TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT
1944, Warner Bros., 100 min, USA, Dir: Howard Hawks

Lauren Bacall’s screen debut opposite Humphrey Bogart is one of the wittiest romances ever made, as well as a rousing Hawks adventure film. Bogie is a cynical fisherman in a French colonial port who tries to keep his nose out of WWII until Bacall wins his heart and awakens his idealism. Co-starring Walter Brennan as Bogie’s rum-soaked sidekick.


BALL OF FIRE
1941, 111 min, USA, Dir: Howard Hawks

Barbara Stanwyck is sassy, saucy Sugarpuss O’Shea, a wisecracking nightclub singer on the run from mob kingpins. Gary Cooper is good egg Professor Bertram Potts, a naive scholar who meets the crooner while researching slang. Two worlds collide as Sugarpuss hides out with Potts and his nerdy crew of lexicographers in Howard Hawks’ wonderfully hilarious romantic comedy, which garnered four Oscar nominations, including Stanwyck for Best Actress and Billy Wilder and Thomas Monroe for Best Original Screenplay.


TWENTIETH CENTURY
1934, Sony Repertory, 91 min, USA, Dir: Howard Hawks

The granddaddy of all screwballs, as egomaniacal Broadway producer John Barrymore makes a star of shopgirl Carole Lombard (as this picture did in real life), then goes berserk trying to win her back after she leaves him. Totally uncompromising in every respect, this is a flat-out masterpiece. Hecht and MacArthur’s blistering script is marvelously made flesh by the two stars, as well as Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Charles Lane, Edgar Kennedy and Etienne Girardot.


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