To Have and Have Not

The sexual chemistry between Bogie and Bacall in this 1944 classic turns a movie that might have been merely amusing into a historic event. To Have and Have Not—about two streetwise drifters who fall in love on a Caribbean island at the outbreak of WWII—is indeed the real deal: straight-up movie magic, with all the right parts in all the right places. It has subtle direction from Howard Hawks, razzle-dazzle performances from the leads and the supporting cast (including Hoagy Carmichael and Walter Brennan), and a fine script by co-written by William Faulkner (and based on the Hemingway story). The dialogue is savvy, precise, and laden with innuendo. (This is the movie in which 19-year-old Lauren Bacall, with a face as strange and beautiful as they come, teaches Bogie how to whistle: "Just put your lips together and blow.") To top it all off, Carmichael creates a poignant mini-movie all his own, playing the lonely piano man at the hotel where all the action goes down. With tired, sad eyes and a voice so soft you'll sometimes strain to hear him, Carmichael creates a backdrop of lyrical wit and pathos, a perfect foil for the world-weary lovers on the brink of true love. And dig the shimmy that Bacall pulls off at the end as she bats her eyes at Bogie. There's a lifetime of sex, love, joy, and children ahead of these two. You just can't fake this shit.