Julie Bestry's Reviews > Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart

Tough Without a Gun by Stefan Kanfer
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Dec 09, 11

Read from December 06 to 09, 2011

I was unimpressed with the biography and the author. Kanfer seemed a little taken with himself, lapsing into Spanish or French or Italian adverbs (lamentablemente) for little reason other than to call attention to himself as storyteller. And yet, he barely tells the story, or a least a story worth hearing.

More paragraphs were devoted to Bogie's wife Mayo Methot than to Lauren Bacall. Granted, Methot was wackadoodle and colorful, but Kanfer seems intent on repeating the same few details about Bacall -- she was breathy and young, she had a crush on Adlai Stevenson, and she washed Bogart's socks during the filming of The African Queen. Twice as much space is given to forgettable films as to Casablanca, The Big Sleep or Mutiny on the Bounty. There are some colorful anecdotes, including one about a stuffed panda, but there's no depth, no sense that any of these living and breathing human beings were anything more than two-dimensional script characters.

Unless you're a completist and must read everything ever written about Bogart, feel free to skip this one.
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