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Remake of "To Have and Have Not" based on Hemingway short story. Plot reset to early days of Cuban revolution. A charter boat skipper gets entangled in gunrunning scheme to get money to pay off debts. Sort of a sea-going film noir with bad girl, smarmy villain, and the "innocent" drawn into wrong side of law by circumstances. Written by
Ernest Hemingway's classic short story To Have And Have Not gets yet another remake, an independent production for Seven Arts that stars Audie Murphy taking the place Humphrey Bogart and John Garfield as Hemingway's iconoclastic fisherman/charter boat skipper.
No Lauren Bacall like slinky low voiced siren to take our hero's mind off business. In fact Murphy is happily married to Patricia Owens. But while he has a happy home life he owes some big money around Key West. His boat isn't even completely paid for and the bank is breathing down his neck.
Eddie Albert maybe the answer to his financial prayers. He wants to charter Murphy's boat for mysterious reasons for a trip to Cuba and remember this is 1958 and the Cuban government is rightly suspicious of strangers without proper clearance going to their island. In fact Albert is a gunrunner looking to sell to revolutionaries at a nice profit.
The film takes no political sides as to whether it favors the Batista government or the Castro revolutionaries. All you gradually learn along with Murphy is that Albert is one ruthless individual and quite the user.
Director Don Siegel shot this film on location in Newport Beach, California, curiously enough exactly where Michael Curtiz shot The Breaking Point, John Garfield's film of this story. Bogart's was done on the Warner Brothers back lot, none of them got anywhere near Papa Hemingway's beloved Caribbean waters. Siegel did keep the action going at a good clip.
Audie Murphy showed a bit of versatility here as an actor, taking a break from the B westerns he was doing at Universal. But Eddie Albert who when he does play a villain does remarkably well as he did in The Longest Yard and Attack. One never thinks of him that way, his image is forever fixed with Green Acres, but he was a favorite of mine and his range never ceased to amaze me.
The Gun Runners is your average B picture film about a controversial political issue in which it takes absolutely no sides.
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