Film Review – TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1944)

TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1944, USA, 100m, PG) ****½
Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Thriller, War
dist. Warner Bros.; pr co. Warner Bros.; d. Howard Hawks; w. Jules Furthman, William Faulkner (based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway); pr. Howard Hawks (uncredited); ph. Sid Hickox (B&W | 1.37:1); m. Franz Waxman (uncredited); m/l. Hoagy Carmichael, Stanley Adams, Harry Akst, Grant Clarke; md. Leo F. Forbstein; ed. Christian Nyby; ad. Charles Novi.
cast: Humphrey Bogart (Harry Morgan), Walter Brennan (Eddie), Lauren Bacall (Marie ‘Slim’ Browning), Dolores Moran (Mme. Hellene de Bursac), Hoagy Carmichael (Cricket), Sheldon Leonard (Lt. Coyo), Walter Szurovy (Paul de Bursac), Marcel Dalio (Gerard aka Frenchy), Walter Sande (Johnson), Dan Seymour (Capt. M. Renard), Aldo Nadi (Renard’s Bodyguard).
During World War II, Bogart is an American expatriate who helps transport a French Resistance leader (Szurovy) and his beautiful wife (Moran) to Martinique while romancing a sexy lounge singer (Bacall). Hawks worked with themes that sustained him throughout his career and many of his signature moments are on display here. The chemistry between Bogart and Bacall nearly melts the screen and their dialogue is wonderful. The plot mirrors some of the themes seen in Bogart’s earlier classic CASABLANCA and this comes very close to repeating the earlier film’s success. Filled with excellent character performances from a strong supporting cast and finding room for a handful of musical numbers, this is entertainment of the highest order. The legend goes Hawks bragged to Hemingway that he could take the worst of his novels and make a good film of it. He did this by disregarding the novel’s contents and introducing many elements that were to become synonymous with the director. Remade as THE BREAKING POINT (1950) by Michael Curtiz and less successfully as THE GUN RUNNERS (1958).