Friday, December 16, 2011

My Favorite Films: To Have and Have Not

In honor of the Bogie blogathon next week (I still can't believe it's only a week- I started planning this four months ago!), I'm writing another My Favorite Films post, this time on To Have and Have Not. 

Released in 1944 and directed by Howard Hawks, To Have and Have Not tells the story of Harry Morgan (Bogie), an American expatriate living on the island of Martinique who is persuaded against his better judgment to help smuggle resistance members onto the island while flirting with a lounge singer (Lauren Bacall, in her film debut).

The film was adapted from the Ernest Hemingway novel of the same name, which is also considered the worst of his books (I haven't read it, so I can't give my opinion). The plot may not be the most unique, but it's the remarkable chemistry between the two stars that makes it so memorable.

This was the first of four films that paired Humphrey Bogart with his future wife Lauren Bacall, and it was a match made in movie heaven. With some actors, it's obvious that the chemistry between them is forced. With Bogie and Bacall, I sometimes forget I'm watching a film. All four of the movies they made together (the others being The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo) are wonderful, but To Have and Have Not stands out the most for me because, if you're familiar with the romance between Bogie and Bacall, it makes you feel as if you're watching two people fall in love (and, in reality, you are).

The best (and most remembered) scene in the film is without a doubt in which Bacall says "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow." Every time I watch this, I'm astonished that she was robbed of an Oscar nomination, not just for this film, but in general. In 1997 she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in The Mirror Has Two Faces and in 2009 received an Honorary Award, but she had so many great performances in the 40's and 50's that sadly weren't recognized by the Academy. 

Overall, I consider To Have and Have Not to be one of Bogie's best films, and I hope those of you that haven't seen it will check it out. It's airing March 5 on Turner Classic Movies for those of you interested. 
Unfortunately, this turned out shorter than I wanted it to be as I'm busy planning next weeks' posts, but I hope you all enjoyed reading it!


  1. I enjoyed it, mind you To Have And Have Not is one of my favourite films.
    I've actually got all four of the Bogart and Bacall films in a box set but I've still only watched THAHN and Key Largo. I must make time to watch the other two soon.

    Were you ever bitten by a dead bee?

  2. Meredith, when I first saw TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT on TV as a kid, for me it was love at first sight when I watched Bogart and Bacall and saw their romantic chemistry blossom right there on the screen! It's pure entertainment from start to finish. You may feel your review is shorter than you wanted it to be, but I assure you that your love of TH&HN was a great read, and I very much enjoyed your blog post!

    Hubby Vinnie and I are looking forward to the Forever Classics Bogart Blogathon! We'll be posting a Team Bartilucci Bogart double-feature on Saturday, Christmas Eve for THE BIG SLEEP and WE'RE NO ANGELS.