To Have and Have Not Blu-ray Review

Highly Recommended Classic 4.5 Stars

With the release of To Have and Have Not, the Warner Archive has now produced exceptional Blu-rays of all four films which star Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Directed by Howard Hawks, the film also is collaboration by two of America’s greatest novelists, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.

To Have and Have Not (1944)
Released: 20 Jan 1945
Rated: NOT RATED
Runtime: 100 min
Director: Howard Hawks
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Romance
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan, Lauren Bacall, Dolores Moran
Writer(s): Ernest Hemingway (novel), Jules Furthman (screen play), William Faulkner (screen play)
Plot: During WWII, American expatriate Harry Morgan helps transport a Free French Resistance leader and his beautiful wife to Martinique while romancing a sexy lounge singer.
IMDB rating: 8.0
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: Warner Archive
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 2.0 DD, French 2.0 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 40 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Standard Blu-ray Case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 07/19/2016
MSRP: $21.99

The Production: 4.5/5

You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together and…blow.

With the release of To Have and Have Not, the Warner Archive has now produced exceptional Blu-rays of all four films which star Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Directed by Howard Hawks, the film also is collaboration by two of America’s greatest novelists, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.

Harry Morgan (Humphrey Bogart) is the owner and captain of a fishing boat in Martinique, a French island in the eastern Caribbean. It is the summer of 1940. France has fallen to Germany, and the French Third Republic has been dissolved and replaced by the Vichy government, which now controls Martinique. For the past two weeks Harry’s boat has been chartered by an American tourist named Johnson (Walter Sande), who has not had much fishing luck. Harry is assisted, after a fashion, by Eddie (Walter Brennan), who is more interested in drinking beer than fishing. When Johnson carelessly loses Harry’s rod and reel while trying to reel in a large marlin, he decides that his deep sea fishing days are over. He owes Harry $825.00, but he claims that he doesn’t carry that much money with him. He promises to pay Harry after going to the bank in the morning.

Harry lives at the Hotel Marquis, and Johnson also is staying there. They stop at the bar for drinks, and after Johnson leaves to wash up Harry is approached by the hotel manager, Frenchy (Marcel Dalio). Frenchy is known to be a sympathizer of the French Resistance, and he tells Harry that he has friends who want to use the boat for one night, but not for fishing. Harry begs off, telling Frenchy that he has no intention of getting involved in local politics and risking the loss of his boat.  While they continue their discussion in Harry’s room an American woman named Marie Browning (Lauren Bacall), who has just arrived in Martinique from Trinidad, briefly appears in the doorway to ask Harry for a match. Later, during his dinner, Harry notices her sitting at a table while having drinks with Johnson. As she gets up to sing a song with Cricket (Hoagy Carmichael), the hotel’s entertainer, she is aware that Harry is staring at her. She then heads for her room, and Harry follows because he spotted her lifting Johnson’s wallet. He takes her into his room, where he calls her “Slim” and she dubs him “Steve.” It turn out that Johnson has been carrying $1400.00 in traveler’s checks and he has a ticket for a plane which is leaving Martinique at 6:30 the next morning.

They are interrupted when Frenchy knocks on Harry’s door. The hotel manager is accompanied by the men who want to use Harry’s boat. They are members of the French Resistance, but Harry reiterates that he has no intention of helping them. Then he and Slim go downstairs, where he confronts Johnson about his obvious intention to skip out without paying for his fishing charters. Johnson reluctantly agrees to sign over enough traveler’s checks to pay his debt, but as the Resistance members leave the hotel they are ambushed by the Vichy security forces and Johnson is killed by a stray bullet. Suddenly short of cash, Harry has to reconsider his refusal to help the Resistance.

To Have or Have Not is Lauren Bacall’s first film appearance, and her smoldering chemistry with Humphrey Bogart resonates in every scene in which they appear. Bacall is so effective that the sultry Dolores Moran, who receives co-star billing in the credits, saw her role as the wife of a Resistance leader greatly diminished as the filming progressed. Bogart is gritty and believable as the reluctant boat captain. Walter Brennan is very effective as Eddie, the sometimes comical “rummy.” Brennan was only 49 years old during filming, but he was one of those actors who always seemed to be much older than his actual age. Howard Hawks, one of Hollywood’s top directors, had purchased the rights to film Hemingway’s book from Howard Hughes, even though Hawks regarded it as Hemingway’s worst book. He later explained how he directed Lauren Bacall: “We discovered Bacall was a little girl who, when she becomes insolent, becomes rather attractive. That was the only way you noticed her, because she could do it with a grin. So I said to Bogey, ‘We are going to try an interesting thing. You are about the most insolent man on the screen and I’m going to make this girl a little more insolent than you are.'”

Hoagy Carmichael contributes several songs to the film, including “How Little We Know,” which he co-wrote with Johnny Mercer. Incidentally (and despite stories to the contrary), Lauren Bacall does her own singing.

