Feb 9, 2014
Humphrey Bogart Comes Out of the Closet
1. The war intrigue. It's as important as the hetero-romance.
2. The gay subtexts. Every man in Casablanca is in love with Rick, and the fade-out scene shows Captain Renault offering to go away with him, as he quips "This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
3. The humor. Humphrey Bogart tosses out sardonic one-liners with the ease of a Woody Allen. He could easily have been a comedian.
Bogie was the most famous actor of his generation, winning five Oscars for 86 film roles, mostly as suave, sophisticated guys with troubled pasts and passionate hetero-romances. Also strong gay subtexts, at least in the movies I've seen:
Dead End (1937): Baby-faced gangster (Bogie) and architect (Joel McCrea) compete for the body and soul of a teenage hood.
Angels with Dirty Faces (1938): Same plot, only baby-faced gangster (James Cagney) and priest (Pat O'Brien).
The Maltese Falcon (1941): Detective Sam Spade (Bogie) wrests the mysterious statue from the hands of a gay criminal.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948): Gold prospectors (Bogie, Tim Holt) get more than they bargained for.
Knock on Any Door (1949): Attorney Bogie is in love with his hunky young protege (John Derek, below).
I really should see Key Largo, The African Queen, The Caine Mutiny, Sabrina, The Barefoot Contessa, and We're No Angels.
The occasional guy amid his thousand or so women made Bogie wonder about his sexual identity, especially when he found himself impotent with second wife Mary Philips (1928-37). Was he gay? The thought filled him with self-loathing; he considered suicide.
Wait -- he had no problem with gay people, yet grew suicidal over the thought that he might personally be gay. Something doesn't add up here.
This all comes from Darwin Porter's obviously fictionalized biography. One doesn't find any references to Bogie being bisexual in earlier accounts of Hollywood "scandals."
A life full of beautiful friendships.