7.5/10
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37 user 20 critic

The Breaking Point (1950)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 October 1950 (USA)
An otherwise moral captain of a charter boat becomes financially strapped and is drawn into illegal activities in order to keep up payments on his boat.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Ranald MacDougall (screen play by), Ernest Hemingway (based on the story by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Garfield ... Harry Morgan
Patricia Neal ... Leona Charles
Phyllis Thaxter ... Lucy Morgan
Juano Hernandez ... Wesley Park
Wallace Ford ... F.R. Duncan
Edmon Ryan ... Rogers
Ralph Dumke Ralph Dumke ... Hannagan
Guy Thomajan ... Danny
William Campbell ... Concho
Sherry Jackson ... Amy Morgan
Donna Jo Boyce Donna Jo Boyce ... Connie Morgan
Victor Sen Yung ... Mr. Sing
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Storyline

Fishing boat captain Harry Morgan charters his boat. Due to strained finances, he is none too careful as to whom he does business with. Real trouble erupts when Harry hires out his boat to transport four men who turn out to be criminals on the lam from a racetrack heist. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There's nothing more deadly than a gentle man pushed too far! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

6 October 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To Have and Have Not See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Identified by critic Thom Andersen as an example of "film gris", a suggested sub-category of film noir incorporating a left-wing narrative. See more »

Goofs

Leona carries all of her suitcases by herself at the dock. She wouldn't have been able to do that unless they were empty. See more »

Quotes

Harry Morgan: [to Leona as she reaches into his shirt pocket for a cigarette] Yuh know, one of these days you're gonna get your arm broke reachin' for something that don't belong to yuh.
Leona Charles: It's all in a good cause.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The John Garfield Story (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Schwartz
Played at the dockside bar
See more »

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User Reviews

Outstanding Garfield Flick
18 February 2018 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

An underrated flick in the Garfield canon. His charter boat captain, Morgan, may not be very likable, but the actor makes him a compelling tough guy. So, how's Morgan going to pay his debts and keep his charter boat. It's a struggle, especially when wheedling deal-maker Duncan (Ford) keeps tempting him with illegal transporting. It's really a battle for Morgan's soul though he doesn't realize it. On one hand there's faithful wife Lucy (Thaxter) and two small daughters, along with deck hand Park (Hernandez) depending on him for support. On the other, is smoothy Duncan, sultry temptress Leona (Neal), and an array of criminal types offering him money for illegal services. Trouble is Morgan loves both Lucy and his boat, so will he stay honest and get a new livelihood, or will he succumb to seductive overtures from Duncan and turn criminal boat captain.

Garfield's Morgan is not a nice guy, so the outcome is uncertain. Every other word is a smart-alecky remark, and though he loves wife Lucy and the two little girls, he seems to forget them when obsessing about his boat. Clearly, his ego is tied up with being a captain.

It's a perfect Garfield role, and he gives no quarter. At the same time, Thaxter works wonders as the sympathetic wife without getting smarmy, a really difficult role. And shouldn't overlook Neal whose grinning blonde temptress resembles a figure from perhaps the lower regions. Then too, inclusion of Black actor Hernandez was a bold one for 1950 when Black actors were still mostly servants or comic relief. Moreover, his inclusion results indirectly in one of the most brilliantly poignant final scenes in film annals. I get the feeling the writers were doing their best to avoid a typical Hollywood ending, which was still the norm.

All in all, the movie deserves a ranking just below Garfield's celebrated Force of Evil (1948) as a study in self-realization. Please, TCM, revive the flick whenever you can.


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