Harry Morgan is the owner of a cabin boat called the Queen Conch. With his shipmate Eddie, he takes wealthy tourists on fishing cruises off the Caribbean island of Martinique. It is WWII and with France under Nazi occupation, Martinique is Vichy-controlled. Harry is approached by Gerard, who is a member of the French Resistance and the owner of the hotel where Harry lives. He would pay for Harry to smuggle an important Free
French leader into Martinique but Harry refuses. Meanwhile, a newcomer has arrived in the room across from Harry - a sultry, restless woman named Marie who strikes up a flirtatious friendship with him. She soon finds herself stranded without money when her provider is killed by stray gunfire in a police raid at the hotel bar. Harry agrees to help her leave the island, but to raise the money his only option is to offer his services to Gerard and provide the boat to pick up the resistance fighter, a situation that puts him in extreme danger.
Producer/Director: Howard Hawks
Executive Producer: Jack L. Warner
Screenplay: Jules Furthman, William Faulkner
Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway
Cinematography: Sidney Hickox
Editing: Christian Nyby
Art Direction: Charles Novi
Set Decoration: Casey Roberts
Costumes: Milo Anderson
Makeup: Perc Westmore
Production Manager: Eric Stacey
Assistant Director: Robert Vreeland
Sound: Oliver S. Garretson
Special Effects: Rex Wimpy
Cast: Humphrey Bogart (Harry 'Steve' Morgan), Lauren Bacall (Marie 'Slim' Browning), Walter Brennan (Eddie), Dolores Moran (Hellene de Bursac), Hoagy Carmichael (Cricket), Sheldon Leonard (Lt. Coyo), Walter Szurovy (Paul de Bursac), Marcel Dalio (Gerard /Frenchy), Walter Sande (Johnson), Dan Seymour (Captain Renard).
WHY TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT IS ESSENTIAL
To Have and Have Not
is a crackling entertainment from producer/director Howard Hawks and the Warner Bros. studio system, working at its peak wartime efficiency. Probably the best movie ever made on a bet (Hawks bragged to buddy Ernest Hemingway on a fishing trip that he could make a good movie from his worst novel), To Have and Have Not
is admired today for its charged dialogue and witty scenes, establishing Bogart as a romantic lead, as the debut vehicle for Lauren Bacall (and her first pairing with Bogart), and for presenting the quintessential Hawks hero, an individualist who expresses his sense of justice and morality through action.
Hawks famously threw out most of Hemingway's story, keeping the focus on one character, fishing boat captain Harry Morgan, rather than splitting the story between two disconnected characters as the novel had done. His screenwriters (Jules Furthman and William Faulkner) then fashioned a script which, by Hawks' admission, was more concerned with snappy dialogue and appealing characters than following the tangled intrigues of the plot. (One of Hawks' rules for a good movie was to feature four memorable scenes and no boring ones).
For such an endeavor to succeed, casting is all-important. Humphrey Bogart had just come off Casablanca
(1942), which had helped in his evolution from a stock Warner Bros. tough guy into a romantic lead. To Have and Have Not
would establish the new Bogart persona for the movie-going public. Harry in this film is more emotionally hardened and morally ambiguous that Rick from Casablanca
. He is also more believably romantic and passionate, due to the obvious sparks that were flying between him and his leading lady.
The female lead opposite Bogart was a 19-year-old model in her acting debut, Betty "Lauren" Bacall. Though behind the scenes there were anxieties and many months of voice training and acting lessons, the result is nothing less than one of the most complete, electrifying personalities to emerge full-blown on the screen. Also essential to the tone of the film and the interacting personalities on display are the honky-tonk piano
player Cricket, charmingly played by Hoagy Carmichael, and Harry's alcoholic shipmate Eddie, essayed by the venerable Walter Brennan.
But Harry Morgan is the real focus of the film, from his romance with Marie whom he nicknames "Slim," to his trusted friendships with Eddie and Cricket, to the moral choices made in relation to these characters and to the political situation he faces. In typical Hawksian fashion, this hero is an individualist who is forced into desperate circumstances, but even under duress, he honors personal relationships above all else.
The film version of To Have and Have Not
, as several critics pointed out, owed more to I>Casablanca than to Hemingway, but most of the reviews fixated on the sultry Lauren Bacall and her steamy scenes with Bogart. The usually cool and judicious James Agee was inspired to write: "Lauren Bacall has cinema personality to burn...a javelinlike vitality, a born dancer's eloquence in movement, a fierce female shrewdness and a special sweet-sourness." Despite all the praise and the film's obvious popularity with moviegoers, it received no Academy Award nominations in any category.
By John M. Miller & Margarita Landazuri