The film differs significantly from Hemingway’s book, which was published in 1937 and clearly has nothing to do with the French Resistance. Because the novel involves smuggling between Cuba and Florida, the Roosevelt Administration objected to the story and threatened to prevent the film from being exported to other countries. Consequently, a decision was made to move the action to Martinique and instead of smuggling contraband Harry is smuggling Resistance members. The scintillating screenplay is credited to Jules Furthman (Mutiny on the Bounty, The Big Sleep) and William Faulkner, who often supplemented his income as a novelist by working in Hollywood as a script doctor. The story has some obvious similarities to Casablanca, but To Have and Have Not is one of those films where the plot is secondary to the amazing performances.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

The 1080p 1.37:1 black & white image is encoded with the AVC codec and is nearly flawless. There is not a hint of print damage, contrast is strong, and black levels are inky. The excellent cinematography is by Sid Hickox (The Big Sleep, Dark Passage). Sharpness is very good throughout the film, which suits Bacall’s very expressive eyes. The Warner Archive has continued to add to its catalog of outstanding Blu-rays with this release.

Audio: 4.5/5

The DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio is as good as one could hope for. Dialogue is clear and understandable, and there is surprising punch in the scenes which involved gunfire. As noted there is quite a bit of music in the film, and each song is delivered with excellent fidelity. No hiss, flutter, or other age-related anomalies were noted.

The original score is attributed to Franz Waxman, although he is not listed in the credits.

The available audio options are English and Polish. English, French, Polish, and Spanish subtitles are available.

Special Features: 4/5

This Blu-ray release includes a nice array of extras.

“Bacall to Arms” is an amusing 1946 Merrie Melodies cartoon which features anthropomorphic animals attending a screening of “To Have-To Have-To Have-To Have” starring “Bogey Gocart” and Laurie Bee Cool.”

“A Love Story: The Story of To Have and Have Not” recounts how Bogart’s marriage to Mayo Methot – they were known as “The Battling Bogarts” – was badly deteriorating when the filming of To Have and Have Not began. Howard Hawks’ wife had seen a New York model named Betty Perske on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar magazine and was so taken with her looks that she convinced her husband to sign her to a movie contract, after which Betty became Lauren Bacall. The featurette covers how the film adaptation diverged from Hemingway’s book and of course focuses on the love affair which developed between Bogart and Bacall. It has a running time of 11 minutes and includes comments by Leonard Maltin and Robert Osborne. It previously appeared on the film’s DVD.

Also included is the film’s theatrical trailer, which is in good shape.

The final extra is the 1946 Lux Radio adaptation of To Have and Have Not, with both Bogart and Bacall reprising their roles. It has a running time of 59 minutes and includes the original commercials for Lux soap. The program has subtitles for viewers who have hearing difficulties.

The feature is divided into 27 chapters.

Overall: 4.5/5

To Have and Have Not belongs in the library of every film collector. This outstanding Blu-ray from the Warner Archive is a significant upgrade over the old DVD and is highly recommended. It can be pre-ordered at the Warner Archive website or at Amazon.

Published by

Richard Gallagher

author

22 Comments

  1. One of my all-time favorite films and one I would take to that mythical desert island if I was allowed only ten movies in total. I've seen this film many, many times, in re-run theaters, in film clubs and on television, and I don't think I've ever seen a really good, clean print. I'm delighted this disc is so good and also a little surprised. I suspected Warners might have real problems restoring To Have And Have Not.

  2. Once again pre-ordered from amazon and today this message is on my page.

    Delivery estimate: We need a little more time to provide you with a good estimate. We'll notify you via e-mail as soon as we have an estimated delivery date.

    Seems to be the same thing that happened to "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" and "Victor/Victoria".

    Guess I will again play the "Waiting Game"!

  3. Once again pre-ordered from amazon and today this message is on my page.

    Delivery estimate: We need a little more time to provide you with a good estimate. We'll notify you via e-mail as soon as we have an estimated delivery date.

    Seems to be the same thing that happened to "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" and "Victor/Victoria".

    Guess I will again play the "Waiting Game"!

    Right there with you.

    Not yet shipped

    Delivery estimate: We need a little more time to provide you with a good estimate. We'll notify you via e-mail as soon as we have an estimated delivery date.

    Makes me one unhappy B&B fan. :(:razz:opcorn::(

  4. Since writing the review I sat down and read Hemingway's book. If you think that you know the book because you've seen the movie, think again. The book is very different, and not just because of the locales. It is quite a dissimilar experience.

  5. Since writing the review I sat down and read Hemingway's book. If you think that you know the book because you've seen the movie, think again. The book is very different, and not just because of the locales. It is quite a dissimilar experience.

    Richard, have you ever seen The Breaking Point? It is based on the same book. I have never read the book, but The Breaking Point is not very similar to To Have and Have Not. Of course a lot of To Have and Have Not is the relationship between B & B, which is largely copied from Only angels Have Wings and later repeated in Rio Bravo.

  6. Yes, I've seen The Breaking Point. It's closer to the novel than To Have and Have Not, but it's still changed in significant ways. For one thing, the action takes place in California rather than Florida and Cuba, and it ends on a more hopeful note. The book has some peculiarities. It begins written in the first person, with Harry telling the story, and then it changes to the third person. Written during the depths of the Great Depression, Hemingway introduces several characters during the second half of the book who have nothing to do with Harry Morgan, but they give Hemingway an opportunity to criticize wealthy capitalists who come to Key West in their fancy yachts while most of the locals are barely managing to feed their children.

  7. Mine arrived this evening.

    However with the Cub-Sox games all week, may not get to it until the weekend. (Go Cubs).

    Yes go Cubs! Enjoy Chapman (I'm a Yankees fan) and I hope the Cubs break the curse.

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