To Have and Have Not (1944)

Ernest Hemingway's interesting titled work, once converted to screen, is one of the most exciting and fun pictures from this time period. It resembles "Casablanca" in more than one way: the time period and the implosion of political violence, the need to escape, the non-American setting....they all pile up and the one thing that should stand out the most as a similarity between the movies actually starts to fade: Humphrey Bogart.
Captain Morgan, having nothing to do with rum, is a man for hire. More appropriately, his boat is for hire. He rents out the vessel to men who are wanting to fish and partake in other sea-faring activities. One such man has been out several times for the course of a few weeks and hasn't caught anything, mostly due to the fact that he is completely incompetent at fishing; but he still owes Morgan a great deal of money.
Henry Morgan has a friend named Eddie, who is an alcoholic. The man is somewhat of the comic relief of the picture, tottering around, just wanting another drink and talking profusely—most of his jabbering is unnecessary questions: Have you ever been stung by a dead bee?
When Morgan returns from a boating trip one night he is confronted by the manager of the hotel at which he is staying. The man wants to know if Morgan can sneak a few men (enemies of the law) out on his boat.
But Morgan is in a position of never risking his neck for other people, and only helping those who pay him. The manager tells Morgan that he will be paid, not much...but it's still money. Yet Morgan's code (he's very similar to the other Bogart characters Sam Spade and Rick) prevents him from helping, and it makes sense this way.
Hold on, there's a seductress yet to be seen. The lady across the hall who first introduces herself by asking for a light for her cigarette. She captivates the room when she walks through. Although her name is Marie, Morgan takes to calling her "Slim", a nickname that she detests.
When the officials catch wind of the plan of sneaking defectors back and forth, they storm the hotel and shoot a few of the men, but one gets away.
Morgan is left with no money and teams up with Marie in order to scrape up a few dollars, plus he's kind of falling in love with, no one saw that coming.
Marie is a spit-fire woman, combating the "Slim" name, she calls Morgan "Steve" though he is less irked than she is.
Although both Morgan and Marie need money, the captain refuses to receive donations of any kind—he's going to earn his money or he's going to starve.
As Captain Morgan, Humphrey Bogart gives one of his finest performances. He's not as over-the-top as he is in "The African Queen" (coincidentally, the only work that won him an Oscar) and he's more relatable than in "Casablanca".
He is opposite Lauren Bacall's Marie, who is simply stunning in this film. I have not seen any actress command the screen like she does. Although her singing voice leaves something to be desired, she is never flustered, never falters, and is always one step ahead.
The way she can deliver a line is staggering—it's this character that gives the famous line about whistling.
The chemistry between Bogart and Bacall is really great, this would not be the only picture they would make together.
The screenplay was worked on by William Faulkner (yes, the novelist guy) which I found quite interesting because it was based on a Hemingway work.
All-in-all, "To Have and Have Not" is hugely entertaining. It's more exciting than "Casablanca" and sexier than any of the Oscar winning movies from the 40s.
Sexual innuendos pile on top of each other, this isn't graphic material, mind's simply a shade off racy.
The movie has a surprisingly modern look, particularly in the boat scenes. It reminded me of "Jaws"...always a good thing.
I liked "To Have and Have Not" a great deal. My problems with the movie were few and my enjoyments were many.

Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4

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