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Drama - Romantic

To Have and Have Not (1945)

Duration1h 40m
RatingsUK: A, USA: Approved, South Korea: 12,  
Source of storyLoosely based on the Ernest Hemingway novel of the same name.
DirectorHoward Hawkes, 
Writers/ScriptJules Furthman, William Faulkner
StarringHumphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan, Lauren Bacall, Dolores Moran, Hoagy Carmichael, 
RatingsIMDb: 7.8 by 30,721 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 97% by 36 Critics.

Elevator Pitch: Harry Morgan is the owner of a small craft used for sport fishing out of the main port in Martinique. It is 1944 and the island is controlled by the Vichy French who are collaborating with the Nazis. Harry has been asked to help the Free  French but has refused, but after a client has failed to pay him and has been shot dead in a police confrontation, Harry has to change his plans. He is helped by “Slim” a young woman who has washed up on the island, and occupies a hotel room opposite Harry’s. She occasionally sings with the house band.

Content: Any relationship between Harry and Slim is implied in part due to the rules in place at the time, although it feature strongly on the posters. The boat is taken out for sport fishing and once to transport some free French to the island. When the Nazi police get on the case they interrogate Harry’s drunken assistant to find out what he is up to. A lot of time is spent in the bar of the hotel as the patrons drink and listen to the band and sometimes are interviewed by the police. When the Free French are brought to the island, one of them injured, there is some tension.

A View: While this was well thought of by the critics, it should be born in mind that they looked at this old film because they were already fans of someone involved, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart or Howard Hawkes. Apparently the only similarity between the original book and the film is the first couple of chapters, since the original scenario involved booze smuggling from Cuba to America during prohibition, which sounds like a more exciting prospect. I thought the whole thing was pretty weak and as for the ending! I’ll go to the foot of our stairs.

Additional Info: Bogey was 44 at the time and Bacall was 19. This disparity in ages would have caused comment from the “Alliance of Women Film Journalists” in their “Most Egregious Age Difference” selection. 

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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