Thursday, September 15, 2016

Better Living Through Chemistry

To Have and Have Not (1944) - Hawks
Its WWII French Martinique in the Caribbean sea setting is pretty similar to Casablanca in Nothern Africa for cynical, overly neutral business owners - Rick, a bar owner, Harry/Steve, a captain of a fishing charter boat. They are both played by wry Humphrey Bogart who always ends up doing the right thing. But its war intrigue is just a basis for Bogart to do his thing. To Have and Have Not is more of a comedy than melancholic love story. With 19-year old scene chewing Lauren Bacall, called 'Slim' here, you have two Bogeys running around wisecracking all of the time. Exchanging crackling banters when not singing while drinking or smoking, comfortably wearing righteousness on their sleeves, the backstory-less dynamic duo is just too goddamn cool for everything around them. Yeah corrupt cops can shake me but I won't even blink, oh you want me to pick up this person for the French Nationalists on my boat under the nose of Vichy royalist cops? Sure, gimme some money. We get caught by patrol boat? Oh we just shoot at their searchlight and run. Oh the dude got shot and we don't have a doctor? I'll dig the bullet out of his shoulder no prob. Honey, fetch me my first aid kit. Oh let me hit on the poor wife of the man who got shot. Oh let me make fun of the wife by mimicking her because I am jealous. I mean it goes on and on like that. To Have and Have Not showcases exemplary chemistry between the two leads. It's a really deliciously fun movie.

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