TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT

(1944)
With Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan, Dolores Morgan, Hoagy Carmichael
Directed by Howard Hawks
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

To Have and Have Not     "Humphrey Bogart...with his kind of woman in a powerful adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's most daring man-woman story!"  So ran the tagline for TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT in 1944.  Well, Lauren Bacall was certainly Bogey's kind of woman, but the only things adapted from Hemingway were the title and the names of the characters.  As Harry Morgan, the owner of a charter boat on the island of Martinique, Bogart plays a "don't stick my neck out for nobody" type of guy who's reluctant to become involved with the war effort when asked to smuggle a leader of the French Resistance onto the island.  Then Bacall appears in his doorway and asks for a match, whereupon he's so smitten he'll smuggle anybody anywhere if it helps Bacall return to America.  (And by the way, she calls him "Steve" and he calls her "Slim" because those were the pet nicknames that director Howard Hawks and his wife had for one another.)  Bacall's performance is perhaps the most famous screen debut in history, and the chemistry she generates with Bogart reflects the potent passion of their real-life romance at the time.  Some revisionist critics regard TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT as a superior spin-off of CASABLANCA.  It's my natural inclination to prefer CASABLANCA, but every time I see TO HAVE, I wonder if those critics just might have something there.  It is, after all, such a daring man-woman story.  - JL

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