Humphrey Bogart as Harry Morgan, cynical fishing boat captain
Fort-de-France, Martinique, Summer 1940
Film: To Have and Have Not
Release Date: October 11, 1944
Director: Howard Hawks
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is the 75th anniversary of the release of To Have and Have Not, the romantic adventure directed by Howard Hawks and adapted from Ernest Hemingway’s novel that staged the first meeting of iconic classic Hollywood couple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
“Immeasurably assisted by the fact that Bogart and Bacall fell in love on the set, the film was above all else a love story,” wrote Ed Krzemienski in a 1999 essay for Bright Lights Film Journal.
Appropriately enough, To Have and Have Not traces its cinematic origins to a fishing trip where Hawks had assured his pal Hemingway that they could make a great movie from the author’s worst book. Evidently in agreement regarding the quality of its source material, the two collaborated to develop To Have and Have Not, the first of what would be three adaptations of the 1937 novel before The Breaking Point (1950) and The Gun Runners (1958). Jules Furthman’s original screenplay kept Papa’s intended setting of Cuba, but this eventually was changed to Martinique to avoid violating FDR’s “Good Neighbor policy” with Latin America. The setting was reportedly a suggestion by William Faulkner who was brought on to make significant changes to the script both for narrative and dramatic purposes and to keep the film intriguing and interesting while adhering to the strict Hays Code after the prickly censorship czar Joseph Breen tore the script apart for its unapologetic depictions of violence and sex.
Under Faulkner’s lead, the screenplay softened the lead characters of fishing boat captain Harry Morgan and the seductive drifter Marie Browning while also making the fortuitous choice of keeping Marie as Harry’s only romantic interest, eventually showcasing the undeniable on-screen chemistry between Bogie and Bacall.
“Howard was really happy with the film. And with the celluloid relationship between Bogie and me,” wrote Lauren Bacall in her memoir, By Myself, which I’ve been voraciously reading and enjoying after my girlfriend gifted me a copy for my birthday. “Originally the script had involved an attraction between Bogie and the character Dolores Moran played. But halfway into the film Howard ran some of our scenes cut, showed them to Bogie, and with Bogie’s help had come to the conclusion that no audience would believe anyone or anything could come between Slim and Steve. So scenes were adjusted accordingly and all of mine made stronger and better. You can’t beat chemistry.”
This chemistry reached a famously high water mark as Bogie and Bacall’s Harry and Marie—who have nicknamed each other “Steve” and “Slim”, respectively—are trading innuendo-laced barbs until Marie settles into Harry’s lap and treats him to a long kiss to satisfy her own curiosity before lingering in the doorway before she leaves the room with an assurance that their romance is only just beginning:
You don’t have to act with me, Steve. You don’t have to say anything and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle… you know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.
To Have and Have Not was released 75 years ago today on Wednesday, October 11, 1944, one day after director Hawks and his electric co-stars Bogie and Bacall began shooting the adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, which has since become a film noir standard. BAMF Style readers may recall that To Have and Have Not holds a significant place in my heart as the first movie that I watched with my girlfriend.
What’d He Wear?
When not at the helm of his fishing boat, the Queen Conch, Captain Harry Morgan spends his evenings in the taverns of Fort-de-France sporting his dressier of two on-screen outfits, a naval-inspired double-breasted blazer with nautical peaked cap, off-white gabardine slacks, and white bucks. I was particularly inspired to write about this after I heard how much it resonated with “Chromejob”, a BAMF Style reader who commented in July 2019 that “Ever since high school when I fell in love with this film, I’ve loved his evening wear. A four button two double-breasted blazer that goes with everything, I suspect a linen shirt, and cream pants. I finally found a similar blazer made by Burberry, but of course nothing comes close to the way Bogie wore it and pulled off his careless elegance.”
The one part of Harry’s wardrobe consistent with both his casual work shirt and jeans and the blazer and bucks is his headgear, a traditional peaked cap that signifies his position as captain. The hat has a dark navy canvas cover with a badge of two gold embroidered crossed anchors, a black leather band across the front, and a black leather visor.
Harry’s double-breasted blazer is almost certainly made from navy blue wool serge with four metal shank buttons with two to close, though Bogart only wears the lowest button fastened. The ventless blazer has peak lapels, in the double-breasted tradition, with a substantial breadth consistent with fashions of the 1940s.
The breast pocket is welted, though the hip pockets are more informal patch pockets, and there are two ornamental buttons on each cuff.
Harry’s shirt looks to be a shade away from white, perhaps cream or light blue, with a long point collar, front placket, breast pocket, and button cuffs. A comfortable, no-frills shirt for the kind of guy who would appreciate it.
Harry’s off-white gabardine trousers have a full fit, no doubt amplified by the presence of pleats which—while not seen on screen—were both fashionable at the time of the film’s production and an evident preferred style of Bogie’s. A glimpse at the waistband in behind-the-scenes shots with the blazer unbuttoned reveals a slim leather belt at the waist, likely brown to avoid visual disharmony with the softer tones of the slacks and shoes, with side pockets. The bottoms are finished with turn-ups (cuffs).
Harry completes his outfit with white bucks, at the time among the least formal shoes still acceptable for a gent to wear with a blazer and slacks.
