Monday, May 20, 2024

Movie Monday: To Have and Have Not

Movie Monday: To Have and Have Not

The 1944 film, To Have and Have Not, is often cited as being “loosely” based on Ernest Hemingway’s 1937 novel of the same name, however, the movie bears little resemblance to the book. According to one source,* “Legend has it that Hemingway and film director Howard Hawks went on a ten-day fishing trip on which Hawks continued his futile efforts to get Hemingway to write scripts for him. Finally, Hawks told him, “I can make a picture out of your worst story.” Reportedly, they decided To Have and Have Not met the criteria, but Hemingway continued to assert that Hawks couldn’t “make anything out of that.”

Jules Furthman wrote the first screenplay, and William Faulkner the second. The location was changed from Cuba to Martinique in the interest of good international relations. Met with mixed reviews by the critics, To Have and Have Not was (and still is) compared to Casablanca. Even the head of publicity at Warner Bros. is reported to have said, “not only a second Casablanca but two and a half times what Casablanca was.”
  • The film teams Humphrey Bogart with Howard Hawks again
  • The story is set against the war in an exotic French territory
  • Bogart’s character is trying to run a business but gets involved in local politics and a girl
  • Several scenes include a clever piano player in the café bar
Variety posited that the film was inferior to Casablanca and other melodramas, and Time called it a
“tinny romantic melodrama which millions of cinemaddicts have been waiting for ever since Casablanca." Another critic, James Agee commented that Going My Way was better because To Have and Have Not focused too much on “character and atmosphere” rather than plot.

Rather than the book’s character of ordinary-fisherman Harry who is pushed into the black market of running contraband between Cuba and Florida because of the Depression, the movie features sport-fishing boat captain Harry (who is called Steve) living under the occupation of pro-German Vichy France. The island is littered with sympathizers of Free France (including Bacall’s character Marie “Slim” Browning). Other changes (fortunately), are the omission of episodes of racism, misogyny, bullying, and spousal abuse.

To Have and Have No
t was 19-year-old Lauren Bacall’s first movie, and the on-screen romance turned into a real-life affair. The couple would marry the following year after Bogart divorced his third wife and appear in three more films together (The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, and Key Largo). Several sources indicate that because the film was Bacall’s debut, there were fewer scenes originally written for her character in case she didn’t do well. Instead, the chemistry between her and Bogart was so palpable, scenes between the two were added.

Budgeted at slightly more than $1.6 million, the movie earned $3.65M at the box office and $5.257 worldwide.


The Mechanic & The MD

All’s fair in love and war. Or so they say.

High school and college were a nightmare for Doris Strealer and being an adult isn’t much better. Men won’t date a woman of her height, and they don’t understand her desire to repair car engines rather than work as a nurse or a teacher. When her father’s garage closes, and no one will hire a female mechanic, she joins the Red Cross Motor Corps, finally feeling at home. Until she comes face to face with her past in the form of Ronald McCann, the most popular boy in school.

On the brink of a successful career as a surgeon, Ron's plans crumble when he’s drafted and assigned to an evacuation hospital in England, the last place he expects to run into a former schoolmate. The gangly tomboy who was four years behind him in high school has transformed into a statuesque beauty, but a broken engagement in college leaves him with no desire to risk his heart ever again.

Will the hazards of war make or break a romance between this unlikely couple?

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