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Which one do you like more?
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BearSkinBathRobe's Avatar
"That may be, but I've got the Falcon."

CASABLANCA (1942, Michael Curtiz)


TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1944, Howard Hawks)

Which one did you like more?

I ask because I've been gearing up to watch Casablanca for months, finally gave it a look, and ultimately didn't feel moved by it to the extent that it's a classic and beloved by countless moviegoers. It's average, dare I say, for the material it covers? Howard Hawks' To Have and Have Not, I wound up liking more, having watched it a couple of months ago. One is based on an unfinished stage play, the other on Ernest Hemingway's book, very similar stories.

Casablanca, to me, was very straightforward and borderline dull. Found a link that Hawks swapped the picture with his director buddy, after having trouble conceptualizing the picture he wanted to make, envisioning more of a musical. My friend said they also did not enjoy Casablanca and might have if it had more singing in it, which you'll see in To Have and Have Not with Lauren Bacall.

To Have and Have Not
was charming to me: the rummie, Bogie as a fisherman, Bacall as "Slim" and her quick chemistry with Bogie, the boat rides.

The stories are similar. Honestly, I think if you watch them with one eye closed, you might think they're the same movie. You could even argue that maybe combining the two films makes sense, with To Have and Have Not taking place before with Rick in Fort de France helping out or staying out of the cause. Both are anti-Nazi, but I dunno, Casablanca was a bit too heavy-handed for me whereas I found the other more fun.

I'm probably in the minority, as I know some folks say Hawks ripped off Casablanca two years after the fact. I liked Rick in Casablanca and it has some nice scenes and memorable lines, but it just didn't wow me or keep me interested to the same extent.

I would prefer to see more of Slim and Steve fighting the Nazi regime. You could argue that To Have and Have Not ends on a cliffhanger or aches for a part two, which could be a huge point for detraction, but for me it was the more exciting adventure whereas Casablanca is the simpler, romance-driven plot.

In one, you got Rick moping over his old flame and not caring about much else; in the other, you got him drooling over Slim but also still in love with his boat and showing compassion toward others when they're hurt or just hapless (the rummie). Of the characters, I think Steve is superior as he feels less superficial but both wind up doing the same course of action, so it's kind of a wash in that regard.

Clearly, the war was a big seller for movies back then and Bogie did a bunch of them, but if we're picking pillows, I'll go with To Have and Have Not to lay my head on.

tl;dr: I've added a poll, and welcome any insights on either film. I'm not saying Casablanca is a stinker, but I don't see why it is so popular.
"They knew and they let it happen! To kids!"-Spotlight

This is a very tough choice! To Have & To Have Not gets my vote, though. Casablanca will charm you out of your last buck, but its character treatment of Rick is pretty uneven. The flashback scenes with he and Ilsa are kind of sappy, I hate to say it. Yes, I know losing Ilsa embittered him, somewhat, but for most of the move, and especially the end, we never see the Flashback Rick. And even though To Have & To Have Not bears no resemblance to the book it's based on, the romance between "Slim & Steve" is surprisingly organic and the sexual tension between them is undeniable.

And when Harry ("Steve") does brave, or noble things, they aren't contrary to his character. It's very clear why he does them and where it's coming from. These aspects of his character make him complex without being contradictory and he's more interesting for it. Had Casablanca's "flashback" Rick not featured in the film, he would've come across as much more consistent and dynamic, at least to me. But both movies are notable, classic movies and I am extremely fond of them both. It makes me wish I could time travel back to that war-torn era and live those kinds of adventures in a world that was still large enough to hold a certain mystery & wonder that can't exist today.