ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

To Have and Have Not (1944)

US 100m, B&W
Director: Howard Hawks; Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan, Dolores Moran, Hoagy Carmichael, Walter Sande

Sharing the title and only loosely based on Ernest Hemingway’s 1937 novel of the same name, To Have and Have Not is a romantic wartime film not dissimilar to Casablanca (1942), not to mention that it stars Humphrey Bogart in the lead role. The simplified story is largely character driven and involves Bogart as a hard-boiled fishing boat captain who reluctantly agrees to help the French Resistance during Vichy rule in Fort-de-France, Martinique, but only after a client fails to pay him a large sum of cash he is owed. At the age of nineteen, playing in her first feature film, the sultry, sophisticated and surprisingly young Lauren Bacall has unmistakable screen chemistry with Bogart – a likely reflection of their real life attraction toward one another (Klaus Ming June 2011).

 

9 comments on “To Have and Have Not (1944)

  1. movie guy steve
    06/21/2011

    I felt like this was “Casablanca-Lite” more than anything. It’s most notable to me as the film that introduced Bacall to the world.

    • Klaus
      06/22/2011

      That’s a good way to put it. And yeah, Bacall’s introduction/performance is what is most memorable. although Walter Brennan was pretty good as Bogart’s drunken sidekick.

  2. Anthony Lee Collins
    06/22/2011

    One of my all-time favorites, I will admit. Hawks pretty much at his best, including the tight, witty, unsentimental dialogue, and a really good story.

    Plus, the Bogart/Bacall chemistry, of course. As somebody said once, he was falling in love with her, so he was willing to wait around for hours while she figured out how to steal scenes from him (which ordinarily an actor of his stature would never have tolerated from a teenage novice). She is pretty much the ultimate “Hawksian woman,” and a lot of their byplay was recycled (by Hawks) a couple of decades later in Rio Bravo.

    And there’s also the scene in Bogart’s bedroom at the end, where he shoots one guy through the desk, flips the desk over, and ends up beating the two other guys. I think it was watching that where I decided that no CGI monster has ever been as scary as the right actor in the right role.

    A bit of trivia:

    1. Bacall has said that her main fear when she was cast was that Hawks would find out she was Jewish and fire her. He was apparently very anti-Semitic.

    2. The only film to have two Nobel-Prize-winning authors connecting with the writing (though the movie has little to do with the novel — thank goodness, since the novel is lousy).

    3. Bacall’s character was based on Hawks’ wife at that time, Slim Keith, which is why her character is nicknamed “Slim.” “Steve” (which Bacall’s character calls Bogart, though everbody else calls him “Harry,” which is his name) was reportedly Slim Keith’s nickname for Hawks.

    • Klaus
      06/23/2011

      This movie was new to me and I must say i quite enjoyed it on its own terms, despite the similarities to Casablanca. The dialogue was a lot of fun and Bacall was captivating. Your right about Bogart’s table flipping scene – his ferocity was pretty unexpected. Thanks again Anthony, for another insightful comment!

  3. TSorensen
    09/16/2013

    I loved this one despite the Casablanca references. Mainly due to Bacall and Bogart. I am perfectly in line with Anthony above on this and, man, she was only 19…

  4. vinnieh
    01/12/2016

    Great review, I recently got a boxset of Bogart and Bacall movies and this movie will be the first I’ll watch.

    • Klaus
      01/12/2016

      Nice, sounds like fun!

      • vinnieh
        01/12/2016

        Just finished the movie and enjoyed it a lot.

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This entry was posted on 06/21/2011 by in 1001 List, 1940s, All and tagged .
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