31 December 2004 | jotix100
When Harry met Slim
This film has nothing to do with the Ernest Hemingway's book, which is not one of his best novels. Howard Hawks took a big gamble in trying to have the great Hemingway write the screen treatment, but Papa didn't comply with the request. Instead, Mr. Hawks hired two other writers to work on the scenario for this movie, William Faulkner and Jules Furthman, not too shabby a combination! Mr. Hawks had an enormous talent for giving the American public films that were entertaining, as well as well crafted. Mr. Hawks is responsible for discovering Lauren Bacall, a young model from New York with no experience in the cinema. Well, Mr. Hawk's instinct paid handsomely as Lauren Bacall went to have a fabulous career of her own.
This film is interesting as well, for it marked the beginning of the romance between Mr. Bogart and Ms. Bacall. Their love is there in front of the viewers to see. This movie shows us a Bogey with a heart. He was an actor that excelled in this type of picture and under Mr. Hawks's direction, his Capt. Morgan makes a remarkable impression.
The story has all the right ingredients to keep us interested in what is going on with all these characters in Martinique. World War II makes a detour and comes to the island.
The cast for this movie is first rate. Humphrey Bogart is a tough Capt. Morgan who falls head over heels for young and lovely "Slim" Browning, a mysterious young woman who loves adventure. Ms. Bacall has a way to sing a song that makes it unique because of her sense of style. Both these stars smolder the screen in their love scenes.
Walter Brennan plays Eddie, the drunken sailor that helps Morgan take tourists on fishing junkets. Marcel Dalio, is Frenchy, the owner of the local hotel; he is the one responsible for putting Morgan in touch with the partisans operating in the island. Dolores Moran and Walter Szurovy are the De Bursac, who are smuggled into the island by Morgan, at his own risk; they are sought by the local branch of the Gestapo.
Hoagy Carmichael, the great musician puts an appearance as Cricket, a pianist that entertains at the hotel lounge. The three musical numbers are done flawlessly. Mr. Carmichael's rendition of "Hong Kong blues" stays in one's mind forever. Also we hear two other of his songs, "Am I blue?", and a sultry rendition by Lauren Bacall of his hit, "How little we know". Hearing sung by Bacall makes any other interpretation superfluous.
This is a film to see to enjoy great acting under the magnificent direction of Howard Hawks.