To Have and Have Not (1944)

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Released 2-Mar-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of-A Love Story: The Story Of To Have And Have Not (11:17)
Short Film-Merrie Melodies - Bacall To Arms (6:13)
Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:42)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1944
Running Time 95:58
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (33:49) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Howard Hawks
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Humphrey Bogart
Walter Brennan
Lauren Bacall
Dolores Moran
Hoagy Carmichael
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Hoagy Carmichael
William Lava
Franz Waxman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Italian
French
German
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Romanian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    After the brief dip in the consistency of the presentation of the DVDs making up The Bogart Collection One - thanks to using the existing master for The Maltese Falcon - we return to new releases in the form of the fabulous To Have And Have Not.

    The film is the screen adaptation of the novel by none other than Ernest Hemingway, arguably the pre-eminent American novelist of the twentieth century. The film was directed by one of the true greats of American filmmaking in Howard Hawks. You know what? Who cares! Why? Because this film is simply about one thing and one thing only - arguably the greatest screen pairing of all time: Bogey and Bacall.

    Humphrey Bogart was by now a firmly established screen star and near icon thanks to a string of major films, some genuine classics including Casablanca and High Sierra. He was 44 when this film went into production. Betty Perske was a fresh faced model out of New York, who was just 19 when she finally convinced Warner Bros. executives that she was right for their latest film, and they went into promotion overdrive to sell their latest star - and changed her name in the process. The rest is cinematic history as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall steamed up the screen, as well as off-screen, in one of the best films of his career - even though it rarely seems to rate a mention when his great films are named. He had only thirteen more years to live when the film was released and Lauren Bacall, his fourth wife, shared the rest of his life. They appeared in four films together.

    Aside from the immortal pairing in their first film together, there are other stories that abound about the film. The story is oft told that Howard Hawks once told Ernest Hemingway that he was going to make a film from the worst book he had written. When asked what book that would be, Howard Hawks replied "that piece of junk, To Have And Have Not" or something similar. The bottom line is that whilst it might be billed as Ernest Hemingway's To Have And Have Not, it bears not a whole lot of resemblance to the original novel. Unfortunately, the land of the free is oftentimes not exactly the land of the free, and in this case the setting was switched from Cuba to Martinique as the administration of the day did not want to upset a friendly neighbour. How times change, given that within twenty years Cuba and the United States would basically be neighbours constantly spatting over the side fence!

    Harry "Steve" Morgan (Humphrey Bogart) operates out of Martinique, offering his boat out for charter, mainly for fishing expeditions. His mate is Eddie (Walter Brennan), best known for his soft spot for the booze. Their latest customer has hired them for chasing marlin but Johnson (Walter Sande) is not the world's best fisherman and has managed to completely fail to land several of the best marlin you could ever wish to find. He also manages to lose some rather expensive fishing gear. He calls time out on the unsuccessful expeditions and owes Harry $825.00. Arrangements are made to collect the money the next day. Unfortunately, they still have today to get through. Into the picture comes sultry Marie "Slim" Browning (Lauren Bacall), who naturally enough catches the eye of just about every male at the Marquis Hotel. She makes the acquaintance of Johnson. Meantime the hotel manager Frenchy (Marcel Dalio) makes Harry aware of some people who want to hire his boat. Harry has a safety policy though - look after number one - and is not interested in the deal, despite the pleadings of the involved persons. This is French territory during the war and so you have Vichy against Free French - and Harry is not wanting into the politics.

    He has no choice though when the Free French leave the hotel and are ambushed by the local Vichy. Not only does this impact upon the money he is owed by Johnson but it seems he is the local authority's favourite pick for some problems. With the authorities ensuring that his means to get away are diminished, his options as to how to proceed are limited. He does, however, want to ensure that Slim is out of harm's way - even though she does not really want to go. How is this tale to end?

