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Lauren Bacall — a true great

13 August 2014

11:15 AM

13 August 2014

11:15 AM

As so often, no one put it better than Papa. Here is Ernest Hemingway talking of all the movies made from his novels and short stories:

‘The only two I could sit through were The Killers and To Have and Have Not — I guess Ava Gardner and Lauren Bacall had a lot to do with it.’

Mr S can’t say fairer than that of Lauren Bacall, who has died at the age of 89.


Bacall was, however, rather more than a husky voice and a sultry look. In 1981 she starred in The Fan, in which she played a middle-aged film star idolised by a demented fan (played by Douglas Breem) who mutilates or kills those close to the object of his desire. But the ageing star’s beauty has faded, and bears only passing resemblance to the youthful image that captivates the fan. Peter Ackroyd reviewed the film for The Spectator. Here is what he wrote of Bacall:

When we first see her she is tired and lined, like a goddess who, back in the relative safety of Olympus, takes off her fillets of gold and her bracelets of ivory. It does not take courage to be old but, for an actress, it takes a great deal of courage to look old; and Miss Bacall has, as it were, thrown caution to the winds.

Mr S remembers seeing Lauren Bacall in New York a few years ago. Boy did she look old; but, boy was she magnificent. She still exuded the strength of character for which she was famous as a young woman. A true great.

Lauren Bacall pictured in 2007. (Image: Getty)

Lauren Bacall pictured in 2007. (Image: Getty)

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  • Colonel Mustard

    Lauren Bacall was a very nice girl who didn’t need the bogus crutch of feminism to assert herself. She stood an equal to any man by dint of her quality and stands head and shoulders above the po-faced, helmet-haired, whining communist femi-bores in the Labour party who can see merit only in forcing people to do stuff that degrades and disempowers everyone.

  • swatnan

    She, and Honor Blackman, really did age well.

  • Kitty MLB

    Lauren Becall was grace, elegance and with sexual allure and
    she knew it ( that’s not a crime, there are just some women men
    find attractive)
    Confidence and strength of character,but not a mawkish miss
    and a very good actress not my favourite from that time but
    still very good.
    One of the very few times I watch TV is to see such actresses,
    in old films, usually curled up on the sofa.
    I really must see Rosemary’s Baby at some point…not one of
    her’s I know.

  • Magnolia

    Wasn’t sexism fantastic!
    God I miss it….
    The days when men were men and women were not frightened of being feminine instead of all this metrosexual tripe.
    My hairdresser today didn’t even know who Becall was.
    Not surprising really because actors are simply just not great any more.

    • rob232

      Very few young people know anything about old movies and aged actors.They know about new movies and modern actors.
      All glory is temporary.

      • Fenton!

        Unless you’re Shakespeare, Mozart, Haydn, Jane Austen, Horatio Nelson, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill….

  • Daviejohn

    You have made Bogie wait awhile Lauren,but I am sure he will light one up for you on arrival. RIP

    • Kitty MLB

      A lady who keeps a man on his toes, and waiting a while.
      I’m sure the grizzly faced Bogie will be pleased to see her.

  • Wolf Baginski

    Lauren Bacall is the woman who made a generation whistle.

    And then she went one for the rest of her life as an actress, working.

    Both things made her special.