8/3/18

BOGIE BLOOPERS



Here's five minutes of Humphrey Bogart forgetting his lines (or 'going up' as the English say). Like all blooper reels, the fun is not the mistakes themselves but the opportunity to be, as viewers, part of the movie set experience of the long, dead past. We hear the offstage voices of directors assuring the actor that it's okay, that they can 'pick it up' (i.e. not have to begin the scene from the top but instead resume from shortly before the line was dropped) and, in some cases, we hear a bell go off when an actor screws up. This suggests to me an on-set running gag--somebody (probably the prop man) rang a bell when an actor forgot his lines, causing a brief burst of hilarity from all which was probably thought to lesson the tension on the set. (They sure as hell wouldn't be welcome with their funny little bell on my set, that's for damn sure).

Perhaps the most interesting part of seeing Bogie breakdown is studying his own reactions. Unlike many actors who laugh at their own screw-ups, Bogie gets very angry and frustrated with himself. His common reaction is a harshly delivered 'Goddamn it!' and several times you can hear the director in the background quickly offering an 'it's okay Bogie', as if they were accustomed to his temper getting the better of him which no doubt led to further breakdowns, a downward spiral that could only have made for an unpleasant workday. As I don't hear any accented off-camera voices, I have to assume that the directors offering their encouragement were not Michael Curtiz or Anatole Litvak, but perhaps Raoul Walsh, William Keighley or Edmund Goulding (definitely the latter as there's one from 'Dark Victory'). And there's also a goof from 'To Have and Have Not', so we know that Howard Hawks was there to calm his apparently hard-on-himself star.

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