Saturday, September 12, 2009

"The Look" Gets the Gold

Some people are never down for the count. And Lauren Bacall is one of those people. The famously silver tongued siren began bewitching moviegoers when she was only 19 -- surely the most mature teenager the screen ever saw -- in To Have and Have Not (1944). Aside from a fallow 1970s, she's been working steadily since. In all that time she's never learned to hold her tongue (so many choice soundbites over the years, god bless) and she's still a lively soul at 84 going on 85. Her birthday is next week.

When she lost her only Oscar nomination (1996's The Mirror Has Two Faces) to Juliette Binoche in The English Patient, most assumed that she would be of the Have Not variety when it came to the statue, despite her marriages to two legendary Haves, Oscar winners Humphrey Bogart and Jason Robards. But now, the wait for her very own golden boy is over. She'll receive her honorary Oscar in November.





While we'll see a clip of Bacall at the Oscar ceremony in March, it rankles me that it'll only be a clip. Such a stupid move. The Oscar were made for live moments like that, moments where you can celebrate the last of dying breeds and/or movie legends on the industry's High Holy Night as they mingle with contemporary stars and gazillions of people watch. And make no mistake, there are still plenty of people watching the Oscars every year despite the media's constant reports of Falling Sky! Falling Sky!

Just for fun, here's some of my favorite Tweets from "Lauren" over the past few months as she sounded off on smoking, cats, an unfinished Tarantino script, vampire and horror movies. So what if they were fake? They were so fun. Legendary name dropping, opinions, project pimping...




Now that the news and the tweets are out of the way I have to admit that I'm not really that well versed in Bacall's long career. I've always enjoyed her as a celebrity but aside from To Have and Have Not and How to Marry a Millionaire, my mind goes blank when it comes time to discussing her films. What's your favorite of her performances? Give us rental suggestions in the comments.

35 comments:

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

The Big Sleep! My favourite of her performances.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I'm sure I saw a movie with her and some old star I don't know Gable, Peck or some other ubiquitous old star where she marries him but they're too different. She sews or something I think. It was fun. Or maybe it's not her. This sounds vaguely incoherent...but I think it was a nice movie....but it was a while ago...do you know what it is?

The little I know of Ms. Bacall are some snippets that Katharine Hepburn says of her in her biography. Like how she [LB] and KH were in charge of the crew when Bogey and KH were filming The African Queen.

Glad she's getting a statue...sad we won't see her alive though. Live and uncut is always best.

moror said...

I recently became obsessed with her. So I came here to read more about her but you only had two posts. I audibly gasped when I saw the post.

Arkaan said...

She's a great star and her partnership with Bogie is definitely iconic, but I wouldn't call her a great actress.

Written on the Wind is her best film. Todd Haynes has nothin' on this.

cinemadventurer said...

I'd like to reiterate The Big Sleep as a classic you have to see. It would be fun to get a film noir blogathon up and running in these parts! :D

I'm kind of devastated that the Honorary awards will be ghettoed to a separate event, especially after learning that Bacall, Corman, Willis and the producer gentleman from Warner Bros. are getting said awards. I would not have felt too broken up about having to miss Sherry Lansing's Jean Hersholt award a few years ago, but this year is a bit more historically/culturally signifigant. Something to consider (pray for lol), however, is how big and classy these separate ceremonies might actually be. Could the Academy manage to produce two large-scale events per year with one extravaganza of an awards show that runs at a brisk, but appreciative pace in February and one star-studded, appreciative, and prescient honors ceremony that lasts two, maybe three, hours. It could up the Academy's income and allow them to not care about ratings as much as the art form itself (once again, *fingers crossed*).

Look at the Kennedy Center Honors. The President is always in attendance for those events. How significant can you be in that case? This 'ghettoizing' might not be so bad and Ms. Bacall, et al might get her golden moment after all. What do you think, Nat? Too good to be true?

Marsha Mason said...

It's been a very long time since the Academy chose someone I was this excited to see get an honorary one. What a year to start with this sideshow bullsh!t!

I of course love her 40s performances, but what a treat to see her old icy persona in "Dogville."

par3182 said...

the fan (1981) - so bad it's terrible

bacall as a broadway legend croaking out a dreadful song called "hearts, not diamonds" is a MUST SEE

plus it's got maureen stapleton


boo to the academy for bumping the honorary awards - lauren would give great speech

Bing147 said...

She's great in those movies with Bogart... but outside of that, never really thought too much of her as an actress. Solid, but nothing special talent wise, she just had great chemistry with Bogart.

kin said...

Unfortunately, the Twitter account is not real.

http://www.accesshollywood.com/lauren-bacall-not-tweeting-about-twilight_article_22199

kin said...

hey, that's not a link. oh well at least it looks pretty

Anonymous said...

The Big Sleep is my favourite performance, but the truth is that I don't really like her as an actress...

Leo

Katie said...

I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but that isn't Lauren Bacall's twitter. It is an impersonator, which is not that unusual when it comes to twitter.

Her rep denied it with Access Hollywood, saying that Lauren Bacall does not have a twitter account:
http://www.accesshollywood.com/lauren-bacall-not-tweeting-about-twilight_article_22199

Lorenzo said...

Lauren Bacall was probably the first movie star from the classic era I fell in love with, it was about 15 years ago and I still worship her! My favourite performances:

How to marry a millionaire
To have and have not
Written on the wind
Dark passage
Designing woman

Glenn said...

Why on earth would anybody fake a Lauren Bacall Twitter account? Of all the people...

Agent69 said...

First let me say that I completely disagree with this notion that she is not a great actress. Her very first performance is something special.
I especially remember her in Young Man with a Horn, which I found a dull movie, except when she was on screen.

MYSELF said...

Mia Farrow, Maureen O'hara... next WINNERS!!

finally a woman!!!

