One of the best—loved classic movies of all time To Have and Have Not is famous for the offscreen romance that sparked on-screen electricity between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
This prototypical Howard Hawks story (with help from William Faulkner) began with a bet between the director and Ernest Hemingway that he could film Hemingway’s worst book, which was, in the author’s own estimation, To Have and Have Not.
Hemingway shouldn’t have paid because Hawks threw out the story. He placed Bogart in WWII Martinique as a charter-boat captain squiring rich folks around to fish. The apolitical sailor turns down requests for help from the French Resistance until Bacall appears at his doorway looking for a match.
After smoldering glances (and some of the funniest banter ever in movies), he discovers she also needs a way back to the U.S. To secure the price of her ticket, Bogart takes an assignment to smuggle Dalio and Moran into Martinique and winds up on the lam from the Vichy police and nursing a wounded Dalio.
Bacall turns in her ticket and throws in with the reluctant hero. Bacall was a 19-year-old model when Hawks’s wife spotted her on a magazine cover, and she is perhaps the most luminous, enticing character ever to grace the screen. Bogart must have thought so, too, for theirs is a famous Hollywood love story that everyone who sees this can watch blossoming.
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan, Hoagy Carmichael
Producer and Director: Howard Hawks
Director of Photography: Sidney Hickox
Editor: Christian Nyby
Composer: Franz Waxman
Screenwriters: William Faulkner, Jules Furthman
Art Director: Charles Novi
USA / Warner Bros / 101 minutes / 1945