“What else do I know? What else am I good at? I’m a boat jockey.”
A charter boat skipper (John Garfield) struggling to support his wife (Phyllis Thaxter) and kids agrees to take a man (Ralph Dumke) and his mistress (Patricia Neal) to Mexico, but soon finds himself embroiled in increasingly dangerous dealings.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- At Sea
- John Garfield Films
- Juano Hernandez Films
- Michael Curtiz Films
- Patricia Neal Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that while this “excellent remake of To Have and Have Not… doesn’t resemble Hemingway’s novel any more than Faulkner’s script for Howard Hawks’s 1944 film did, at least it conveys more of its spirit”. He praises the film — directed by Michael Curtiz — for presenting “the WWII veteran as a disillusioned, financially troubled forgotten man” who may long “for some of the excitement of war rather than his life of bills to pay and familiar spats”, and he argues that “it makes sense that, having reached his breaking point, [Garfield] dares get involved with lawbreakers, risks his life to make a bundle of money in a hurry, [and] contemplates an affair with a loose woman”. He concludes his review by noting that the film is “well acted, nicely shot (partly on location)”, “smartly written” and “has an exciting climactic action sequence and classic final shot”. Peary’s review is spot-on, though he neglects to point out the excellent performances all around — not only by stars Garfield and Neal but by Phyllis Thaxter as Garfield’s loyal yet far-from-dull wife (“I can think about you anytime and get excited.”) and Juano Hernandez as Garfield’s doomed right-hand man (the scenes with his son [Juan Hernandez] are particularly poignant and heartbreaking). This one is well worth a look.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- John Garfield as Harry Morgan (nominated by Peary as one of the Best Actors of the Year in his Alternate Oscars)
- Patricia Neal as Leona Charles
- Phyllis Thaxter as Lucy Morgan
- Juano Hernandez as Wesley Park
- Atmospheric cinematography
Yes, as a finely acted and directed adaptation of Hemingway’s novel.