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To Have (And Not Have?) Bacall’s Look

By , 19 November, 2008, No Comment
Lauren Bacall & Humphrey Bogart In To Have And Have Not

Lauren Bacall & Humphrey Bogart In To Have And Have Not

One of my favorite films is To Have And Have Not (1944), starring Bogie and Bacall. The film was (loosely) based on Ernest Hemingway’s 1937 novel of the same name, and William Faulkner himself helped write the screen play (with Jules Furthman) in order to keep Hemingway’s sharp dialog.

This was Lauren Bacall’s film debut, at the age of 19. She stunned everyone with her sizzling sexuality and her ability to deliver the stinging dialog. It’s also the film where she and a married Humphrey Bogart met & fell in love. After his divorce from wife number three, the two were married in 1945. She was his forth and last wife.

The film’s plot & construction are much like Casablanca. It’s set in an exotic locale during WWII, with Bogie as an unmarried ex-patriate American (named Captain Morgan — insert giggle over the booze here) who is politically apathetic amidst resistance fighters and the Vichy/Gestapo police captain — until his romantic love (Bacall, of course) interest walks into his regular cafe/bar — complete with resident a piano player (Hoagy Carmichael).

Some say To Have And Have Not is too much like Casablanca — but I adore it for the charming characters (watch it and you can’t forget the ‘being bit by dead bees’ running gag), the clever witty and biting dialog — and for the feisty, sexy Bacall.

This film is most known for two stand-out Bacall moments. The first being the scene where Bacall, with downcast face, using her eyes to sizzling look at him, lights Bogie’s cigarette — earning her the name The Look. The second is the famous, “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together – and blow.”

My favorite scene, however, takes place just before that scene. In it, Bogie as Captain Steve Morgan and Bacall as Marie, nicknamed Slim by Morgan, are in Morgan’s room. Slim puts herself in his lap and kisses him…

Steve: What’d you do that for?
Slim: Been wondering whether I’d like it.
Steve: What’s the decision?
Slim: I don’t know yet.
After a brief pause, she kisses him again. Then she stands & says, “It’s even better when you help.”

She proceeds to exit his room, delivering the classic whistle & blow line.


See for yourself!

No wonder she ends up with Bogie in this film (and real life!), while Ingrid Bergman, in Casablanca, does not.

I much prefer the biting, feisty, sizzling chemistry of this couple to the weepy ‘romantic’ couple in Casablanca. In fact, this is why I love To Have And Have Not; and don’t care much for Casablanca. (No, it’s not the ‘happy ending’; it’s the sizzle, I tell you!)

You might not be able to pull off all of Bacall’s moves, but you can emulate her look in fabulous checked suits from the 40s’.

A Scene From To Have And Have Not

A Scene From To Have And Have Not

While from the 1950’s, this black & white checked suit would be worthy of Bacall.

Vintage Black And White Checked Suit

Vintage Black And White Checked Suit

This vintage Jaeger worsted check suit is from the 50’s too, but it still has the look.

Vintage Jaeger Checked Suit

Vintage Jaeger Checked Suit

Finding a suit with a peplum, a collar and in checks won’t be easy… Maybe you can sew one, or hire a seamstress to make you one? If you love the silhouette, it’s worth buying a pattern.

Hollywood Pattern Number 172, Two Piece Suit

Hollywood Pattern Number 172, Two Piece Suit

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  • Phils57

    Found you via Gerard. I watched the movie (again, for umpteenth time) last night on TCM and agree the Bogey/Bacall chemistry exceeds that of Casablanca’s by severalfold. It’s hackneyed, but they don’t make ’em like that anymore!

  • Jaynie Van Roe

    Hi Phils57, thanks for seconding my “To Have & To Have Not” lust 😉

    May I ask who Gerard is?

  • Couture Allure

    Lauren Bacall was a hot fashion model when she was spotted for a screen test. You can see her on the cover of Bazaar March 1943. Love your blog!

  • warbaby

    Gerard Van der Leun, another mature gentleman like me. That scene had a profound effect on me around 12 years later, and I bet him too.

    Oh my my my


  • Reel Gazer » Blog Archive » Movie Monday Blog Carnival January 26, 2009 Edition

    […] Van Roe presents Here’s Looking Like You, Kid » Blog Archive » To Have (And Not Have?) Bacall’s Look posted at Here’s Looking Like You, […]

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