Lauren Bacall was one of the sexiest and most elegant stars of the 1940s and 1950s. On screen, she was often seen in sharp little suits and slinky evening gowns – which still look utterly fabulous today. Here’s how she looked teaching Humphrey Bogart to whistle (“You just put your lips together and blow… “) in her debut movie To Have And Have Not, in 1944 when she was 19 years old.
She had a different checked suit but a similarly sultry pout and sullen mood in her second movie with Bogie, The Big Sleep, the archetypal film noir, which was made in 1946 not long after their marriage.
As the spoilt daughter of a wealthy colonel, Bacall’s character Vivian spent a fair bit of time in the casino – and this black satin gown with the cutaway midriff made a big impression on audiences at the time.
In the noirish thriller Dark Passage (1947), Bacall played a San Francisco-based writer who lets escaped convict Bogie hide out in her dupleix while he recovers from the plastic surgery which he hopes will make him unrecognisable. Bacall looks quite different in this film, with her hair tied up in a super-feminine chignon.
Bogie and Bacall’s final film together was John Huston’s atmospheric thriller Key Largo, in 1948. This film featured Bacall’s most relaxed wardrobe to date, and she looks the picture of laid-back elegance in this simple ensemble.
Searching for photos of Bacall for this item, I stumbled across this shot which looks like it could have been taken during the filming of the 1950 melodrama Young Man With a Horn, in which Bacall played a jazz-loving ingenue.