October 03, 2009

Big Stars

For what it's worth, The American Film Institute has a list (updated in '07) of their 100 best American films of all time. Bogart played the lead in four - Casablanca (#3), The Maltese Falcon (#31), Treasure of the Sierra Madre (#38), and The African Queen (#65). (The African Queen saw the biggest decline of any film remaining on the list from 1997, falling all the way from #17.)

Are those the four Thomson was thinking of? Can you really leave The Big Sleep off a list like that? They did, anyway.

So who has more than four? One guy, maybe two.

Jimmy Stewart has five - Vertigo, It's a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Philadelphia Story, and Rear Window.

DeNiro has four, plus The Godfather, Part II.

The AFI also has a list of big stars - Bogart is #1 on that one, which kind of surprises me. I'd have thought they'd have taken someone a little less quirky - Cary Grant or John Wayne, maybe.

Bogart was a good chessplayer - good enough to draw with Reshevsky in a simultaneous exhibition. That's very good.

And he could act a little:

Of that performance Bogart said (according to Thomson): "I don't know whether [Queeg] was a schizophrenic, a manic-depressive, or a paranoiac - ask a psychiatrist - but I do know that a person who has any one of these things works overtime at being normal. In fact he's super normal until pressured. And then he blows up. I personally know a Queeg in every studio..."


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