    For all the carping on about the direction of Howard Hawks, and let's face it he does do a good job here, such was the on and off screen chemistry of the two leads that basically even Michael Bay could have made a good film out of the ingredients. Whilst it was another day in the office for Humphrey Bogart, who by now had this sort of role down pat, there is no doubt that few if any could do it as well as he. Even he though takes a backseat to the young Lauren Bacall here. It takes no imagination to see why she so captivated the older Bogart, and few actors have had such a memorable debut on screen. With that renowned chin down, eyes down sultry look (the story of how it came about is told in the extras), you just knew that first scene was just a mere hint of the presence that she was to exert on this film. Indeed, so much so that the script was re-written as the film was being made to boost her role and diminish that of Dolores Moran (at the time apparently the lover of Howard Hawks). Whilst Walter Brennan is also very noteworthy as the drunken mate, everybody just plays second fiddle to that relationship between Bogey and Bacall.

    It might bear little relationship to the novel that spawned it. Its very name might be very difficult to reconcile with the content. It might well be rarely talked about as a classic film in its own right. But To Have And Have Not will always be remembered because this is where one of the greatest - if not the greatest - screen couples was born. In some respects it is a shame that the film is probably more remembered for that rather than the fact that this is a very good film. It might bear too many similarities to a raft of films made by Bogey - not the least being Casablanca with which it does have some obvious superficial elements and similarities - but this one is better than most of them. The sheer chemical overload between the leads just adds that additional level of "stuff" that makes the film very memorable indeed. Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    With the first two of the new releases in The Bogart Collection One being better than expected as far as the video transfers go, it is a little disappointing that the third of the new releases is the poorest of the three. This is even more surprising since it is the youngest of the three (although youngest being a relative term when it is still sixty years old). It is still slightly better than the previously released The Maltese Falcon, but really it is very disappointing that care has not been lavished upon this film.

    The transfer is presented in a Full Frame format that accords with the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.37:1 pretty well. It is of course not 16x9 enhanced.

    The problems here revolve around the occasionally jumpy nature of the source material, the more obvious film-to-video artefacts and the somewhat grainier nature of the transfer. The transfer is not as sharp as expected, with a few obvious places where there is a noticeable softness to the image - and these are not related to the presence of the female stars. At times detail is not much better than average as the transfer has a slightly flat look to it. In general though, this is still quite a decently detailed transfer. Shadow detail rarely comes into play and in general is quite decent. Unfortunately, clarity is let down by the increased presence of grain throughout the transfer - mainly quite light but in some of the processed images it is fairly heavy. Contrast is quite good overall. Thankfully there is no low level noise to compound the grain.

    The black and white tones again are a little flat and at times were not as good as I would have hoped. There is a noticeable inconsistency in the tones at times, with little width to the grey tones and a noticeable dearth of solid blacks. At others, all is forgiven and everything is pretty fine. I certainly would have liked a better quality in the grey scales and a better depth to the black tones throughout.

    There were no obvious MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There were, however, significantly more problems with film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. Aside from aliasing, which is occasionally present but rarely of any significant nature, there is some obvious moiré artefacting in window shutters for instance (at 2:27 and 44:11) and some cross colouration that is very hard to ignore (between 39:50 and 41:40, mostly in the fine lined dressing gown being worn by Slim). Aside from the jumping around of the image (especially in the opening credits and around the 43 minute mark) there is also some rather obvious telecine wobble at 84:55. All in all, this was most disappointing in comparison to the first two DVDs out of the box set. There are of course film artefacts to be found, but these are mainly just of the speck variety with little in the way of obvious film damage to be found.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc, with the layer change occurring at 33:49. The layer change was not noted during playback and was only found during the checking and confirming of the DVD specifications on my computer.

    There are ten subtitle options on the DVD, the same as on the first two DVDs from the box set. The English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are good efforts, with only the odd lapse here and there in the dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are the same two soundtracks on the DVD as we have found on the previous three DVDs from the box set: an English Dolby Digital 1.0 soundtrack and an Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 soundtrack.

    There is a section of the film from about 67:00 on that runs for about two minutes or so where the dialogue is quite soft in volume and rather difficult to hear at normal listening levels. I was glad I have to check the subtitles too, otherwise I would have had little idea of what was being said at this point. Aside from that segment of the film, the dialogue comes up well in the transfer and is easy enough to understand. There were no problems with audio sync in the transfer.

