(Review originally written at 21 February 2009)
This is obviously a well made movie, that features some great writing, directing and acting. It however also is a bit of a slow and dragging movie in parts, especially for todays standards of course. With a little bit more of tension, action and a tad bit of humor/entertainment this movie could had really been a "Casablanca 2".
A thing most '40's movies have in common is that they start of slow and quite uninteresting as well but after about the halve way point the movie becomes suddenly so much better and at its peak reaches the level of brilliance. "To Have and Have Not" might perhaps never truly reach the level of brilliance but it is a movie that has touches of greatness to it.
Of course this movie is often being compared to "Casablanca". Not only because the both have Humphrey Bogart in the main lead but also the story and settings most definitely show similarities.
It's not necessarily the story that makes this movie great but more its dialog and handling of it by the director and actors. No it really is not Howard Hawks' best movie but for movie lovers and the fans of the genre and '40's movie-era this movie simply still is a great watch.
The movie is being carried by its main lead Humphrey Bogart who was always perfect in a role such as this one. He also meets his match in Lauren Bacall this time, who perhaps is being even tougher than him in this movie this time. It was the first time the two actors teamed up and it actually was Bacall's movie debut. She and Bogart also married one year later, after meeting during the filming of this movie. They played together in several movies during their marriage, that lasted till Bogart's early death in 1957.
Not the best or most interesting genre movie around but it has more than enough ingredients to still make this a great watch.