Schickel writes that guests at the annual screening would find the headstrong Bogart weeping by the end of the film:
“One has to think that in contemplating the sad fate of Norman Maine, the movie star who succumbs to alcoholism and suicide in that film, Bogart may have been contemplating his own good fortune in narrowly escaping a similarly miserable end. For certain there were parallels in their stories that went far beyond their addiction to booze: The air they projected of being finer than their surroundings, their contempt for Hollywood manners and morals, their redemptive love for a young woman star in whose discovery they participated.”
As Schickel notes, there were parallels between Bogart’s life and the life of the fictional Maine. Bogart’s alcoholic exploits were infamous in Hollywood. He started fights everywhere he went, even with casino parking lot attendants. Those incidents were comedic at times, as when Bogart and a friend brought two stuffed pandas as “dates” to the El Morocco nightclub in Manhattan. When a woman approached him, a drunken Bogart pushed her away and said, “Get away from me! I’m a happily married man. And don’t touch my panda!”
More often Bogart’s alcoholism would turn ugly. He and his third wife, Mayo Methot, would drink to excess and their violent fighting branded the couple as “the Battling Bogarts” (via Vanity Fair). The 43-year-old actor was still married to Methot when he met 19-year-old Lauren Bacall on the set of their first film together, “To Have And Have Not.” Their electric screen chemistry grew out of an on-set affair, leading Bogart to divorce Methot and marry Bacall in 1945.