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>
The most famous scene in the film is undoubtedly the "you know how to whistle" dialog sequence. It was not written by Ernest Hemingway, Jules Furthman or William Faulkner, but by Howard Hawks. He wrote the scene as a screen test for Bacall, with no real intention that it would necessarily end up in the film. The test was shot with Warner Bros. contract player John Ridgely acting opposite Bacall. The Warners staff, of course, agreed to star Bacall in the film based on the test, and Hawks thought the scene was so strong he asked Faulkner to work it into one of his later drafts of the shooting script. See more »
When Harry tells Eddie he can relax after picking up the passengers, Eddie cycles the lever action on his rifle, which ejects the shell that was chambered. Harry then tells Eddie not to unload because they aren't home yet. But just cycling the lever action won't unload the rifle unless the chambered round is the last one, and it would be very unlikely in the situation for Eddie to be carrying a rifle with only one round and for Harry to know it only had one round in it. That would defeat the purpose of carrying a lever-action rifle. And in fact, a short time later, they run into a patrol boat and Harry fires several shots with the rifle with no further cycling of the lever action between Eddie's cycling of the action and Harry firing the first shot, proving it wasn't unloaded. 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 »
Each viewing of "To Have and Have Not" earns my greater appreciation of the film. The comparisons to "Casablanca" are numerous and fans of Humphrey Bogart will have no trouble picking them out one by one. Bogey's character Harry Morgan is once again an expatriate on foreign soil, though here he has no trouble calling himself an American. The Peter Lorre part is handled by Marcel Dalio as hotel owner Frenchy, while the Sydney Greenstreet presence is given to Dan Seymour, the smarmy Gestapo captain. Add the smoldering presence of Lauren Bacall in her screen debut, and you have the ingredients for an adventure film that almost plays out stronger in each of it's mini chapters than in the sum of it's parts. That's OK though, because each tableaux presents us with rich characterization and a sense that we know who these players are and what they're up to.
As most fans know, the legendary Bogey/Bacall team up began here, so I won't dwell on that. What's worth mentioning though is Bacall's brazen confidence in carrying out her role in what looks like a casting call mismatch. Only a teenager at the time of filming, she looks to be about thirty, with dialog that belies her years. Though her scenes with Bogart are electric even to this day, it's worth noting her chemistry with Dolores Moran near the end of the film. The times "Slim" and Mrs. de Bursac appear together, their subliminal clash over "Steve" fairly screams "meow". That's why it's all the more comical when Bogey's character begins his operation on Paul, "Slim" uses a leaf fan to waft chloroform fumes in the direction of the fainted madame - outrageous!
My first introduction to Walter Brennan was his famous TV role as Grandpa McCoy in "The Real McCoys" series of the late 1950's. Here, with a hitch in his giddyup, Brennan sports an early tryout for that television role, but with a reliance on alcohol. He's fairly philosophical about it though - "Drinkin' don't bother my memory, if it did I wouldn't drink. You see, I'd forget how good it was, then where'd I be, start drinkin' water again". The best exchange between Eddie (Brennan) and Harry takes place on board the fishing boat as Harry explains the kind of danger they might be in. It's a masterful dialog that brings Eddie to sobriety real quick.
The film's sinister side is revealed when Vichy authorities intend to disrupt any activity that might prove detrimental to German interests. As the Free French resistance look for a suitable base to continue their opposition on the island of Martinique, Captain Renard (Seymour) warns Morgan and company - "We are only interested in those persons who have broken the rules laid down for their behavior". Morgan is busy breaking the rules all over the place, and gets right down to the frightening business at hand by roughing up Renard and his bunch when it appears his time on the island is growing short. Here, letters of transit are known as harbor passes, in another nod to Bogey's better known film.
Today's viewing of the film was my third, and as mentioned earlier, it gets better each time. It helps that Humphrey Bogart is my favorite actor, but that begs the question, did Bogey make the films, or did the films make the actor. As in "Casablanca", "The Maltese Falcon, "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and "The Big Sleep", the events and characters come together to create an unforgettable story. And if for no other reason, no matter how many times you watch "To Have and Have Not", it's always worth watching right to the very end, even if just to catch Lauren Bacall's sweet sashay to the strains of Hoagy Carmichael's piano.
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