Thursday, October 6, 2011

To Have and Have Not

An American running a fishing charter in the Caribbean Isle of Martinique romances a young lounge singer and reluctantly becomes involved with the French Resistance. "To Have and Have Not" is Howard Hawk's adaptation of what he thought to be Ernest Hemingway's worst novel. Scripting with William Faulkner and Jules Furthman, the story is sleepy and in more ways than a few resembles "Casablanca". However, the film is largely of note due to it being the debut of Lauren Bacall and the beginning of her relationship with Humphrey Bogart. The two sizzle on screen together and the film is pretty remarkable in that we are watching what is probably a record of the two falling in love. There are other meritorious elements in the picture as well. Bogart is great as usual, Bacall is extremely sultry, and Walter Brennan is a hoot as Bogie's first mate. There are some good musical numbers between Bacall and Hoagy Carmichael as well. "To Have and Have Not" is a laid back picture, yet a curious one and entertaining at that.