Hello everybody. Mister Joe Morella and Mister Frank Segers here again. MRS. Norman Maine is out getting pizza.
We know that you have all been waiting breathlessly for the other shoe to drop in our Humphrey Bogart Quiz. How well have you all done so far?
OK, don’t give up hope.
And keep in mind that we deliberately avoided the easier questions in order to genuinely test your knowledge of America’s most enduring Hollywood star. So, without further fanfare, here’s the answer to the final question.
QUESTION: Who turned down the role of Sam Spade in “The Maltese Falcon”, and then bitterly resented Bogart’s success in the role?
ANSWER: Although it had been filmed twice before and had bombed each time at the box office, director John Huston decided that author Dashiell Hammett’s crime masterpiece “The Maltese Falcon” deserved another shot. He was right. But before anyone knew that, Huston had to contend with a studio front office that insisted that actor George Raft be offered the role of Same Spade, which Bogie made his own. Raft’s career was tapering off at Warner Bros. but the personally intimidating actor (he had mob connections that frightened even hardened studio moguls) still had sufficient clout to get first dibs on leading parts. As Huston crisply recalled, “This time it was George Raft who had to be offered (the Sam Spade) role first. Raft turned it down; he didn’t want to work with an inexperienced director.” A relieved Huston said that he “fell heir to Bogie, for which I was duly thankful.” Bogart “was not particularly impressive offscreen,” said Huston, “but something happened when he was playing the right part.” Something did happen to Bogie’s career thanks to the huge success of “Falcon,” and Raft knew and resented Bogart’s success in the picture. Raft would later grumble, “there but for the grace of me, go I.”
But Raft, who supposedly had been one of Mae West’s lovers in his early days in New York, worked right up until his death. He’s remembered for many roles, most notably as the gangster in “Some Like It Hot.”