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.


A STAR IS BORN (1937)
1937, Warner Bros., 111 min, USA, Dir: William A. Wellman

The first version of this twice-remade drama about the price of fame features Janet Gaynor as a Hollywood hopeful whose star rises while that of the alcoholic actor she loves (Fredric March) falls. An Oscar winner for best original story and an honorary Oscar winner for its beautiful Technicolor cinematography.


ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
1944, Warner Bros., 118 min, USA, Dir: Frank Capra

Theatre critic Mortimer (Cary Grant) discovers on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are serial killers of lonely old bachelors, and that insanity runs in his family. Just when he believes things can’t get any worse, his psychotic criminal brother (Raymond Massey) returns in the dead of night with his alcoholic plastic surgeon sidekick (Peter Lorre). A classic Capra black comedy!


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