Category Archives: Humphrey Bogart

Black Legion

Cover of "Black Legion"

Cover of Black Legion

Directed by Archie Mayo & Michael Curtiz (uncredited)
Produced by Robert Lord
Written by Story: Robert Lord
Screenplay: Abem Finkel & William Wister Haines
Starring Humphrey Bogart
Dick Foran
Erin O’Brien-Moore
Ann Sheridan
Music by W. Franke Harling, Howard Jackson & Bernhard Kaun (all uncredited)
Cinematography George Barnes
Editing by Owen Marks
Studio Warner Bros.
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) January 17, 1937 (NYC)
January 30, 1937 (US)
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Black Legion is a 1937 film that depicts an offshoot of the notorious Ku Klux Klan. Many of the messages contained in the film are just as poignant today as they were 70+ years ago, that is that in times of trouble that it is easy to blame and scapegoat migrants. Having recently read the ramblings of a Melbourne white supremacist who among other things labelled me a ‘race traitor’, shows that despite what some people say, deep racism is still around. Just by browsing the Anti-Bogan website you can see just how warped some people still are about these things.

In Black Legion Humphrey Bogart plays Frank Taylor, a factory worker who gets passed over for a promotion at his job, which goes to Polish American Henry Brandon. Taylor ends up falling for the propaganda of the Black Legion, a clandestine white supremicist organisation. Thanks to the ideas promoted by the Legion, Taylor begins to blame foreigners for his woes. There are consequences for Taylor as he loses his wife and child and then murders his best friend after letting slip his membership of the Legion.

The film is very well acted and the young Bogart is great. This was still a year or so before he became a big star. The film is a little preachy, but it is still totally absorbing.


Sabrina

Directed by Billy Wilder
Produced by Billy Wilder
Written by Samuel A. Taylor (play Sabrina Fair)
Billy Wilder & Ernest Lehman
Starring Humphrey Bogart
Audrey Hepburn
William Holden
Music by Frederick Hollander
Cinematography Charles Lang
Editing by Arthur P. Schmidt
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date September 9, 1954 London premiere
Running time 113 min

 

I don’t usually watch too many romantic comedies. You many think that this is a little prejudiced of me but I find that most modern romantic movies are riddled with clichés. Usually boy meets girl, they discover that they have nothing in common, they fight and bicker and come to hate each other but in the end they find that opposites attract and they find true love. The End. It’s been done so many times in the recent past and it has become stale and boring.

I am happy to report that Sabrina was a lot better film than I expected. The performances from Hepburn and Bogart are terrific whilst Holden plays a great comic relief part. The film is the classic Cinderella story where a girl from the working class background meets her Prince Charming but there are a lot of twists and turns that Billy Wilder has put in to make this film a unique experience. Whilst Hepburn plays the central character in the film it is Bogart whose performance is the best, as we see his growth from a work obsessed corporate suit into a romantic fool after falling in love with Sabrina. He was of course known for his tough guy roles so it is quite refreshing to see him play someone who ends up being so fragile and human. While this film helped to make Hepburn a star and a sophisticated sex symbol of the 1950s it is Bogart’s performance that makes this film so enjoyable.