Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sex in Monochrome

To Have and To Have Not
1944. 100 minutes. USA. Directed by Howard Hawks. Watchdate: 3/6/2012.
At least at the level of political allegory, To Have and To Have Not almost plays like a straightforward reworking of Casablanca. I can imagine Hollywood wanting to reproduce the universal success of Casablanca and giving the assignment to the second most workmanlike director after Michael Curtiz. But To Have and To Have Not is the bad boy, the class clown or cut up to Casablanca's model student. Ingrid Bergman / Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman / other dude are two variations on an ideal relationship. By contrast, the Humphrey Bogart / Lauren Bacall relationship is far from ideal, it's characterized by a lurid dependency but it is also unrelentingly sexy. It crackles for me in a way that the Bogie / Bacall pairing never quite did in The Big Sleep or Key Largo. Bacall in particular does her fair share to carry the movie on charm alone.

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