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To Have and Have Not

REVIEWED BY DAVID WAINWRIGHT

Last night I saw an old classic at the local theatre - To Have And Have Not. This may be familiar to you, so I won't write at length, but if you need a reminder, it's the Howard Hawks classic from the early 40s starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan and Hogey Carmichael in which Bogart hires out his fishing vessel on the French island of Martinique during WW2 and he becomes embroiled in the local battle between Vichy France officials and Free French rebels whilst being seduced by screen siren Bacall. Noteworthy aspects of the film are that it was made as a result of a bet between Hawks and Ernest Hemingway in which Hawks wagered he could make a movie out of Hemingway's worst book. Hawks won, but only with a major rewrite of the work, producing some of the slickest screen banter ever between Bogart and Bacall. Bacall made her screen debut in this film at the tender age of 19. It is an astonishingly assured performance for a first movie with Bacall showing a maturity beyond her years. It obviously impressed Bogart, because the seeds of his eventual marriage to Bacall were sown in the making of this film, and it shows in the smouldering scenes between them. Curiously, although Hawks eventually decided to use Bacall's voice in a singing segment with Hogey Carmichael, originally a 13 year old Andy Williams had been drafted in to overdub Bacall. It's a great film, though, especially for the sultry badinage between Bogart and Bacall.

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