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To Have and Have Not
To Have and Have Not is a romantic adventure film from acclaimed filmmaker Howard Hawks (The Big Sleep). The film was based upon the novel written by Ernest Hemingway. Jack L. Warner (Casablanca, The Big Sleep, My Fair Lady), one of the original Brothers Warner, executive produced the film.
Set during World War II and taking place within the French colony of Martinique, Harry Morgan (Humphrey Bogart) is a small-time sailboat tourist guide (with only the aid of Eddie (Walter Brennan) as his help). Harry starts helping smuggle French resistance members to a nearby island while starting a romance with a lounge singer named Marie 'Slim' Browning (Lauren Bacall). Over the course of the film, Harry has a variety of misadventures with the resistance while falling head over heels in love. Harry can't seem to resist Marie's charm and her lovely voice.
As in the film itself, a romance was beginning. To Have and Have Not is an important film production for cinema's history books as the first collaboration between actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The pair made many films together over the years and To Have and Have Not was the one that "started it all". It was also the start of Bogart and Bacall's romance on and off screen.
Bogart and Bacall began a romance during production which became famous in Hollywood lore. Though Bogart was married at the time, he divorced and later married Bacall. The relationship which brewed between Bogart and Bacall is regarded as one of the most famous Hollywood romances in history.
The music score by Franz Waxman (Sunset Boulevard, Rebecca, A Place in the Sun) adds a quality element to the production. The music fits the adventurous spirit of much of the film. Both the score and the song numbers (delivered splendidly by Bacall) elevate the material. Without any doubt, the music of the film adds a great deal to the stylistic flourishes of the filmmaking.
Featuring cinematography by Sidney Hickox (The Big Sleep, I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show), To Have and Have Not impresses with its beautiful cinematography. The film is an incredibly beautiful looking film with exquisite black and white photography. The style is especially effective for the darker film-noir style elements sprinkled throughout the story. Hickox did terrific work with this production.
The costume designs by Milo Anderson (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Yankee Doodle Dandy) are stylish and effective. The gowns and costumes on lead stars Bogart and Bacall are especially noteworthy. The style was quite well-suited to these actors and it helped to create an effective atmosphere for the film.
The screenplay was written by Jules Furthman (The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo) and William Faulkner (The Big Sleep, Today We Live). Faulkner, who is better known for his novels, worked for a period in Hollywood. To Have and Have Not was one of the more renowned productions Faulkner worked on. The script explores the story through a multitude of genres: adventure with splashes of romance, film noir, and plenty of drama.
To Have and Have Not was also significantly different from the novel written by Hemingway. Hawks, who considered himself a fan of the novelist, didn't care as much for the novel that he was adapting (considering it to be one of the writer's "lesser" works). The film was meant to improve upon the novel's story. The story ended up being quite a bit different as a result.
Howard Hawks (The Big Sleep, His Girl Friday, Rio Bravo, Red River) certainly directed a impressive film with To Have and Have Not. It's an entertaining film which features solid performances from both Bogart and Bacall. The film noir element was also a huge aspect directorially. Hawk's direction is superb and the film oozes with style because of his effort directing it. To Have and Have Not is a well-made Hollywood classic which holds up well. Hawks fans and fans of classic Hollywood cinema should certainly make an effort to see it.
To Have and Have Not arrives on Blu-ray (for the first time) from Warner Archive. The release is presented with a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation in the original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 full frame. The release also features a stunning 35 mbps bit-rate which allows for an incredibly robust picture.
This is a stunning presentation featuring excellent black and white cinematography. The film noir aspect of the photography looks excellent with this release. Black levels impress as well. The film is a beauty to behold with its new high-definition presentation. The presentation also appears naturally filmic. The release preserves the look of the film and no DNR or other issues are present. The film is also remarkably clean: dust and specks of dirt have been cleaned so that this is a nice and modern presentation.
The release is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono audio presentation. This is an excellent reproduction of the original sound design of the film. The mono soundtrack has been well restored with excellent clarity and a decent sense of fidelity. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. This is a superb lossless audio presentation of the film. While the fidelity of the audio isn't quite up to the quality of modern films this is an excellent restoration of the original audio.
Subtitles are provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing), Spanish, and French.
Bacall to Arms (HD, 6 min.) is a 1946 theatrical cartoon short featuring caricatured versions of Bogart and Bacall. The short spoofs To Have and Have Not and re-creates scenes from the film with animation.
A Love Story: The Story of To Have and Have Not (SD, 11 min.) is a featurette containing interviews with film critics and film historians about the production of To Have and Have Not. The famous Hollywood relationship between Bogart and Bacall which began with this film is also discussed.
Lux Radio Broadcast (1 Hr.) is an audio-only radio broadcast performance of To Have and Have Not featuring both Bogart and Bacall.
Theatrical Trailer (HD)
To Have and Have Not is certainly a famous Hollywood production: it was the first of many films to star both Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. During the production of the film, the famous Bogart/Bacall romance began. The chemistry between the two actors is certainly a huge part of the reason why the film works so well. To Have and Have Not is also entertaining and well made. Director Howard Hawks crafted an excellent film with adventure, romance, and drama.
The Warner Archive Blu-ray release presents the film in high-definition with a stunning presentation, quality lossless audio, and a decent assortment of supplements. It's worth purchasing for fans of the film.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.