Warner Bros. Pictures presents "TO HAVE AN HAVE NOT" (1944) (106 min/B&W) -- Starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan, Lauren Bacall & Sheldon Leonard
Directed by Howard Hawks
"To Have and Have Not" is notable mainly for an electric first teaming of soon-to-be marrieds Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and this free adaptation of a Hemingway story gives the stars plenty of time to shine. Bacall in particular steals the show with her checkered suits and her husky voice 'You know how to whistle, don't you? Put your lips together and blow.'
The interplay between Bogey and Bacall is some of the most unforced, natural acting ever to grace the big screen. And what could be sexier than Bacall's flirting before they kissed? One not to be missed.
The film works because of the great cast. Bogart does "downbeat but ultimately heroic" better than many others and he does it well here - tough, smart and morally challenged. Bacall has less of a character to speak of but she makes up for that by sheer force of personality; The two fell in love during the film and it does show on screen, with a great chemistry and real sexual tension between them - a heavy amount of classic scenes and hot moments also helps.
And then there's Walter Brennan, who takes a second-string role and turns it into a delight at every turn. He's a lush who can't string two thoughts together, and yet he sees all, knows all, and tells too much to the wrong people. And that walk! The booze, the sea, and the years, all rolled into one gait that's both wavering and seaworthy.
The great composer musician Hoagy Carmichael puts in an appearance as Cricket, the entertaining pianist at the hotel lounge. Flawlessly there are three musical numbers. Still remember Mr. Carmichael's rendition of "Hong Kong blues" that one keeps ringing in your ears forever. Two other tunes were, "Am I blue?", and a sultry rendition of his hit by Lauren Bacall, "How little We Know". Her interpretation stays with you.
1. Howard Hawks [aka: Howard Winchester Hawks]
Date of Birth: 30 May 1896, Goshen, Indiana
Date of Death: 26 December 1977, Palm Springs, California
2. Humphrey Bogart
Date of Birth: 25 December 1899 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 14 January 1957 - Los Angeles, California
3. Walter Brennan [aka: Walter Andrew Brennan]
Date of Birth: 25 July 1894 - Swampscott, Massachusetts
Date of Death: 21 September 1974 - Oxnard, California
4. Lauren Bacall [aka: Betty Joan Perske]
Date of Birth: 16 September 1924 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: Still Living
Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 106 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (07/25/2006)