beat the Devil), what do you think was their greatest collaboration?
The African Queen. It was their biggest gamble and most ambitious. And it’s timeless.
6.) Is Bogart better in black & white or color?
If there was ever an actor suited for black & white, it was Bogart. Yet he garnered two of his three Best Actor Oscar nominations for films in color. I agree with Roger Ebert et al that Casablanca seems to be the one black & white film that even people who hate black & white films seem to love.
7.) What’s your least favorite of his films?
He made some stinkers. I’ll go with the absurd Dark Victory in which his Irish brogue contributes heavily.
8.) Of his many classic lines in Casablanca, what is your favorite ?
“If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”
HM: “Are my eyes really brown?”
9.) Why do you think Bogart— who died 57 years ago (in 1957 at the age of 57, incidentally)— is so well-known today, even by non-film buffs?
After James Dean, Bogart was only the second major star to die and have an instant cult spring around him that has followed generation after generation. Mainly though, it’s due to the fact that Casablanca (and to some extent The Maltese Falcon) remain(s) go-to classic(s) even among non-buffs.
10.) What Bogart movie you’ve already seen, would you like to see again right now?