Humphrey Bogart day on TCM

Caught Humphrey Bogart Day last August on TCM.

Anatole Litvak's The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) is a bizarre little crime/comedy film, where Edgar G. Robinson plays a brilliant doctor so keen to study criminal psychology he plots crimes and studies everyone's reactions to them; I kind of hesitate to even call it a 'comedy' because everyone plays it so straight and serious, though I found myself laughing my head off. Bogart was more of an anguished mobster; the movie really belongs to Robinson, who plays mad scientist with the gusto of a shorter Boris Karloff.

Archie Mayo's direction of The Petrified Forest (1936) felt like it had a bit of a petrified quality--it's a stage play and shows a theaterbound, literary quality. Leslie Howard as an intellectual bum, however, wears that literariness gracefully on his shoulders and Bette Davis matches him with her ardour (I much prefer both of them, however, in that fizzy theater comedy It's Love I'm After, done a year later). Bogart breaks the bounds of the proscenium arch with his haunted gangster with an unshakeable sense of doom (he reminds me of Toshiro Mifune in Drunken Angel).

Peter Godfrey's The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) has Bogart as a moody, perhaps mad painter, and Barbra Stanwyk as his invalid wife, slowly coming into the realization that her husband may be a Bluebeard. It's gothic material that really needs a more gothic touch (Welles? Carol Reed?), I think. Stanwyk puts as much conviction into her performance as she can, but Bogart seems to be treading water here--you don't know if he's a cad, a psychopath, or just deeply confused. He's upstaged by his eerily cheerful daughter, played by Ann Carter.

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