Some people might have gone back to work, visited their therapist (advice for this can be found here). I thought a week in Key Largo and the third Humphrey Bogart Film Festival seemed a good idea.
When I used to live in San Sebastian i used to attend that amazing film festival and they were crazy enough to give me a press pass. There is a classic video of me and Kate Beckinsale (one of my favourite actors) in a press conference for CLICK discussing......Another of me discussing the carbon offset with Ben Stiller for Tropical Thunder and another with Robert Downey Junior asking him if his political views had changed since getting out of jail. Ahhh those were the days. The San Sebastian Film Festival this year was celebrating its 63rd year so the Humphrey Bogart Festival has a little way to go.
The main attractions were Stephen Bogart, son of Bogie and Bacall who hosts the festival. Joining him was Eddie Muller. Eddie, is known internationally as the "Czar of Noir," and other associated guests.
There were 15 films with a focus on Bogart and Bacall as I was also working on two papers and the new book and trying to go swimming i manged to see seven films over the festival. Trailers for all can be found here.
My top seven in order of which I enjoyed are:
- The Big Sleep
- The African Queen
- Key Largo
- Maltese Falcon
- The Treasure of Sierra Madre
I had the pleasure to watch Casablanca on a large outdoor screen after the Bogart Block Party where they were serving free Humphrey Bogart gin from an Ice Bar.
The following day I was at a panel discussion on the films and what was interesting, and which of course we would not think about now, is that the ending of Casablanca was always going to be with the husband and wife leaving on the plane. Why you may ask, because in 1942 it would not have got past the film sensors that the wife stayed with Rick (Bogart).
By the way what most people don't realise is that there were only three Americans actually in Casablanca the rest were immigrants.
Casablanca’s Rick Blaine played chess because Humphrey Bogart loved chess (he once held a grandmaster to a draw). Similarly, the reason most of Bogie’s characters mainlined gin was... well, you can probably guess. So the forthcoming Bogart’s Gin (real English gin) makes sense. 'Never trust a man that doesn't drink'. In the shooting of the African Queen which was done in Belgium Congo everyone but Bogart and the director John Huston went down with some form of dysentery because all they drank was gin.
What some people dont know is that the original Rat Pack was a group of actors originally centered on their leader, Humphrey Bogart and included Frank Sinatra (pack master), Judy Garland (first vice-president), Bacall (den mother), Sid Luft (cage master), Bogart (rat in charge of public relations), Swifty Lazar (recording secretary and treasurer), Nathaniel Benchley (historian), David Niven, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, George Cukor, Cary Grant, Rex Harrison, and Jimmy Van Heusen.
In the mid-1960s it was the name used by the press and the general public to refer to a later variation of the group, after Bogart's death in 1957, that called itself "the Summit" or "the Clan," featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop; they appeared together on stage and in films in the early 1960s, including the movies Ocean's 11, Sergeants 3, and Robin and the 7 Hoods (in the last film, Bing Crosby replaced Lawford). Sinatra, Martin, and Davis were regarded as the group's lead members.
If you have not yet seen Casablanca its definitely a great film and in the American Film Institute's top 100 films of all time it is number 3 only beaten by Citizen Kane and Godfather.
While in Key Largo I took the chance to take a ride in the African Queen. I didn't pour any of the gin into the water but it was an interesting experience to sit in the actual boat that had been in the film in Belgium Congo and itself had a fascinating journey to be moored just next to my hotel. But that is one ill leave you to find out.
Already thinking about next year and which film festival I should think of going to. Maybe ill have raised the $250,000 for the Father Christmas and Climate Change story to convert it into a 20 minute cartoon and I will be as they say 'in competition' at a festival.