Here's looking at you, Key Largo. In May, cinephiles from around the world will flock to the Upper Florida Keys (the setting of one of Humphrey Bogart's most famous movies) for the 2nd Annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival.
Hosted by Stephen Humphrey Bogart (the son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall), the four-day festival running May 1-4, 2014, will feature two cocktail parties, over 50 film screenings, panel discussions and a memorabilia exhibit. You can ride on the original African Queen and even attend a formal Bogart Ball. Film critic, Leonard Maltin, will appear as a special guest.
Stephen Bogart, son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, peruses memorabilia highlighting his father's legendary cinema career during the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival. — Photo courtesy of Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Bureau
The festival celebrates the life and films of the Oscar-Award-winning actor, and this year marks the 70th anniversary of To Have and Have Not. The gritty war thriller launched the legendary on- and off-screen chemistry between Bogie and Bacall and was 19-year-old Bacall's screen debut. Appropriately, the festival theme this year is romance.
The weekend kicks off on Thursday, May 1, with a cocktail reception and outdoor screening of Key Largo at the bayfront Murray Nelson Center. Bogart and Maltin will be on hand for the opening remarks. It's been 66 years since the movie first hit theaters in 1948. The Bogie-Bacall classic put the namesake island on the map as a tourist destination. It was also the fourth and final film that the couple made together.
Stephen Bogart chats with movie critic Leonard Maltin while riding the 100-year-old "African Queen." — Photo courtesy of Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Bureau
The festival schedule is filled with over 50 film screenings - a mix of Bogart classics and the top romantic films of all time (Think An Affair to Remember and How to Marry a Millionaire.) Over 25 different films will be featured both at the local cinema and as outdoor double features. Catch the To Have and Have Not / The African Queen double feature on Friday night and Casablanca / The African Queen on Saturday night.
In 1951, Bogart gave an Oscar-winning performance as the captain of a steamer called the African Queen. The fully-restored boat used in the movie is now docked in Key Largo, and you can book trips on it throughout the weekend.
One of the festival highlights is the Bogart Ball on Saturday night at Key Largo Hilton. The formal event starts with a private cocktail reception, including butlered hors d'oeuvres, followed by an elegant dinner and dancing in the ballroom.
You can rub elbows with Stephen Bogart, Leonard Maltin and other special guests. Local artist, Carmen Sotolongo Kelley, will paint an original work of of art, The African Queen, to be auctioned off at the end of the evening. Cuban-born J. Rodriguez, Sr. will be hand-rolling complimentary cigars.
This festival is the only event of its kind to be backed by the Bogart Estate, which is producing the event in partnership with the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce. Last year, it drew Bogie fans from all over the world for a unique weekend of noir in the sun.