To Have and Have Not: Bogey, Bacall, Impact and Recycling

Howard Hughes sold the book rights to Howard Hawks, who then sold them to Warner. Hawks respected Hemingway’s works, but he considered To Have and Have Not his worst book, a “bunch of junk.”

Hawks and Hemingway worked on the story together. The film preserves the book’s title, and the names and characteristics of some of the figures. William Faulkner, then financially broke, was on the payroll, helping with the script.

The setting was moved from Cuba to Martinique to please the Roosevelt administration and its “good neighbor” with Cuba.

Borrowing from Casablanca

The script was further developed by Jules Furthman, and, near the end, by William Faulkner. This change, placing the plot on the background of a French colony ruled by the Vichy Regime, made the film similar to Bogart’s earlier, highly successful Casablanca.

The film’s piano player (Hoagy Carmichael) as a supporting character, which didn’t exist in Hemingway’s book, also recalled Casablanca (Play it Again, Sam).

Some cast members from Casablanca appear in the fil, in addition to Dalio and Bogart: Dan Seymour (Abdul in the earlier film) plays the French/Vichy official Renard, bearing a similar name and position to Casablanca’s Capt. Renault (played by Claude Rains).

Bogart’s character reluctantly assisting husband-and-wife resistance fighters was similar to Casablanca.

This was Lauren Bacall’s first film, at the age of 19. Hawks’ wife Nancy “Slim” Keith (whose nickname would be applied to Bacall’s character, while Nancy’s nickname for Hawks, Steve, would be used by Bacall for Bogart’s character) noticed Bacall on the cover of  Harper’s Bazaar and showed the photo to her husband.

After shooting began, a romance developed between Bacall and Bogart–despite Hawks’ disapproval. This romance led to the demise of Bogart’s marriage to Mayo Methot, his third wife, and to Bacall and Bogart’s marriage, which lasted until his death.

Reel Impact

Bacall’s part was expanded to take advantage of the Bogart-Bacall chemistry, especially in the legendary double entendre-laced line “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow.”  This quote is occupies the  #34 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes list.

The docu A Love Story: The Story of “To Have and Have Not”, included on the 2003 DVD, has Hawks recognizing the star-making potential of the film for Bacall, emphasized her role, while downplaying that of Dolores Moran, the film’s other female lead; Hawks and Moran had an affair during production.

Hoagy Carmichael plays Cricket, the piano player in the hotel bar. Bacall sings “How Little We Know,” written by Carmichael and Johnny Mercer.

Another Carmichael song, “Hong Kong Blues,” co-written with Stanley Adams, was also used. “Am I Blue?” written by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke, is performed by Carmichael and Bacall. “The Rhumba Jumps,” by Mercer and Carmichael, is performed by the Martinique band.

Some female singers were tested to dub for Bacall, due to her lack of necessary vocal skill, but in the end, Bacall did her own singing.

Other Media

To Have and Have Not was adapted as an hour-long radio play on the October 14, 1946 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater with Bogart and Bacall reprising their screen roles.

In 1950, Warner remade To Have and Have Not as “The Breaking Point,” starring John Garfield as Harry Morgan, and directed by Michael Curtiz.  It was more faithful to the original Hemingway text than less iconic or enjoyable that the original version.

Bacall to Arms, a 1940s Looney Tunes short spoofed scenes from To Have And Have Not