To Have and Have Not, beginning its run on Wednesday, is the first blast in the Brattle's famed month-long festival of Bogart's best. Howard Hawks made this with Bogie and Becall in 1944, using William Faulkner's screenplay of a Hemingway novel. If that line-up isn't strong enough for you, you must be a mouse with a glandular condition. The film's plot--a vaguely confusing story about gun-running--is mildly compelling and tangentially political. This is the confrontation between the matured Bogie and the teen-aged Lauren Bacall. She's just as tough-assed as he is, and the combination is pure magic.
Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks's latest film comedy, is the feature at Harvard Sq. this week. There's no denying this movie has its hysterically funny moments, like when Alex Karras gets in a belligerent mood and punches a horse in the mouth, but the film is oftentimes uneven and bordering on tasteless.
The African Queen, playing for a week at the Orson Welles starting tomorrow, is the most complete movie Bogart ever made, and the movie in which his talents as an actor are most evident. He won his only academy award for this, and he deserved it. But if Bogart is good in African Queen, Katherine Hepburn is great; together they are dynamite.
The Wild One, Brando's archetypal motorcycle movie about alienation on two wheels, is playing at the Welles this week with Jimmy Cagney's Yankee Doodle Dandy. The Brando is pretty much of a period piece that's only any good because of its star and because of what it says in retrospect about the 50s. The Cagney film, on the other hand, is the greatest musical biography ever made. Cagney can't sing to save his life, but he sure can boogie. The patriotic clap-trap that fills the footage can go, but the George M. Cohan songs should stick around forever.