The definitive biography of one of the great movie icons of the twentieth century, and a wide-reaching appraisal of the actor's singular legacy.
It's hard to think of anyone who has had the same kind of impact on the culture of movies as Humphrey Bogart. Though he died at age fifty-seven more than half a century ago, his stature hasn't faltered, and his influence among actors and filmmakers is as strong as ever. What gives this man, with his lisp and unconventional looks, such a unique place in our culture? To answer that question, Stefan Kanfer follows Bogart from his privileged but problematic childhood, through his hard-won success (more than thirty films before his breakthrough at the age of forty), to the years of his unqualified stardom, during which he made a string of film masterpieces. He examines Bogart's friendships, his four marriages, and his working relationships with directors and actors. And through it all, he paints a background of the social and cultural context--in particular, of the changing image of masculinity in the movies--in which Humphrey Bogart became, for all time, the one and only Bogie.
"Stefan Kanfer's excellent new book, Tough Without A Gun: The Life And Extraordinary Afterlife Of Humphrey Bogart, isn't exactly a biography. Though Kanfer limns the crucial milestones of Bogie's 57 years, what emerges from his book is more enlightening than an exhaustive timeline: He presents a sense of the interplay between the actor, his iconic roles, and the ever-shifting ideal of American masculinity. . . Kanfer has crafted a moving, psychologically intimate portrait of an icon that leaves some of the mystique intact."
-Meredith Blake, The Onion, AV Club
"There may be no better analysis of Bogart's mysterious and enduring appeal."
-Allen Barra, The Daily Beast "Compelling . . . An entertaining, definitive portrait."
"In this possibly definitive Bogart biography, Kanfer convincingly presents the reasons for the actor's continuing relevance . . . eminently readable."
-Roy Liebman, Library Journal (starred)
" . . . [A] revealing account of Bogart's life and legacy . . . what separates Kanfer's book from other Bogart bios . . . is the emphasis on the actor's "afterlife," the way that somehow his persona--"integrity, stoicism, sexual charisma accompanied by a cool indifference to women"--has never gone out of style. Bogart divided the world into "professionals and bums," and Kanfer makes a convincing case that, with so many bums surrounding us today, the real pros never grow stale."
-Bill Ott, Booklist
"Stefan Kanfer's Bogart biography . . . is called "Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart." It's the afterlife that matters, and the best part of Mr. Kanfer's account is his analysis of Bogart's role as what cultural historians call a "modal personality" of his time--and what a long time it has been."
-Henry Allen, The Wall Street Journal
"Kanfer rounds up the varying ways in which Bogart lives on after his death, from inspiring French New Wave directors and Woody Allen to the cult that has grown up around 'Casablanca.'"
-Chris Foran, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
" Kanfer has sounded [Bogart] out beautifully with this swift, smart, scrupulous book. It brims with insights no less piercing for the modesty with which they are framed."
-Tom Shone, Slate
." . . a deft . . . sketch . . . Kanfer's at his best when he's digging into the substance of Bogart's projects"
-Alyssa Rosnberg, TheAtlantic.com
"Kanfer . . . brings his knowledge of Hollywood and its ways to this entertaining book . . . [it] should appeal to older Bogart enthusiasts and younger movie fans discovering him for the first time. It's a readable and entertaining biography that reflects the author's delight in his subject and the world in which Bogart thrived."
-Jerry Harkavy, The Associated Press
"Kanfer . . . clearly knows every frame of Bogart's many films, [and] writes in a lively Hollywood demotic that doesn't disguise his reverence for the great actor - or the great man."
-Jane Shilling, Daily Mail (UK)
." . . insightful . . . analysis of the way that Bogart worked "
-Roger K. Miller, Chicago Sun-Times