Sunday, September 25, 2005

To Have and Have Not

Lauren Bacall wrote about her first film scene in her first movie, To Have and Have Not in "By Myself" (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; New York; 1979) on page 94:
. . . Howard [Hawks, the director] planned to do a single scene that day--my first in the picture. I walked to the door of Bogart's room, said, "Anybody got a match?," leaned against the door, and Bogart trew me a small box of matches. I lit my cigarette, looking at him, said "Thanks," threw the matches back to him, and left. Well--we rehearsed it. My hand was shaking--my head was shaking--the cigarette was shaking. I was mortified. The harder I tried to stop, the more I shook. What must Howard be thinking? What must Bogart be thinking? What must the crew be thinking? Oh God, make it stop! I was in such pain.
Bogart tried to joke me out of it--he was quite aware that I was a new young thing who knw from nothing and was scared to death. Finally Howard thought we could try a take. Silence on the set. The bell rang. I"Quiet--we're rolling," said the sound man. "Action," said Howard. this was for posterity, I thought--for real theatres, for real people to see. I came around the corner, said my first line, and Howard said, "Cut." He had broken the scene up--the first shot ended after the first line. The second set-up was the rest of it--then he'd movie in for close-ups. By the end of the third or fourth take, I realized that one way to hold my trembling head still was to keep it down, chin low, almost to my chest, and eyes up at Bogart. It worked, and turned out to be the beginning of "The Look."
Just think.
On such little things are great careers made.
Just think what Lauren Bacall could have done
if she could have just batted her eyelashes like
Miss Maven has known how to do
since childhood!!
. . .
Miss Maven can be reached at


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