Lauren Bacall the first grande dame of Hollywood

There is something deeply unpleasant about imagining movie icons getting old. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Grace Kelly wobbling around on walking frames towards their next liquidised lunch is a horrific thought. That’s something that happens to mere mortals not the faces that illuminated cinema history. We like our icons to youthfully shake off their mortal coils in the prime of life and, ideally, entangled in enough personal problems to feed their legendary status for a good half century. Lauren Bacall breaks the mould completely. The last time I saw her on screen was in the thriller Birth playing the mother of Nicole Kidman. She was sitting at the dinner table listening to the incomprehensible news that Kidman’s character was obsessed with a 10-year-old boy who she believed contained the spirit of her dead husband. Bacall may be 80, but the cutting, ice-cold, impervious stare that she gave Kidman was just as powerful as when she smouldered for the first time on film as a 19-year-old in To Have And To Have Not, and asked, “Anyone got a match?” To read full story by Andy double click the images above.

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