To Have and Have Not

To Have and Have Not

Harry Morgan is the owner-operator of a charter boat in wartime Martinique. He falls in love with a pickpocket who wants to go to America and so to help her he does the impossible.


“The greatest of all American artists.”

Jean-Luc Godard1


“Hawks is wise to let these fine actors just do their thing, and he's also wise to keep the focus as far off the plot as possible — the action happens in fits and starts only, with long scenes of moody, atmospheric stasis in between. Especially characteristic of Hawks are the many scenes that take place clustered around the piano in the local hotel. It‘s here that Bacall delivers a trio of sultry, low-voiced torch numbers, and where the local pianist (Hoagy Carmichael) croons out a handful of smarmy ballads. Hawks loves this kind of scene, with musicians and audience alike gathered around the piano, as many people crammed into the frame as possible, fostering a sense of warmth and camaraderie that is very dear to Hawks’ heart.”

Richard Brody2

  • 1Jean-Luc Godard on Howard Hawks in Cahiers du cinéma
  • 2Richard Brody, “To Have and Have Not”, Only the Cinema, 3 June 2008. [Also read Brody’s “Hawks and Godard and Contempt”, The New Yorker, 6 September 2013.]
UPDATED ON 02.02.2020