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directed by Michael Curtiz
USA 1950

 

Broke and with a family to support, charter-boat skipper Harry Morgan (John Garfield) makes a desperate gamble. For cash that will save his boat from creditors, he ferries gangsters to safety after a racing-track heist. But when you gamble, sometimes you lose. Tense and sinewy, The Breaking Point is a more faithful adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not than the earlier Bogart-Bacall classic. Garfield, one of the screen’s great anti-heroes, makes Morgan his own in a rugged portrayal etched with anguish. Director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca), who guided Garfield to instant stardom in Four Daughters, turns the action scenes into movie dynamite, but the film’s quiet final image is the one that will haunt you.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 30 September 1950 (premiere)

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:37:12
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.64 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (2:13)

DVD Release Date: June 14, 2011
Keep Case

Chapters 27

 

Comments

It's unfortunate that the best film based on Ernst Hemingway's novel To Have and Have Not is overshadowed by Bogie and Bacall pairing in 1944 film of the same name (reviewed HERE). That honor goes to The Breaking Point with John Garfield and Patricia Neal, directed by Michael Curtiz in 1950. From 1937 novel, we get the same characters and motivations, only the location and the ending are changed, making this the most faithful adaption. Hollywood would make another stab at it in 1958 as The Gun Runners with Audie Murphy in Bogart/Garfield role of Harry Morgan and directed by Don Siegel. The Breaking Point is also the most noir of the three films, with overall air of despair and hopelessness hanging like a dark cloud over John Garfield's character, a former PT boat captain now trying to make a living off his fishing boat to feed his wife and two daughters. The supporting cast is just as excellent - Phyllis Thaxter as his suffering wife Lucy, Patricia Neal as potential love interest/femme fatale and Juano Hernandez in a thankless role of the shipmate and best friend. As correctly noted on the back cover, "the film’s quiet final image is the one that will haunt you."

The legal dispute kept the film out of circulation for a long time, with no recent TV airings or official home video release until 2011, when film debuted on TCM and a few months later got a DVD release as part of Warner Archive Collection on MOD disc. The disc is not labeled as remastered, but based on the quality of the print, this is definitely a new master. The single-layered disc features a very good progressive transfer, with very minimal damage and very good contrast. The mono audio is fine, but per usual standard for MOD discs, there is no subtitles or closed captioning. The disc features a 2-minute theatrical trailer and the film is divided onto 27 chapters. The film is clearly a winner and this is highly recommended release.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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