Breaking Point, The: Curtiz Remake of Hawks To Have and Have Not, Starring John Garfield and Patricia Neal

Michael Curtiz made this thriller, Hollywood’s second crack at Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not.  The first film was directed by Howard Hawks in 1944, teaming Humphrey Bogart and Bacall for the first time.
John Garfield stars as Harry Morgan, an honest charter-boat captain who, facing hard times, takes on dangerous cargo to save his boat, support his family, and preserve his dignity.
Left in the lurch by a freeloading passenger, Harry starts to enter­tain the criminal propositions of a sleazy lawyer (Wallace Ford), as well as the playful come-ons of a cheeky blonde (Patricia Neal), making a series of compromises that stretch his morality-and his marriage-further than he’ll admit.
Hewing closer to Hemingway’s novel than Howard Hawks’s Bogart-Bacall vehicle does, The Breaking Point charts a course through daylight noir and working-class tragedy, guided by Curtiz’s effortless visual fluency and a stoic, career-capping performance from Garfield.
Supplemental features:
An interview with critic Alan K. Rode (Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film);
a piece featuring actor and acting instructor Julie Garfield on her father, actor John Garfield;
a video essay by Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou analyzing Curtiz’s methods.

 

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