A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
Harry Morgan and his alcoholic sidekick, Eddie, are based on the island of Martinique and crew a boat available for hire. However, since the second world war is happening around them business is not what it could be and after a customer who owes them a large sum fails to pay they are forced against their better judgment to violate their preferred neutrality and to take a job for the resistance transporting a fugitive on the run from the Nazis to Martinique. Through all this runs the stormy relationship between Morgan and Marie "Slim" Browning, a resistance sympathizer and the sassy singer in the club where Morgan spends most of his days. Written by
Mark Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Howard Hawks had bet Ernest Hemingway that he (Hawks) could make a good film even out of Hemingway's worst novel. Hawks chose "To Have..." and proceeded to win the bet by deleting most of the story, including the class references that had justified the book title, and shifting to an earlier point in the lives of the lead characters. See more »
Just before Harry dumps water on Eddie's head, we see the scene from the side, and Eddie's mouth is open. It then cuts to an overhead shot and Eddie's mouth is closed. See more »
Martinique, in the summer of 1940, shortly after the fall of France.
Forte de France
Officer at port:
Good Morning, Captain Morgan. What can I do for you today?
Same thing as yesterday.
Officer at port:
You and your client wish to make a temporary exit from the port?
*That* is right.
Officer at port:
Ha - Harry Morgan.
[...] See more »
Most film fans know the famous bet made between Ernest Hemingway and legendary director Howard Hawks (SCARFACE, BRINGING UP BABY). Hawks claimed he could make a good film out of Hemingway's worst novel. He does and Hemingway hopefully paid up. The great author must have forgot the star power Hawks had in access to in Bogart and Walter Brennan because that is exactly what drives the film. They are backed by the writing of William Faulkner and the direction of Hawks, who is always able to have his actors deliver slick lines quickly and effectively to have the story run smoothly. Oh yeah, an actress named Betty Bacall makes her debut opposite these screen legends and makes what I consider the most auspicious debuts of any actress from the 1940's. She meshes well with Bogie, trading quips and matching her future hubby line for line. The real star of TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT is Howard Hawks, a director who could create comedy, suspense, and art amidst a rather dull story.
I never read Hemingway's novel, so I couldn't tell you whether it was his worst. I believe Hemingway made the gesture and Hawks showed him up. Notice touches of the previous year's all-time classic CASABLANCA (this time the owner of the foreign booze bar is the roulette manager from CASABLANCA). World War II is a backdrop, Bogie is a cynic with that heart of gold, and he helps his "rummy" buddy, played by Walter Brennan. Bogie helped the low-life likes of Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet in 'Blanca and in this one, his scenes with Brennan are comic relief. Brennan plays a funny drunk who is prone to spilling his guts after a few rums. Bogie's "Harry Morgan" rents his boat to rich Americans for fishing and will lend a hand towards the French war effort with his sailing skills much like his power to give the infamous "letters of transport" to Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid. Similarities aside, there is an original piece of work to see in this well-paced semi-thriller, with Bogie, Bacall, and Hawks to send them sailing into cinematic history.
"Just put your lips together and blow," will live in filmgoer's minds forever, as will the fact that Bogart and Bacall practically fall in love right in front of our eyes. A problem I had with the film was the annoying interference of the copycat (CASABLANCA) French police. Sorry, no Claude Rains to add some spice to it. I understand the movie contrasts starkly with the novel, depicting the characters at an earlier age. It is predictable and you know which girl is Bogart's. It is entertaining to see Walter Brennan squirm and tick as a hopeless alcoholic who can't seem to remember a conversation that took place 5 minutes prior. True, Hawks has no official writing credit, but the film has that Hawks touch because of the humor and genuine quality the main characters present. TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT is a picture to sit back and watch as brash, Hollywood filmmaking of the 1940's and a nice piece of classic Hawks who moved onto THE BIG SLEEP with Bogart and Bacall soon after. Its good but not the best of Hawks or Bogart.
RATING: 7 OF 10
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