To Have and Have Not: Hers & His Perspectives

For the fourth installment in our 2023 Classic Couple Movie Challenge, we offer our take on To Have and Have Not (1944).


Sexy. That’s what To Have and Have Not is. Sexy.

This is the movie where 44-year-old Humphrey Bogart and 19-year-old Lauren Bacall fell in love. And it’s all there on screen. Bacall is beguiling, seductive and stunningly beautiful. Bogart is clearly gob smacked by her and it shows. He’s smitten with a gleam in his eye, and it’s clear this is no performance as his Steve falls in love with her Slim. She’s taken with him; it’s evident he’s won her heart. To watch the film is to watch their love story in its earliest days.

The story is startlingly reminiscent of Casablanca (1942), filmed just two years prior. Similarly, To Have and Have Not is a WWII story set in a French territory with the plight of resistance fighters at its center. There’s a piano singer, a bar and a police detective. There’s colorful characters and a husband and wife with whom Bogart’s character is put to the test. Yet, unlike Casablanca, this is a love story with a happy ending. And it’s happy ending sets it apart as a love story that transcended art into life.


The scene where Bacall as Slim tells Bogart as Steve, “You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together and blow,” makes the movie. For me, it’s when you know for sure that these two are in love. The chemistry is palpable. Bogart is done for. Bacall’s got him wrapped around her finger. There’s a spark you can feel coming off the screen. It’s hot. And it’s iconic. If that’s all you watch To Have and Have Not for, it’s worth it.

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