Philippe Halsman (1906–1979)
Gelatin silver print, 1944
Humphrey Bogart remains the most iconic American male actor in history. Raised in an upper-class family and sent to private schools from which he was often expelled, Bogart was a natural rebel and showed more talent for playing gangsters and tough guys than leading men. During the Great Depression, he studied the vernacular speech and gestures of working-class men, and on the eve of America’s entry into World War II, he created a new heroic type—the cool, ethical rebel loner. As Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1941) and as Rick Blaine in Casablanca (1942), Bogart embodied the snarky independence of the rugged individualist of American myth. As detective, criminal, or soldier, he projected inner command in High Sierra (1941), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), and Key Largo (1948). Yet his best roles included star turns as psychopaths, journalists, or cops. Married to Lauren Bacall, who cut his on-screen toughness with her own sass, he made “Bogart” a global brand name for stoic resilience in the postwar era.