More Than an Icon of Cinema and Style

Humphrey Bogart; a perennial favourite of cinephiles and sartorial enthusiasts the world over - synonymous with the classic period of American film noir and equally so with classical tailoring. 

Though his name has been etched into the annals of silver screen history - named as the greatest male star of classic American cinema by the American Film Institute - the road to success for Bogart was long, winding and arduous. 

In fact, were it not for a strike of good fortune in his previous on-screen counterparts (to whom he played second fiddle) in George Raft and James Cagney turning down the lead role in the 1941 classic, High Sierra, it is likely that Humphrey Bogart would never have transcended the role of the villain and landed a leading role.


Breaking Free From the Villain Typecast

Up until that point, Bogart was typecast as the 'heavy' in a string of B movie crime dramas.

In his own words:

"I can't get in a mild discussion without turning it into an argument. There must be something in my tone of voice, or this arrogant face - something that antagonises everybody. Nobody likes me on sight. I suppose that's why I'm cast as the heavy." 

Reflecting on his first 34 movies for Warner Brothers, Bogart lamented:

"I was shot in 12, electrocuted or hanged in 8, and was a jailbird in 9"

Only in 1941 - after nearly a decade as a supporting actor - Bogart landed the leading role in High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca respectively. 

The tectonic plates of cinema (and sartorialism) would shift forevermore.

Seminal Cinema and Seminal Style

Decades later, and Humphrey Bogart is a household name - we recall such seminal performances, and of course, his seminal sartorial style. 

His movies still watched by millions who appreciate his perfectly timed quips and charm. 

His style - defined by double breasted pinstripe suits, trench coats, trilby hats, three-piece ensembles, the iconic white double breasted shawl lapel dinner jacket he donned in Casablanca, and the three button patch pocket sports coats he wore so effortlessly off-screen - are still admired the world over by those with a penchant for classic menswear.


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