TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1944) was the first film to throw together the now legendary on and off screen couple, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Their chemistry is immediately apparent on screen, full of clever jabs, inside jokes, Bacall’s sultry, taunting eyes, and Bogart’s amused half smile. From moment to moment it is a cat and mouse game between them, though you never know for sure who is the cat and who is the mouse. While the plot of the film falls a bit short and feels like a noir version of a CASABLANCA (1943) remake, Bogart and Bacall’s on screen spark ultimately makes this a great film. It’s like watching two kids with a chemistry set: each adding elements that may cause an explosion, and each watching the other to see who will flinch first. Bogart and Bacall are so great in this film just being the Bogart and Bacall we love, that the jumbled plot about the French resistance feels secondary, and separate from their romance.
Tag: Lauren Bacall
Movie moments imprint themselves on us like tattoos. Whenever my best friend, Bob Stone, and I get together, it is not our health, our families, our jobs we talk about. Right off the bat, we break into our KEY LARGO routine, Bob doing his best impersonation of Johnny Rocco browbeating his ex-moll, Gaye Dawn, to “Sing it! Sing ‘Moanin’ Low’!! Sing it NOW!!” and me then warbling “Moanin’ Low” more off-key and ear-grating than Claire Trevor ever did. This is followed by Bob’s equally spot-on version of Edward G. Robinson’s classic, “Soldier! Soldier! I’m not armed! Soldier!” Then we both crack up laughing. For Bob and me, as for many who have seen or will see KEY LARGO, these scenes are indelibly superglued to our movie consciousness. ” KEY LARGO and classic movies like it train us to worship and cherish their words and images long after the first time we heard and saw them. They take up permanent residence in our collective movie heads and we are happy to have them there.