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2012 Laff: The Breaking Point (1950) | Review

Point of No Return: A Curtiz Classic Resurrected

While history prizes a 1944 adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s story To Have and Have Not, there does exist a little seen (and more faithful to its source text) 1950 film version of the same story, helmed by Michael Curtiz, titled The Breaking Point. In retrospect, the earlier Howard Hawks version is all glitz and glamor and no guts, its claim to everlasting fame the guttural growl from Lauren Bacall concerning how to put your lips together to do something. Due to the insistence of screenwriter Ranald MacDougall (who wrote the screenplay for Curtiz’s Mildred Pierce and would later direct Ms. Crawford himself for his own debut in Queen Bee), the studio agreed to go forward with another adaptation, though got cold feet upon release due to star John Garfield being named in McCarthy’s witch hunt, and the film, unmarketed and unappreciated,

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