A friend asked me in the comments ( if there were any similarities between the chapters of the novel I was posting and the real story of Bogart and Bacall. She asking if a story element, “sympathy as an aphrodisiac”, came into play with Bacall’s feeling for Bogart. I thought I’d better post my response.

They were crazy about each other. She may have been sympathetic to the fact he was in a horrible and violent marriage (Mayo Methot came after him with a knife) – but he was a huge star at that point and he went out of his way to set her at ease and joke away her nerves on her first movie, “To Have and Have Not”. I think it was some months into shooting before the romance blossomed… Meta Carpenter Wilde (a script supervisor who wrote a memoir about her own relationship with the author, Faulkner) commented that no one saw it coming, but when they did fall for each they were very open about how they felt. Howard Hawks was terrible to them and lectured and berated Bacall until she broke down in tears. Bogart,  when he found out what Hawks had done told the director in no uncertain terms that if he didn’t lay off he, Bogart, would walk and shut down production (at that point they were all working on “The Big Sleep”).

The newlyweds:


  1. George Kaplan

    That’s lovely. Bogart certainly wasn’t perfect but sometimes he was a stand-up guy. The romance and relationsip between himself and Betty Bacall was fabulous. And it’s all the better because it was non-conventional, both were strong yet vulnerable, and they didn’t look like Barbie and Ken. The aphrodisiac they had was each other, regardless of differing age, “looks”, or anything else.
    Wonderful exposition, Vickie! I always loved the tale of Bogie taking a stand against Hawks 😉 Romantic…

  2. That wedding shot is at Malabar Farm in Mansfield, Ohio, right? Home of Louis Bromfield, whose books made some big Hollywood hits and him some big Hollywood friends. Case in point being the wedding of these two at his house out here in fly over country!

    • They had screen chemistry – I was trying to think of a contemporary screen couple that sizzled or felt *real* – how about the little screen – James Gandolfini and Edie Falco? I know… doesn’t have the same zing.

  3. My mom grew up in Mansfield, 10 minutes from Malabar Farm, and I lived in the area until I was 9. (The rest of my childhood/early adulthood was spent an our south, in Columbus). It is an amazing place to visit, and the Bogart/Bacall wedding is only one of the reasons why. At 15, I walked up to the stair case Lauren walked down on her way to Bogie, and I was in awe. It is pretty fantastic.

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