    The original score is actually uncredited for the film. The songs came from Hoagy Carmichael, who also appeared in the film. The music was actually provided by William Lava and the renowned Franz Waxman. In truth the music is barely noticed in the film - but then again, what is when Bogey and Bacall are on screen? It does a fair job of supporting the film though.

    With this being a slightly younger soundtrack than those listened to earlier, we would expect the sound to be a little better - and it is. It seems to be free of even the background hiss at normal listening levels (at high levels you will still hear some), and there is little indication of any other sort of blemish. It is perhaps a little more strident than the earlier DVDs but that is not altogether disappointing as it seems to be overall a little fuller sound. The overall soundtrack is thus a very slightly better effort.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Whilst maintaining a consistency with the previous new releases from the box set, there is something somewhat different here - an animated short that is based upon the film.

Menu

    In a similar style as the first two DVDs, it is good looking with some decent audio enhancement.

Featurette - A Love Story: The Story Of To Have And Have Not (11:17)

    In a very similar vein to the first two DVDs in the set, this is a retrospective look at the film with contributions by Eric Lax (Bogey's biographer), Leonard Maltin and Robert Osbourne. Not entirely unexpectedly, the romance between the two leads dominates the rest of the material about the film, which mixes film footage and behind the scenes photos in amongst the interview material. Perhaps not quite as interesting as the earlier efforts, but still worthwhile checking out. From a technical point of view, it is quite decent although aliasing and moiré artefacting are still noted. The presentation is in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced, with the audio being Dolby Digital 2.0. The film excerpts are quite hissy, indicating how much work must have been done on the soundtrack as the feature is nowhere near this bad. There are selectable English, Italian, French and Dutch subtitles.

Short Film - Bacall To Arms (6:13)

    Dating from 1946, this is really a hoot. Not so much from a laugh out loud point of view but rather from the way they portrayed the scenes from To Have And Have Not in the animated film. The Bogey character is rather too banally done, lacking distinction, but they captured the essence of Bacall so well. The animated short starts with the arrival of an audience member who proceeds to make a pass at the usherette (looking a lot like Bacall) before settling down to watch the feature presentation. Much of the action thereafter is a switch between the screen and the viewer, as steamy scenes are followed by the progressively more hormonally charged responses of the viewer. All well done. Technically it leaves a bit to be desired - clearly not restored and indicating that such would have been very much appreciated by all - with inconsistency in the colour and film artefacts, including some film damage. The presentation is Full Frame of course, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. There are selectable English, Italian, French and Dutch subtitles.

Theatrical Trailer (2:42)

    Want to take a guess how they promoted this film? Well, that would be rather obvious! So yes, you are right - it heavily features Bogey and Bacall. And why not since they make the film and the audiences came to love them so much? Of the trailers seen thus far in the box set, this is perhaps the most interesting simply because of the way they promoted the film. There are plenty of film artefacts floating around but not enough to become annoying. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and features Dolby Digital 2.0 sound that is somewhat strident. There are no subtitles.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The DVD is available as a standalone release in Region 1 that seems to have the content on this disc, plus one other extra: the Lux Radio Theatre presentation of the production dating from 14th October, 1946. There are also the obligatory variations in soundtracks and subtitles. It does however come in a snapper case. By the reviews located, it would seem the overall quality is very much on a par with this Region 4 release, so that extra extra would certainly make the Region 1 version the version of choice. In Region 2, the DVD is only available as a part of their version of The Bogart Collection Volume 2 - partnered with They Drive By Night and Treasures Of The Sierra Madre (the latter to be reviewed shortly as part of our The Bogart Collection Two). The actual DVD itself is the same as the Region 4.

Summary

    To Have And Have Not is a generally underappreciated film from the Humphrey Bogart filmography, simply because everything was overshadowed by the start of the famed Bogey and Bacall partnership. That underappreciation seems to have extended to Warner Bros. itself since the video transfer is somewhat poorer than that given the first two films in the box set. Certainly the cross colouration indicates a distinct lack of care in the mastering process that is most disappointing indeed. The audio on the other hand is no worse than the earlier DVDs and is probably slightly better, complemented by an enjoyable extras package. Overall, this is a very good film that is well worthwhile checking out.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Friday, April 02, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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Comments (Add)
More "Missing in Action" Extras - Yartek
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