Bogart divorced his washed-up third wife in 1945 and married Lauren Bacall at Luis Bromfield's Malabar Farm, on 21st May 1945. His relationship and marriage with Bacall is the most splendorous phase in Bogart's life; John Huston asked an evening if somebody wanted to relive a part of their lives, only Bogart said: "When I was courting Betty [Bacall was born Betty Joan]".
The book by Sperber and Lax doesn't gloss over the more prosaic and obscure side of Bogart when they report his aggressions towards his wife Mayo, a long affair with his hairdresser Verita Thompson, and diverse remembrances: his lucky Oxford shoes at Grauman's Chinese, Spencer Tracy (the first who calls him Bogey) etc., that shed light and shadows on Bogie's brumous personality, a special chapter covering his trip to Washington to defend the blacklisted artists in Hollywood (accused by the House of Un-American Activities Committee of communism for their "New Deal" support), brusquely finished with a benign declaration by Bogart (afraid of a boycott on his films and pressed by Jack Warner) that some participants as Larry Adler found insufficient.
Huston, Bogart, William Wyler, will denounce the terror and hysteria provoked by HUAC. However, his previous press conference in Chicago (3rd December 1947) was the prevalent in Bogart's memory. Richard Brooks says Bogie was smart enough for anticipating this defeat; years later, Bogart confesses to Brooks how he had hoped to achieve more in his life, while they watched A Star is Born, a film whose ending moved Bogie to tears. He had always complained of his enslaved early years acting in clinkers: "I made more lousy pictures than any actor in history."
Another vivid anecdote that finds Bogie at Gotham Hotel (waiting for Lauren Bacall's arrival to Grand Central Station, New York), in company of a Warner agent exposes his self-consuming tension. Incapable of relaxing, Bogie forced his publicity agent to call a masseur three times in a row (who had to take the metro from Brooklyn).
"The combination of grandiosity, self-destructiveness, and panic with which Hollywood reacted to the audience's desertion is the subtext of Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place (1950), which is set in the jittery Hollywood of 1949." (Bogart, playing a near-psychotic screenwriter says to restaurateur-conman Mike Romanoff, playing himself: 'How is business?', Romanoff: 'Like show business. There's no business'." Shades of Noir (1993) by Joan Copjec.
My favorite performance of Bogart is In a Lonely Place (1950) directed by Nicholas Ray, although his most renowned performances are "The African Queen" (awarded with an Oscar for his role Charlie Allnut), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Caine Mutiny, and Casablanca, all of them essential and unforgettable. Very touching was his lasting performance as a torn sportswriter in The Harder They Fall who chooses to make a last act of goodness.