Dear Humphrey Bogart,

You, sir, are the perfect antihero. There’s no doubt that you’re attractive, but you’re no Greek god. For you, it’s all about the attitude, and gosh is it sexy when you stick to your values. Your performance in The Maltese Falcon paved the way for you to take the lead in such films as Casablanca and The African Queen, in which you continued to exude the signature devil-may-care demeanor you established in the 1941 film. You’re smart, sharp, and fast-talking despite having the only lisp I ever cared for. Yet perhaps what makes you so wonderful is that, beneath that tough exterior and beyond your famous scar, your characters tend to adhere to some righteous code or other. Sam Spade’s chivalry is hidden under paint, like the glittering gems of the Maltese falcon; the gold is there, and no less valuable for the cover-up. What Spade says to Brigid O’Shaughnessy applies to most of your great leading roles: “Don’t be too sure I’m as crooked as I’m supposed to be.” Whether you’re a gangster, a greedy detective, or the captain of a dinghy, it’s evident that you’re a charmer under your greasy or glum exterior.

Good night, Mun

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