BOGART: In Defense of My Wife page 3
Anyway, she was kept in the picture and was made the goat when it was shown. No one panned Charles Boyer, for he was an established star with many fine performances to his credit, but she had to stand or fall on only one previous effort.
Betty is the most honest person I have ever known. She admitted freely that she wasn't good in the picture and that's a pretty hard thing for a kid to do after she has been shot right up to the top. Now she's out to show them. She won't quit until she does that, and I'm backing her up all the way.
Boyer and Bacall in "Confidential Agent"
RIGHT on the heels of the "Confidential Agent" blow the Hollywood Women's Press Club held its annual meeting to vote on the most cooperative and the most uncooperative players of the year. I got wind of the fact that Betty was in line for the booby prize. She was running neck and neck for this socko with Greer Garson. I began phoning my newspaper friends asking them to vote for Betty. I put on a regular campaign to boost her into the cellar for her so-called non-cooperative attitude. I told my newspaper friends that we really ought to have an award of some kind in our family and I begged them to vote for Betty instead of Garson.
Betty was very much amused, of course, by my frantic efforts to get her a slap in the face and that, of course, is why I did it. I was afraid she really might get that booby prize and if she did it would go hard with her unless I could find some way of kidding her about it. Actually, she didn't win, but it was a close call.
And why this attitude on the part of the members of the Women's Press Club? Betty had fourteen magazine interviews in that past year. Out of the fourteen she had been able to keep her appointments with twelve of the interviewers. One of these wanted a life story which she felt she wasn't ready for, the other was on a deadline and couldn't wait. Some thirty or forty members voted for her as being uncooperative. How come? Most of the members had never met her at all.
I get a big kick from the way Betty takes things in her stride. Before we got married she had lived all her life in small apartments in New York and Hollywood. After we were married we bought a house up in the hills, a nice, comfortable house with plenty of room, and Betty pitched right in and learned how to run it.
It's the same with the boat. She had never been sailing in her life and knew nothing about boats. She didn't know whether she would be any good at it or not, but when we planned to marry she told me she was going to learn the seafaring life--or else! She said that since she loved me it was up to her to love the things that interested me. In a few months she could handle a sailboat as well as anyone with limited experience.
I think that ability of hers to learn and to conform to the rules in all kinds of activities shows in her acting. She's a good actress, not the greatest, not the most inspired maybe, but she's got the stuff in her. There are very few really great actresses on the screen. There are great personalities and I think Betty is one of these. She has a simple, direct way of delivering her lines which gives her a distinct individuality. Furthermore, we work well together. We have fun on the set and we both get a kick out of going over our lines and studying our parts at night. I think "The Big Sleep" will show some of Betty's real qualities as an actress. I'm not going to stick my neck out with any prediction.
Let's all wait and see.
Bacall and Bogart on "The Big Sleep" set
from Photoplay, June 1946
Bijou Menu ~ 40s Post-War Features