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My Journey Into Old Movies: To Have and Have Not

Photo: Warner Bros.
Photo: Warner Bros.

It’s summer in Fort-de-France, Martinique. The year is 1940, and WWII is raging throughout Europe. The Nazi regime has successfully taken over France. The Germans exert their iron will over every aspect of life. Any whisperings of resistance are dealt with swiftly and without mercy. So begins the film To Have and Have Not. Humphrey Bogart plays a charming fisherman, who charters his boat out to tourists for cash. His life is about to take a turn he was never expecting. He will have to muster up all his courage and cleverness to help the French Resistance smuggle a couple onto the island. His adventure is full of intrigue, extreme danger, romance, and Nazis. Now tell me, what more could a person ask for in a film?

Photo: Warner Brothers
Photo: Warner Brothers

Humphrey Bogart plays his usual loner role, a man who looks out for no one but himself. Lauren Bacall enters as a sexy and mysterious vixen, turning Bogart’s life upside down with her irresistible charm. Bogart simply can’t resist her siren’s call.

Lauren Bacall was enchanting in this role, exuding sexiness and charisma.

I’ve recently become a big fan of Humphrey Bogart, which probably played a part in how much I enjoyed the film. He has this rebellious charm that just sucks me in. I’ve always been a fan of the loner characters. I’m a bit of a loner myself, which probably explains why I can empathize with those characters so well. Bogart’s character in To Have and Have Not actually reminded me a lot of his character in Casablanca. The entire movie seemed to have a lot of similar elements of that acclaimed film. Aside from its WWII setting, the movie’s characters share many similarities such as Bogart’s iconic loner style, and the inclusion of a piano player as a character of importance to Bogart.

Photo: Warner Bros.
Photo: Warner Bros.

I was surprised to discover that this was actually Lauren Bacall’s first role in a film. Apparently, the director’s wife noticed her in a magazine and shared it with her husband, who instantly fell for her charms and sought her out for the role. She also managed to capture Bogart’s heart, falling into a torrid affair with him that ended up with him divorcing his wife at the time and eventually marrying Bacall. This explains their incredible chemistry in the movie. The two practically set the place on fire whenever they are together. Taking advantage of their chemistry, the director even expanded Bacall’s role in the film to overshadow that of the other female lead, Dolores Moran.

Photo: Warner Brothers
Photo: Warner Brothers

The WWI setting and the danger present with Bogart’s involvement with the French Resistance all come together to create a very forbidden and romantic backdrop. Bogart’s assistance in helping some refugees escape the German’s notice brings out a softer side of the character, making him a perfect example of the rebellious and charming loner, who has a heart of gold. It makes him outrageously attractive to any woman watching him perform these daring feats. I certainly fell head over heels for his dashing performance. Needless to say, I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a bit of danger and romance. This film has that in spades. Join me next week when I discuss the film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Did you enjoy To Have and Have Not? What other films do you think I should watch? Sound off below…



If you like pieces about old film, make sure to read all of my articles in My Journey Into Old Movies here.

Are you a fan of Casablanca? Check this out.

Do you enjoy stories about ghosts with a hint of romance? Check this out.

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By on September 17th, 2015

About Rebecca Lane

Rebecca Lane grew up in the hot desert landscape of Tucson, Arizona where she decided early on she wanted to write, if only to mentally escape her blistering surroundings. She has always been enamored of the arts and literature. As a child she often wrote short stories, and rewrote the endings of novels that she simply could not abide. She received her Undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she was lucky enough to also spend a year studying at Oxford University. While she began her journey dreaming of the day she would sing opera in a large Manhattan theater, she found in the end she could not stand waitressing and simply could not give up books and her hopes of someday writing them. She is currently working as a freelance writer/editor and earning her Masters in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

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2 thoughts on “My Journey Into Old Movies: To Have and Have Not”

  1. I haven’t seen Sabrina yet, but look out for it, as I’m going to watch it soon for this blog. I’ll have to let you know what I think of him in it. 🙂


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