MrW said...

Besides the obvious choice (which would be 'The Big Sleep'), my favorite Bacall performance would be 'Murder on the Orient Express', in which she delivers the films finest performance.

And to think she wasn't even nominated for Best Supporting Actress when Ingrid Bergman, being an only slightly more sentimental choice, won for her unspectacular performance in the same film...

Iggy said...

Really? Her twitter is fake? :( It's just too funny to be fake.

I was visiting her picture gallery yesterday and I noticed she had an amazing resemblance with January Jones in her younger pics. http://themave.com/Bacall/LBgal13.htm
Or maybe it's just the period, or that Jones is the only actress we see smoking these days, or that I want Betty Draper to go from a Grace Kelly lookalike to a Bacall one.

But on a second thought, the only actress that comes to my mind as able to exude sensuality with her sole presence as Bacall did in The Big Sleep, would be Uma Thurman.

Billy Held An Oscar said...

I think the Academy is doing a great disservice to the younger viewers who might not know the depth of her career. It might have sparked the interest of a young movie-goer to seek out 'To Have and Have Not' or 'The Big Sleep', etc.

Billy Held An Oscar said...

'The Fan' is perfect. It is so damn bad that it is good.

It is a camp classic .... IMO.

Love it when Maureen Stapleton says to Bacall, "You're a real pain in the ass."

Robert said...

I have no problem with the Academy moving the honoraries to a different ceremony to free up Oscar night time, but why not air it in it's entirety?

If TNT can air the AFI Lifetime Achievement thing on occasion, then why can't someone air this?

John T said...

Yeah, this is the most exciting Honorary Oscar palate they've served up in some time, and it is so idiotic that they won't let us see it. Vanessa Hudgens, Beyonce, & Miley Cyrus they make room for, all of whom have the cinematic output of Uwe Boll, but they ignore Bacall, Willis, and Corman? A disgrace-and Academy, if you want to look at what has made the Oscars "iconic" through the years, it's not the "fresh young talent singing and dancing," it's those career achievement awards to Cary Grant, Charlie Chaplin, Myrna Loy, Mary Pickford, and Kirk Douglas that have. Because these people, like Bacall, ARE the movies.

NATHANIEL R said...

well if it's a faked account, it's the best fake I've ever seen. it even gets the awesome miunderstanding that some celebs have that you can tell long stories even though they end up publishing backwards.

plus, pics of the grandkids?

and such erratic posting?

Ed Howard said...

I was really disappointed when I found out the Twitter account was a fake, because it's just so funny and cool, it was rather believable as Bacall. Though the Tarantino stuff kind of gave it away. Still funny, even fake, though.

Bacall is awesome if only for her Bogie collaborations, for a really sensitive performance in Written On the Wind, and for recent turns in Von Trier's movies. I really need to see more of her work as well. There's something about her that just radiates cool, for me.

Branden said...

I cannot believe that she was only nominated for "The Mirror Has Two Faces." It boggles the mind.

I'm glad that she is getting recognized for her work. She's a pistol.

I wish that they did have her speak on the big night.

They could have Roger Corman and Bacall speak that night.

Marsha Mason said...

Oh no! I loved thinking that was the real bacall! But now that i think about it, maybe some of the tweets are a little far afield. And people doing fake accounts always add a few too many grammatical tics. Alas!

Next thing you'll be saying i'm not the real Marsha Mason.

jess said...

Mmmm...

You might have heard about Dogville, Birth, Mandelay, just to name a few recent ones ?

Are ya tired Nathaniel ??

jess said...

Oh, and don't forget that she also won a National Book Award.

I mean, how many people on earth can win both an Academy Award AND a National Book Award ?

And I'm curious why no one has brought up KEY LARGO in the discussion

NATHANIEL R said...

jess... i'm actually sick. that's my excuse. like lay in bed coughing and feverish sick. Every time i travel it seems. Must be that aircraft air.

of course i remember Bacall in those movies. I'm just saying that if you say LAUREN BACALL to me, my mind jumps straight to How to Marry a Millionaire and then sometimes swerves over to To Have and Have Not. and that's it.

NATHANIEL R said...

moror --- there are more than two Bacall posts. If you click the label below each post on any topic, you'll see the past postings.

Rae Kasey said...

The Big Sleep, of course.

jimmy said...

im disappointed - i doubt angela lansbury will ever get an oscar or emmy.

Donny said...

Isn't that a fake Twitter account? I was under that impression from the start.

That's exciting news for Lauren Bacall. A competitive Oscar would have been nice, but this is better than nothing. This should be on the main telecast though. I'm guessing that all we'll see of this on the main show is a clip or two and parts of the acceptance speech. Maybe they'll have the recepients wave in the audience. Tacky. At least have them go on stage for a standing ovation, unless that takes up too much "time" too. Hopefully the full acceptance speeches will be on YouTube's Oscars channel at some point.

Sam said...

I still believe To Have and to Have Not was her greatest performance, although she was wonderful in Key Largo and so many others. I loved the moment in The Mirror Has Two Faces when Barbra Streisand asks her what it was like to be beautiful. There's a moment of silence before she speaks and her face conveyed so much. She was robbed of the Oscar.

Janice said...

I saw To Have and Have Not as a teenager - I knew that "Casablanca" was the better film and a classic and all that, but THAHN was a lot more fun, thanks to that incredible chemistry. Wow.

I'd also recommend her first (1979) autobiography "By Myself" (I haven't read the new edition, nor the follow up, "Now" (1996) ). One of the few celeb autobiographies I've enjoyed - not great literature, no pretensions, no bitchiness, very down to earth, and her description of life with husband Jason Robards and his alcoholism are harrowing at times. (A birthday party gone awry is the part of the book that stands out in my mind.)