Tuesday, January 24, 2017

To Have and Have Not

To Have and Have Not ~ Okay, confession time, I've never seen this film until very recently, but I've owned it forever. When I first got a VCR (yeah, we're talking that long ago) I taped several movies from PBS that were perfectly uncut classics, this was one of them. I got a chance to watch most of them, but somehow never got around to To Have or Have Not. Later I even bought a proper VHS copy of the film, and never got around to that either, but on the most recent TCM Classic Cruise, I finally caught it on the TCM Stateroom Channel, a favorite chosen by guest programmer Raquel Welch of all people. But yeah, finally.

Set in World War II, post-fall of France St. Martinique, while we were ironically docked in St. Maarten, this classic brings Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall together in a tale of treachery and intrigue. Bogart does his usual American caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Bacall does her immortal line, You know how to whistle, don't you? Just put your lips together and blow." but there's so much else to this than that. This is where the couple's real spark and charisma sizzles, where the chemistry really heats up more than other vehicles with the two. They are gold together, on screen as much as in real life.

There are surprises, more action and violet sequences than is usual in these types of films, and it works well in the context of the day and today. Walter Brennan provides wonderful comic relief, but Hoagy Carmichael stands out to me as the best of the supporting characters, providing a terrific musical soundtrack as it happens - one of the better bits right after a shoot out in the club. Classic songs and talent, love it.

I also loved finding where Barbra Streisand calling Ryan O'Neal 'Steve' in one of my favorite movies, What's Up, Doc?, comes from. Equally fun is Bogie's equally unwanted nickname for Bacall, 'Slim.' Great stuff. This movie is a classic for a reason, and now, after far too many years, it's one of my favorites too. One of the best, see it now, don't wait like me.

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