xoxoxoe, #24, Humphrey Bogart: The Making of A Legend by Darwin Porter, #CBR3

Here is an excerpt from my review of my #24 book, Humphrey Bogart: The Making of A Legend, by Darwin Porter, on my blog, xoxoxo e:

When he isn’t outing actors Porters’s cataloging sexual trysts that occurred over 80 years ago. If he was revealing something that everyone didn’t already know about Hollywood, that many actors and actresses had to (and still have to, or choose to) sleep with someone to get ahead, it might be more interesting. But the sheer purported volume of Bogie’s liaisons, true or not, becomes numbing. By the time he had supposedly fallen in love with co-star Ingrid Bergman during Casablanca I had long ceased to care. Lauren Bacall is strangely given short-shrift, treated as not a great romance, but a side note, as Porter instead concentrates on Bogie’s hairdresser (who supplied hairpieces and wigs in the ’40s and ’50s to conceal his rapidly receding hairline) and alleged mistress Verita Thompson, going so far as to include two images of covers of her highly suspect tell-all, Bogie and Me.

… all of these revelations soon lose any impact they might have had as long bogus conversations soon make the book read like fiction rather than biography or even gossip. Except Humphrey Bogart, The Making of A Legend is not even on par with a trashy romance novel, as everyone only talks about one thing — how to get laid or how they just got laid. I have no doubt that Broadway in the ’20s and Hollywood in the ’30s and ’40s was a bawdy place, but surely the conversations were more interesting than this purported post-coital one between Bogie and Barbara Stanwyck:

“It was Mae Clarke who taught me the joy of lesbian love. But, as you also know from tonight, I’m not completely weaned from men either. I don’t want to deny myself any pleasure. Too much was denied me as a girl. As a woman, I’ll go after what I want. If I want to get fucked by a man, you know I can go for that the way I bagged you tonight. If I want a woman, I’ll chase her down and get her. I’ve already set my sights on that blonde German bitch, Dietrich. Who knows? Marlene and me might become a thing.”

“Invite me over,” Hump said. “From what I’ve seen of Dietrich I’d go for her in a minute. …”

If that sort of stilted dialogue trying to pass as “oral history” sounds interesting to you, then by all means, go ahead. There’s 501 more pages of this shit (a word Porter claims Bogart hated and refused to use). At the end of the book the publisher, Blood Moon Productions, is described as “publishing that applies the tabloid standards of today to the tinseltown scandals of yesterday.” That pretty much sums it up.

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