Thursday, August 14, 2014

Another Loss

As the world mourns at the news of Robin Williams' suicide, I learned yesterday of another loss. On August 12th, film legend Lauren Baccall died of a stroke at 89.

Hardly a tragedy, you might say, when she lived such a long and productive life. Indeed, her passing reminds me how much I loved her many movies. I read her biography By Myself a few years after it came out, and was captivated as much by her intelligence as by her unassuming nature.

Younger readers might not be aware that she met her future husband Humphrey Bogart on the set of her first film, "To Have and Have Not", at the tender age of nineteen. Bogart was forty four. Doesn't that sound like the premise for a romance novel? Gruff, world-weary actor falls for sharp-tongued but innocent ingenue... They went on to make some of the most romantic movies of all time. The sparks they struck on the screen obviously reflected their real-world passion. 

Of course, in the real world, we only have happy endings for a while. Bogart died at age 57. A mere thirteen years together - but together they produced works of art to be treasured. 

I want to watch some of them again: "To Have and Have Not", "The Big Sleep", "Key Largo" - to savor her razor-sharp wit and understated sultriness. Someone like Lauren Baccall appears only once in a very long while. She will be missed - and remembered.


Annabeth Leong said...

A beautiful tribute, Lisabet, and I heartily agree. Last night, I discovered that my partner has never seen To Have and Have Not, and I immediately wanted to re-watch all the movies you mentioned.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thanks for dropping by, Annabeth!

One thing I love about films from the early days is that they're free from genre-tyranny. These days many movies, like book, are slotted into particular categories and end up following a set of stereotypes associated with that category. Things were more fluid in the forties and fifties - even the sixties. Even directors who worked for the big movie studios could afford to experiment.

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