Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Yesterday, Lauren Bacall, star of the silver screen, died. Bacall starred in a famous movie touching on the migration issues in Europe during WWII.
To Have and Have Not (1944) is a film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan, and Lauren Bacall in her very first film. The film is set in Fort-de-France, Martinique, under the Vichy regime in 1940, shortly after the fall of France. Fishing-boat captain Harry Morgan (Humphrey Bogart) is urged to help the French Resistance smuggle some people onto the island. He refuses, until the client, Johnson (Walter Sande), is shot before paying him. The French police take him and several others for questioning and they take his passport and money. A hotel owner known as Frenchy (Marcel Dalio), asks Harry to rent him his boat for one night to transport some members of the resistance. Broke, Harry ends up smuggling Helene (Dolores Moran) and Paul de Bursac (Walter Surovy). Meanwhile, a romance develops between Harry and Marie ("Slim") Browning (Lauren Bacall), an American wanderer who has come to the island. After picking up his passengers, Harry is spotted by a patrol boat, but escapes. Harry is surprised to find that Marie has remained in Martinique to be with him. The police recognized Harry's boat the previous night, and they reveal that they have Harry's drunk buddy, Eddie (Walter Brennan), in custody and will coerce him to tell the truth about the boat's cargo. With Slim's help, Harry turns the table on the police and at gunpoint, Harry forces Police Captain Renard (Dan Seymour) to arrange for Eddie's release and sign harbor passes, so that he can take the Bursacs away. Slim says goodbye to her piano-playing friend Cricket (Hoagy Carmichael). As soon as Eddie returns, he, Harry, and Marie leave Martinique.
Bacall later married Humphrey Bogart, who starred in in the classic refugee film Casablanca, released in 1942. It also Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid; and features Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson. Set during World War II, the film focuses on a man torn between, in the words of one character, "love and virtue." He must choose between his love for a woman and helping her Czech Resistance leader husband escape the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.
Dean of the University of Toledo College of Law (and immigration law professor) Daniel J. Steinbock wrote a wonderful article on Casablanca from a refugee perspective. See Refuge and Resistance: Casablanca's Lessons for Refugee Law, 7 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 649 (1993).