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Film / To Have and Have Not

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

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 films to co-star Bogart and Bacall, who fell in love in real life during filming. 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; William Faulkner contributed to the screenplay adaptation. It turned out to be a big hit with both critics and audiences, and is well regarded today.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adventure Duo: Serious Harry and funny Eddie.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Harry and Marie call each other Steve and Slim.
  • The Alcoholic: Eddie, big time. Renard discovers this to his annoyance when he tries to question him.
  • Alcohol Hic: Again, Eddie.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Played with. Since La Résistance cannot allow to ask for official help to fix up Bursacs' shoulder wound, Harry has to step in.
  • 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.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: The film doesn't stereotype all the French this way, but Harry jokes that Paul de Bursac got shot because he was too eager to surrender to the Vichy patrol ship.
  • 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.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The government of Martinique takes its orders from the Vichy regime.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Paul has a bullet wound that needs treatment, but the Free French can't go to any sympathetic doctors without revealing themselves to Vichy agents. So Frenchy asks Harry to treat him, since he at least has experience treating bullet wounds.
  • 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?"
  • Fainting: Helene de Bursac passes out during the surgery on her husband.
  • Fat Bastard: Captain Renard is a huge man, just oozing with smugness and thinly veiled menace.
  • Glad He's On Our Side: "I'm glad you're on our side." (said twice)
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Part of the lyrics of the song, "Am I Blue?"; "Was I gay until today?" Even more hilarious for the viewers from ex-USSR, since in Russian "blue" is still a popular slang word for gays.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Harry starts off listening to reason: although he is sympathetic towards Frenchy and his friends, he knows helping them will spell trouble for him. When he does start helping, he insists that he's only doing it for the money. At the end, though, he decides to help no matter what the consequences, and even turns down a larger reward for informing on Frenchy to Captain Renard.
    • 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 Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The opening titles and posters (as seen above) proclaim this is "Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not". Ironic, considering it's an In Name Only adaptation.
  • 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 Write Who You Know below), 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.
  • Knight in Sour Armour: Harry is as world-weary as you'd imagine a Bogart character in a Hemingway story to be.
  • Kubrick Stare: Played for sexy by Bacall, reportedly because Bacall was nervous about working with Bogey and was trying to keep from shaking. Considering that they later got married, that's adorable.
  • Little Stowaway: An adult version. Eddie sneaks onto the boat and thus becomes part of the nightly MacGuffin Escort Mission.
  • Loser Friend Puzzles Outsiders: Eddie always begs Harry to give him some money so he can visit a bar. Nobody understands why he keeps having contact with this loser, but Harry explains that the man once helped him out in the past and now he feels responsible for him.
  • 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.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Harry's opinion of Johnson drops even lower when Johnson insults Horatio (who works on the boat) and Eddie. OTOH, when Marie meets Eddie, she readily engages him with his "Was you bit by a dead bee?" stories, which makes Harry like her even more.
  • 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.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: As the movie was filmed during World War II, Howard Hawks moved the setting from Cuba to Vichy-controlled Martinique to placate the Roosevelt administration. They objected to the unfavorable portrayal of Cuba's government as against the government's "Good Neighbor" policy toward Latin American nations.
  • La Résistance: The Free French movement. Harry ends up siding with them.
  • Running Gag: "Was you ever bit by a dead bee?"
  • Self-Plagiarism: At one point, Marie tells Harry, "I'm hard to get, Steve. All you have to do is ask me." Howard Hawks had previously used that line in his film Only Angels Have Wings, with Jean Arthur saying it to Cary Grant.
    • When Marie is asked why she came to Martinique, she replies, "To buy a new hat." Jules Furthman, who co-wrote the screenplay of the movie, had previously used this line in Shanghai Express, where it was said by Marlene Dietrich.
  • Silly Walk: Eddie limps like he is desperately trying to make it to the toilet before he has an accident.note 
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Marie gives Harry a slap after he kisses her, because he hasn't shaved.
  • 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.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Johnson gets killed by a stray bullet because he goes to the front door to get a better look at the gunfight outside.
    • When they run into the Vichy patrol ship, Harry tells the unarmed Paul and Helene to hide by laying flat on the deck. When the firefight breaks out, Paul stands up anyway and gets a bullet in his shoulder for the trouble.
  • The Voiceless: Captain Renard's tall, skinny underling. Harry tries to get a response from him a few times, to no avail.
  • 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.
  • Wolf Whistle: Famously done when Slim instructs Harry: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow." When she's gone, he tries it, and produces a wolf whistle.