Guest Author - Amber Grey
Although Lauren Bacall's sultry image is largely connected to the film noir genre, Bacall has had a versatile career. In the following recommended films she has proven she is a brilliant comedienne as well as a wonderful dramatic actress.
"To Have and Have Not" (1944). Directed by Howard Hawkes, starring Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. The film was originally made based on a between Ernest Hemingway and Howard Hughes. Hemingway believed Hughes could not make a successful picture out of what he considered his worst book, "To Have and Have Not." Hughes took the bet and the joke was on Hemingway. Although the book itself received mixed reviews, the film was a hit and of course, famous for a number of occasions. It made a star out of 20-year old Lauren Bacall and introduced Bacall to Humphrey Bogart.
In her opening scene, the famous "chin down" look that gave Bacall a scintillating presence was due to her shaking nerves whenever she looked at Bogart. Of course, everything else was history because soon after the film was made, they were married. During their marriage, the couple made three more films.
"How To Marry A Millionaire" (1953). A wonderful romantic comedy starring Lauren Bacall with two other iconic ladies, Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable. Bacall portrays Schatze Page, a woman who is leading their plan in finding rich husbands in the heart of New York City. William Powell makes an appearance as one of Page's dates who is considered to be much older than her. When his age comes up as an issue, Page comments, "I've always liked older men. Look at that olde fellow, what's-his-name in "The African Queen." Absolutely crazy about him," which is obviously meant as a loving reference to Bogart.
"Designing Woman" (1954). Directed by Vincente Minnelli, starring Lauren Bacall and Gregory Peck. This romantic comedy tells of a spur-of-the-moment marriage between sports reporter Mike Hagen (Peck) and fashion designer Marilla Brown (Bacall). It is only after they marry and move in together that they are complete opposites and have very little in common. It is after Marilla finds a photogragh of Mike's former girlfriend that Mike was trying to conceal, that a series of mishaps take place. Although Bogart was in his final stages of cancer at the time, Bacall was known for her consummate professionalism on set.
"Sex and the Single Girl" (1964). Directed by Richard Quine. Starring Natalie Wood, Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall. This underestimated romantic comedy about the sexual revolution is based on Helen Gurley Brown's controversial book of the same name. When a writer of a scandal magazine, Bob Weston (Tony Curtis), is turned down for an interview with research psychologist, Helen Gurley Brown (Natalie Wood), he impersonates his neighbor Frank. Of course, this leads to a series of misunderstandings when the real Frank (Henry Fonda) and his wife Sylvia (Bacall), are caught in the middle of it all. Although it was a star vehicle at the time, it is also a perfect ensemble cast, with Fonda and Bacall making a perfect comedic team.
"The Shootist" (1976) Directed by Don Siegel, starring John Wayne, Lauren Bacall and Jimmy Stewart. A film about a dying shootist, J.B. Books (Wayne) who spends the last of his days searching for a way to die with dignity. Bacall portrays a window, Bond Rogers whom Books rents a room as he awaits his fate. This one of the many dramas outside of the noir genre that Bacall is most known for delivering an honest performance. During filming, Bacall became close friends with Wayne, despite their political differences.