My Icons of the Big (and Small) Screen: Part One

Back when she was known as Betty Bacall, Howard Hawks’ wife Nancy saw her on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar and urged her husband to sign up the young star. He took her to Hollywood, changed her name to Lauren and a star was born.  Thrown into To Have and Have Not as her first film opposite Humphrey Bogart where she developed her ‘look’. To cover up her nerves she would have her chin down on her chest and lifted her eyes upwards, audiences fell in love with her, as did her co-star Bogart.

Bacall has always been an icon of mine not just because she is my namesake (although on hearing that’s who my father named me after I sought out to see her in this film), but she used her nerves to work for her making her seem effortlessly cool. Her distinctive low voice, cool dress sense and unmistakable talent make her an icon. Her character “Slim” is clever, sexy and funny. She is more than a match for the hero of the film. And then of course there’s this line:

“You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow.”

Nothing else to say.

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