Many feel that Casablanca is Bogart's best film. I disagree - but for those who don't To Have and Have Not is a must-see film. It's Casablanca with a different setting, this time we find Bogart playing Harry Morgan, crewing a ship out for hire. His lovely lady is Lauren Bacall in her motion picture debut playing the dark and mysterious Slim.
Teamed up with Harry's alcoholic side-kick Eddie, Cricket the night-club manager by night, resistance sympathizer by day, and a cast of supporters, Bogart and Bacall's adventures are as great on screen as they were off screen.
The film is based off Ernest Hemmingway's novel of the same name.
Interestingly enough the film was made as part of a challenge between Hemmingway and the film's director, Howard Hawks. Hawks claimed that he could take Hemmingway's worst novel and turn it into a good film. The result was a success - though the film is a far cry from the novel - so far the film's title doesn't even make sense.
To Have and Have Not has every necessary ingredient for success: sex, violence, suspense, and the occasional musical interlude. Hawks gives us a little of everything in his hacked-up version of Hemmingway, and when the sparks start to settle he has Bacall do a little number at the piano bar which may be irrelevant, but Bacall's lovely and libidinous manor far makes up for it. The film may lack class but it's all the more entertaining because of it.
Bacall and Bogart strike a match at the start of the film and the flame outlives Bogart. The chemistry is so strong between the two that you can't help but believe there is more to their romance then what's scripted. You're right too - Bogart and Bacall fell in love...