OH YEAH, I KNOW HOW TO WHISTLE - Content
OH YEAH, I KNOW HOW TO WHISTLE
For Hicksflicks.com, Aug. 15, 2014
Lauren Bacall's most famous line — "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow" — arrived with her film debut.
She speaks the line in that unforgettable husky voice to Humphrey Bogart in the 1944 World War II thriller "To Have and Have Not," in which she made her film debut when she was just 19.
Although Bacall reinvented her show-biz career many times over the next 70 years, it's interesting that upon her death at age 89 earlier this week, it seems as if every news story spent the most ink linking her to Bogart, whom she married in May 1945. They were together until Bogie's death some 12 years later.
Even though he's been gone nearly 60 years, Humphrey Bogart still casts a long shadow in Hollywood, and certainly Bacall's early films with him are among her best. She was also the love of her life, as she often said.
After "To Have and Have Not," Bacall starred in three more movies opposite Bogart over the next four years: "The Big Sleep," "Dark Passage" and "Key Largo." They also did a little cameo together for a light comedy called "Two Guys From Milwaukee," and in 1955 they co-starred in a TV remake of Bogart's stage and screen hit of some 20 years earlier, "The Petrified Forest."
Before turning 30, Bacall went on to co-star with Charles Boyer ("Confidential Agent"), Kirk Douglas ("Young Man With a Horn"), Gary Cooper ("Bright Leaf"); Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and William Powell ("How to Marry a Millionaire"); Richard Widmark ("The Cobweb") and John Wayne ("Blood Alley").
Marilyn Monroe's on the far right but Bogie only has eyes for Bacall
Of course, in "To Have and Have Not," Bacall hardly seems 19. There's a maturity and confidence that belies her youth, and she only aged with grace and strength.
Subsequent films paired her with Rock Hudson ("Written on the Wind"), Gregory Peck ("Designing Woman") and Henry Fonda ("Sex and the Single Girl"), among others.
And when Bacall slipped into supporting-character parts, she was still on the A-list, in such films as "Harper," "Murder On the Orient Express," "Misery," "The Mirror Has Two Faces," "Dogville," etc.
She also achieved acclaim as a writer for her autobiography ("By Myself") and she conquered Broadway, especially with two musicals that sprang from vintage movies, "Applause" (based on "All About Eve") and "Woman of the Years" (based on the Tracy-Hepburn comedy), both of which earned Bacall Tony Awards. (She received an honorary Oscar in 2009.)
There aren't a lot of Golden-Age movie stars left now and it's always sad when they leave us. But I'm grateful to live in a day and age when their movies are so accessible, helping us to keep their memories alive.