After beginning her career as a model, at the age of 19 Lauren Bacall made her debut alongside Humphrey Bogart in To Have And To Have Not in 1944. The film was directed by Howard Hawks.
Lauren Bacall was the leading lady in this film and used her smoky and sultry looks and later very recognisable voice.
This film led onto many more with Humphrey Bogart and in the same film noir.
I am very privileged to have the opportunity in tribute to Lauren Bacall’s upcoming birthday to explain how I enjoyed the wonderful film To Have And To Have Not.
To Have And To Have Not is set in Martinique, a French colony after the fall of France in 1940. Vichy France had gained control of the island.
Harry Morgan ( Humphrey Bogart ) charters his small fishing boat to the tourist audience. Morgan is a very weary character and has an off the record mate who is called Eddie ( Walter Brennan ). Eddie enjoys heavy drinking and this isn’t good with regard to the job.
Harry was approached to assist the French Resistance with smuggling people onto the island but he flatly refused.
Harry meets Marie ( Slim ) Browning ( Lauren Bacall ), a wanderer who is singing in the hotel bar alongside Cricket.
Harry has a charter client called Johnson who owes him money but Johnson claims he can’t pay the bill until the following day when the banks open. Just as things start to roll, Harry sees Slim pickpocket Johnson. Harry demands that Slim gives him the wallet containing travellers cheques and also a ticket for an early flight the next day. Harry then gives the wallet back to Johnson but cleverly tries to get Johnson to sign the travellers cheques over to him as soon as possible. At that very moment, a shoot out occurs in front of the hotel. It’s between the Resistance and the police and Johnson is killed accidentally by a stray bullet. Harry and others are subsequently questioned by the police and are taken away. Harry’s money and passport are seized.
” Frenchy ” or Gerard, who is the owner of the hotel, comes up with a plan to hire Harry and his boat just for one night to transport Resistance members Paul and Helene de Bursac. As Harry is now penniless he accepts the offer.
Slim and Harry have feelings for each other and a romance is starting. Slim gets the impression that Harry had changed his ways and thoughts about the smuggling to plainly help her.
Harry’s boat is seen as he picks up the Bursacs and then it is shot at by a patrolling boat. Harry’s boat escapes thanks to the fog but Paul is hurt. Slim stays in Martinique to be with Harry and he now realises this. Harry removes the bullet from Bursac’s shoulder upon ” Frenchy’s ” instruction.
There is plan for the Bursacs to help a man escape from the Devil’s Island. Bursac asks Harry for his help with this but Harry declines.
Eddie has been arrested and the police withheld his liquor to make Eddie spill the beans on what the boat had carried. This had occurred due to Harry’s boat being noticed by the police the night before.
Slim helps Harry to turn things around. Captain Renard is held at gunpoint and this results in Eddie being released and escapes on Harry’s boat.
Throughout the film, I felt that you could see the romance blooming as well as Slim’s character. It was a great film as Lauren Bacall’s debut and a powerful start to her very successful film career.
Thank you for letting me share my article in tribute to Lauren Bacall.