Film / To Have and Have Not

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To Have and Have Not is a 1944 drama set during World War II, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and directed by Howard Hawks.

Harry Morgan (Bogart) is an expatriate fishing boat captain living in Martinique, which is controlled by the French Vichy government, which of course at the time supported the Nazis. He and his alcoholic partner Eddie (Walter Brennan) take an American businessman named Johnson out fishing, and are unsuccessful, due to Johnson's poor ability. When they get back to the hotel they're staying at, Johnson promises to pay Harry the money he owes him the next morning, when he gets to go to the bank. At the hotel, the owner, Frenchy (Marcel Dalio) tells Harry some friends of his want to hire him, but knowing it's part of the resistance movement Frenchy belongs to, Harry turns him down, even when Frenchy's friends approach him. Also at the hotel, Harry ends up meeting Marie (Bacall), another expatriate, and they immediately become attracted to one another. She also ends up stealing Johnson's wallet, which is how Harry finds out Johnson actually had enough money in traveler's checks to pay him, but was planning to skip town. When Harry confronts him, Johnson sheepishly starts to sign over the traveler's checks when a shootout happens between Frenchy's friends and the police. Two of Frenchy's friends escape, but the others are killed, and Johnson is also caught in the crossfire and killed. Captain Renard (Dan Seymour), the head Gestapo in the area, brings Harry and Marie in for questioning; he's satisfied for the moment they had nothing to do with the resistance men, but insists on taking Harry's passport and his money, even the money Harry had taken from Johnson (since he died before signing the checks).

With no money, Harry reluctantly agrees to accept the job Frenchy and his friends wanted him to do, which was pick up a Resistance member from another island. Knowing he'll get the worst of it if he's caught, Harry buys Marie a plane ticket so she'll leave, and insults Eddie so he won't come along. However, they both end up disobeying him; Marie gets a job singing at the hotel, and Eddie stows away on the trip. Harry ends up picking up Paul, the Resistance member, as well as his wife Helene, but a patrol boat spots them. They end up getting away, but a sniper on the boat is able to wound Paul in the shoulder area. Harry is called on to do surgery on Paul's shoulder, and he must also outwit the Gestapo, who are asking questions about that night.

This was the first of four movies to co-star Bogart and Bacall, and it's on this film the two fell in love in real life. It's also based on a novel by Ernest Hemingway, though he didn't think much of it, and actually bet Hawks he couldn't make a movie from it. It turned out to be a big hit with both critics and audiences, and is well regarded today.

This film contains examples of:

  • Batman in My Basement: The Bursacs are hidden in the hotel's basement.
  • Berserk Button: Harry is generally a genial person, unless you insult Eddie or hit a woman, especially Marie. Then watch out.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Harry mentions in passing that he has treated many bullet wounds before. Later he is asked to perform a We Have to Get the Bullet Out on the wounded passenger.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Harry yells at and slaps Eddie. This may seem mean, but it's to discourage him from coming along on a dangerous mission.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Harry and Marie are both pretty good at this.
  • Default to Good: Harry.
  • Double Entendre: The famous "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow" line.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Marie's introduction: "Anybody got a match?"
  • Expy: Marie was based on Hawks' real-life wife at the time, including her nickname "Slim".
  • Fainting: Hellene de Bursac passes out during the surgery on her husband.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Part of the lyrics of the song, "Am I Blue?"; "Was I gay until today?"
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Subverted at first with Harry; although he is sympathetic towards Frenchy and his friends, he knows helping them will spell trouble for him. At the end, though, he decides to help no matter what the consequences.
    • Played straight with Frenchy.
  • Infodump: Half am hour in, during a Walk and Talk scene, Harry explains the central conflict between the Vichy and the Free French to Slim.
  • In-Name-Only: The film is based on an Ernest Hemingway novel, but Hawks (and Warner Bros.) changed so much of it that it's virtually unrecognisable from its source.
  • In-Series Nickname: Harry and Marie never call each other by their names; he calls her "Slim" (see Expy above), and she calls him "Steve" (possibly because it's short for stevedore, which he is).
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Harry mentions this, right before the shootout in front of the hotel.
  • La Résistance: The Free French movement. Harry ends up siding with them.
  • Little Stowaway: An adult version. Eddie sneaks onto the boat and thus becomes part of the nightly MacGuffin Escort Mission.
  • Meaningful Echo: Eddie explains the part about why he thinks getting bitten by a dead bee is dangerous to Frenchy's friends and an amused Marie. Near the end of the movie, when Harry tells Eddie Marie is coming along with them, Eddie's none too thrilled, until Marie quotes the speech back to him. Then he decides she's all right.
  • Mysterious Past: We never learn why Marie left home. But we have to assume the worst.
  • Notable Original Music: All but one of the songs performed in the movie (particularly "How Little we Know") were co-written by Hoagy Carmichael, who plays Cricket, the piano player and leader of the music combo at the bar.
  • Only in It for the Money: Harry states that the decision to help the Free French movement is solely based on the monetary return offered.
  • Oral Fixation: Hoagy Carmichael (the pianist) played most of his scenes with a matchstick in his teeth.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Eddie.
  • Running Gag: "Was you ever bit by a dead bee?"
  • Silly Walk: Eddie limps like he is desperately trying to make it to the toilet before he has an accident.note 
  • Those Wacky Nazis: A little more subdued than usual (no uniforms or Nazi salutes), but just as menacing; when Johnson and Harry are walking back from the boat, Johnson notices the Vichy flag flying and makes a remark, whereupon an official who overhears it follows them and demands both of their names and addresses for criticizing the government.
  • Water Wake-up: Early on, Harry wakes up Eddie with a bucket full of water.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out: Plot device to paint Harry even more of an heroic character.

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