Film Noir 2024

The 1940s were Hawks’s oyster, and To Have and Have Not was the pearl at the center, a work undertaken in and executed with as much comfort and confidence as an industry director is ever likely to muster.”

Dan Sallitt, critic and filmmaker

You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve?” Howard Hawks’s films are so distinct they sometimes collapse genre definitions, but there’s no question that the adventurously existential tone and sexual parrying of his films became continuous with the very best of noir. To Have and Have Not, the first onscreen pairing of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, only adapts Ernest Hemingway’s title story for its first handful of scenes. Steve” Morgan (Bogart) manages a fishing boat in French-occupied Martinique; when Slim” Browning (Bacall) arrives in town, the lights go down, the repartee sharpens, and Morgan’s general contempt finds a specific outlet against the fascist authorities. William Faulkner helped rewrite the original, more faithful script adaptation after the censor’s office threw most of it out, while Hawks, Bacall, and Bogart, in daily rehearsals, found the specific recipe: part Casablanca, part Hawksian worldview, total hard-edged brilliance.

In its paranoid sense of diffused menace, its emphasis on shadows and surrounding darkness, its skepticism about ideals, the film relates to the film noir—a relationship confirmed by The Big Sleep a year later.”

Robin Wood, Film Comment

Howard Hawks’s 1944 answer to Casablanca is a far superior film and every bit as entertaining … In many ways the ultimate Hawks film.”

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Media

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