There’s a new biography of Humphrey Bogart. From the write up in the New York Times Book Review:
Experience had engraved itself on his face. By the time his film breakthrough came, he was 42 and already wearing the vestiges of betrayal, loss and resignation that would bring the shadow of a back story to every role he played. Photographs of Bogart in the 1920s, when he was in his 20s, show a bright-eyed, smooth-cheeked actor whose features haven’t set yet. The transformation took place before we made his acquaintance. The Bogart we came to know on the screen was mature when he arrived, with compressed emotions, an economy of gesture and a compact grace in movements that were wary and self-contained, as if all the world were not a stage but a minefield. Kanfer’s book takes its title from Raymond Chandler, who approved of the decision to cast Bogart in “The Big Sleep” as Philip Marlowe, the hard-boiled detective he had created, because Bogart could be “tough without a gun.”
…Bogart’s appeal was and remains completely adult — so adult that it’s hard to believe he was ever young. If men who take responsibility are hard to come by in films these days, it’s because they’re hard to come by, period, in an era when being a kid for life is the ultimate achievement, and “adult” as it pertains to film is just a euphemism for pornography.
One of the reasons I like Benicio Del Toro is because he’s got a face with some character. So many of the leading men today are hopelessly pretty, and when it comes to playing tough, they just don’t cut it.