To Have and Have Not (1944)

To Have and Have Not (1944), directed by Howard Hawks


She came in this afternoon. The plane from the south.

A deep sea fishing guide gets wrapped up in Vichy vs Free French struggles during WW2. He has a boat, in demand for dark deeds in the dead of night. More importantly, when a seductive tough cookie arrives: "they come together -- WHAM -- like two taxis on Broadway" (-- Thelma Ritter in Rear Window (1954)).

This is set at the same time and is a story similar to Casablanca (1942), but does not have the magic, direction or cinematography of that film. What it does have is Bogart and Lauren Bacall, together for the first time and instant movie chemistry.

Bacall is 19 years old (is that possible?) and you can tell this is her first film: that self-conscious, deliberate slink needs some work. That's ok: I love the little shimmy she does in the last scene. Deep, smoke-flavored voice, she does her own singing. Kissing Bogie a second time, she says: "It's even better when you help."


A commenter on one forum was complaining that Hoagy Carmichael's music was too "dated". People patiently pointed out that the film is from the 1940s and that, yes indeed, the music, language, clothing, etc, will be appropriate to that period. I suspect what he was really objecting to was Carmichael's own "Hong Kong Blues":

It's the story of a very unfortunate colored man
Who got arrested down in old Hong Kong
He got twenty years privilege taken away from him
When he kicked old Buddha's gong

Turns out it is actually opium that keeps him from getting home.

The novel was filmed again as:

Available on DVD. [Later: and on Blu-ray].