THE BREAKING POINT
1950, Warner Bros., 97 min, USA, Dir: Michael Curtiz

The finest film version of Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not (and yes, that includes the Bogart-Hawks classic) shifts the story from Cuba to Newport Beach, California, but retains the novel’s core of noir-stained tragedy. As Skipper Harry Morgan, John Garfield essays his finest screen portrayal of a man whose domestic travails and mid-life crisis results in crime, flight and death. Garfield’s turn is perfectly matched by Patricia Neal, as a predatory femme fatale, and Phyllis Thaxter as his beaten-down but unswervingly loyal spouse. With Wallace Ford as a bottom-feeding attorney and the great Afro-Cuban actor Juano Hernandez.


THE SEA WOLF
1941, Warner Bros.,, 100 min, USA, Dir: Michael Curtiz

The definitive cinematic version of Jack London’s famed novel returns to the big screen. Edward G. Robinson’s magnificent portrayal of Wolf Larsen is the centerpiece of a darkly fatalistic tale adapted by Robert Rossen (ALL THE KING’S MEN, THE HUSTLER) who blends a distinctive anti-Nazi sentiment (initiated into American movies by the brothers Warner) with an unforgettable saga of tyranny at sea. An all-star cast of John Garfield, Ida Lupino, Gene Lockhart and Barry Fitzgerald add dramatic heft to Curtiz’s brilliantly helmed epic.


YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN
1950, Warner Bros., 112 min, USA, Dir: Michael Curtiz

Dorothy Baker’s novel, inspired by the life of cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, gets the full-blown Hollywood treatment. Star-crossed jazzman Kirk Douglas (musically dubbed by Harry James) hits the high and low notes, with a formidable Lauren Bacall and empathetic Doris Day as the women in his orbit. A daring Carl Foreman script complements memorable supporting performances by Hoagy Carmichael and Juano Hernandez, with dazzling direction by Michael Curtiz.


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