Joan Crawford and Humphrey Bogart are known as two of the biggest movie stars of all time. Combined Crawford and Bogart appeared in over one hundred and sixty feature films. Crawford’s career lasted longer than Bogart’s. He passed away in 1957 and she in 1977. For much of their careers they worked for different movie studios. However, for nearly a ten year span both were making movies for Warner Bros. That time frame, 1943 to 1952, was the height of both actor’s fame. One would think that they would have appeared together in at least one movie. Somehow the pairing never happened.
Throughout the course of Crawford’s career she worked with many of Hollywood’s biggest leading men. Some of the names included Clark Gable, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, James Stewart and Spencer Tracy. Bogart over the course of his career worked with many of the leading women of the time. Actresses such as Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Joan Blondell, Barbara Stanwyck and Katherine Hepburn.
I am sure there was a valid reason that two of the biggest stars of the time never appeared together. Perhaps we will never know the answer. This is where one has to apply their imagination. Had the two stars appeared together what kind of film would it have been? The studio would have been Warner Bros. during the 1940’s. Both actors worked with many of the biggest directors of the time. Between the two they worked with directors such as John Ford, Otto Preminger, Nicholas Ray, John Huston, Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks and Lloyd Bacon. The obvious choice to direct this film would have been Michael Curtiz. He was the director for what are arguably Crawford’s and Bogart’s most known films. Those movies are Mildred Pierce for Crawford and Casablanca for Bogart.
The ideas for a plot would have been endless. One possibility could have the pair co-starring as a seeming ordinary couple. However their lives are about to be turned upside down when her secret past is revealed. Another idea could have Bogart playing a married mobster. He believes that Crawford, his wife, is unaware of his underworld dealings. She is fully aware, yet she turns a blind eye because she enjoys the lifestyle he provides. In another scenario Crawford plays a well respected woman of high society. In a chance encounter she meets Bogart, a working class man. The two fall for one another and carry on a secret love affair. If their relationship is exposed she risks losing her social standing, her friends, her family and possibly even her job. With stars like Joan Crawford and Humphrey Bogart the possibilities would have been boundless.
It is curious that Crawford and Bogart were never paired together. Surely the thought crossed someones mind. All of these many years later it seems like it would have been a great idea. Would the two have worked well together? For better of worse we may never know. Perhaps that would have been a great title for their movie together, For Better Or Worse.