Named for the napped nubuck leather used to construct the uppers, bucks grew in popularity throughout the early 20th century’s “golden age of menswear” as a natty but informal summer shoe. They had reportedly originated a half-century earlier, though the modern buck shoe emerged around the 1930s with the addition of the signature “red brick” rubber soles and enjoyed the height of their popularity during the ’50s thanks to Pat Boone and countless Ivy Leaguers and trad dressers. The Handbook of Style by Esquire still lists white bucks among the top five essential shoes a man should own, placing them in the more contemporary context as “a semi-dress-up alternative to sneakers” and as “ideal partners for dark jeans and khakis.”
True bucks should be purchased from a trusted shoemaker, made from genuine napped nubuck leather, sanded on the grain side for a napped finish as opposed to the softer suede underside. You can pick up white bucks from manufacturers like Allen Edmonds, Brooks Brothers, Florsheim, and Peter Huber.
Harry’s white bucks are cap-toe oxfords, worn with white ribbed socks. There are two schools of thought for maintaining white bucks, given how easily white suede can pick up and shoe dirt. Some buck wearers prefer to keep their shoes pristine with regular cleaning while other proudly wear their increasingly scuffed shoes with pride; Captain Morgan, characteristically enough, is among the more insouciant latter group.
Harry wears a simple tank watch on his left wrist with an elegant rectangular case, light-colored dial, and dark strap. Humphrey Bogart was known to own and wear a Longines Evidenza in real-life and several of his movies, but this watch does not appear to have the tonneau-shaped case of his Evidenza.
Interestingly, Bogart does not wear his trademark gold ring with its diamond-and-rubies setting that he wears in many of his other films, which he had inherited from his father a decade earlier.
Among his packs of Chesterfield cigarettes kept in the desk drawer of his hotel room, Harry Morgan stores a Colt Police Positive, distinguished by its exposed ejector rod and the hard rubber grips that were a hallmark of Colt’s revolvers from the early decades of the 20th century.
Though the revolver is identified on IMFDB as a Colt Official Police, the slightly larger and newer sibling of the Police Positive, the size of the revolver in Humphrey Bogart’s hand as well as the hard rubber grips—never a production offering on the Official Police—lead me to conclude that Captain Morgan is armed with a Police Positive.
Colt introduced the Police Positive in 1907 as an improvement to the earlier Colt New Police. As its name suggests, it was designed with law enforcement in mind, and the Police Positive helped Colt secure its foothold on the law enforcement market for the early half of the 20th century, also assisted with the introduction of the larger-framed Colt Official Police in 1927. Though a beefed-up .38 Special model of the Police Positive was offered, the model’s age, smaller frame, and compatibility with increasingly obsolete small calibers like .32 Long/Short Colt, .32 S&W Long, and .38 S&W shortened its market relevance, and production ceased in 1947.
The slightly smaller frame of the Police Positive was a wise choice for Bogie, who was often armed with smaller-framed handguns that were more compatible with his shorter, lean physique so that the actor would not appear to be dwarfed by his firearms. (For example, Bogart is depicted with a full-size M1911A1 service pistol on the promotional artwork for Casablanca while he had actually carried the more compact Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless pistol on screen.)
What to Listen to
Thanks to Hoagy Carmichael’s casting as cheeky lounge pianist “Cricket”, the soundtrack of To Have and Have Not is full of musical gems from across the early 20th century. Carmichael’s famous piano skills are accompanied by Lauren Bacall for “How Little We Know” and “Am I Blue?”, though Howard Hawks’ intended signature tune for the actress—”Baltimore Oriole”—remains strictly in Hoagy’s domain.
Another significant song that gets the Carmichael treatment in To Have and Have Not is “Limehouse Blues”, penned by Douglas Furber and Philip Braham. After its 1921 premiere in the West End revue A to Z, “Limehouse Blues” would become the signature tune for Gertrude Lawrence though she wouldn’t record the song until 1931. By then, “Limehouse Blues” had already been recorded by cornetist Red Nichols and it would soon be elevated to a jazz standard with Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Nancy Sinatra, and Kay Starr among the musical luminaries who included it in their repertoire.
Despite the many versions recorded with Furber’s vocals—albeit modified from the original ’20s lyrics for purposes of political correctness—”Limehouse Blues” has enjoyed its greatest longevity as an instrumental number that has transcended jazz to also become a standard in the bluegrass genre.
Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli, and the Quintette du Hot Club de France became significantly associated with “Limehouse Blues”, recording several versions in the years leading up to World War II.
As swing music became a symbol of resistance in war-torn France, Ian Brookes observed that Carmichael’s Reinhardt-influenced interpretation of “Limehouse Blues” in To Have and Have Not evokes the spirit of the French Resistance and recalls the film’s themes of anti-fascism.
How to Get the Look
The image of Bogie in his cap and double-breasted blazer evoke the image of a naval officer, uniformed in reefer jacket and peaked cap, giving Captain Morgan a commanding yet laidback presence even on land. (Appropriately enough, Humphrey Bogart himself had enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1918 and joined the Coast Guard Reserve after World War I ended.)
- Navy wool serge double-breasted blazer with wide peak lapels, 4×2-button front, welted breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Off-white cotton shirt with point collar, front placket, breast pocket, and button cuffs
- Cream gabardine pleated trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Brown leather belt
- White nubuck leather cap-toe oxford bucks
- White ribbed socks
- Navy canvas-cover peaked cap with gold embroidered crossed anchors, black leather band, and black leather visor
- Square-cased wristwatch on brown leather strap
Looking for your own double-breasted navy blazer? My friend at Iconic Alternatives has identified a few affordable modern blazers—both single- and double-breasted—in this comprehensive post using various James Bond actors’ blazers as a template.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie and Ernest Hemingway’s novel (though the source material is considerably different than the screen adaptation.)