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JOHN GARFIELD FANS ALERT - THE BREAKING POINT


TomJH
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This *Saturday, March 10 at 7:30am EST* TCM will be broadcasting a rare John Garfield film that, until recently, has been largely inaccesible, *THE BREAKING POINT*. It is noteworthy because it is also, I feel, one of his best films with one of his most impressive performances.

 

This was Warner Brothers' second attempt at filming Hemingway's novella, To Have and Have Not, done six years after the Bogart version. This second version, directed by Michael Curtiz, is far more faithful to the author's work than was the Howard Hawks version.

 

 

It's interesting to compare the two versions. Bogart reacts to the situations of conflict in the iconic super cool fashion that we expect of our film heroes. He responds in the manner that we all like to think we would under similar circumstances.

 

 

In contrast, Garfield infuses his character with doubts and insecurities. There is at least one telling closeup of him depicting fear, something you would never see in the Bogart version. It makes Garfield's character, in my opinion, far more vulnerable and human, adding immeasurably to the tension of the narrative.

 

 

Directed by Curtiz with his usual finesse, this is a terrific little drama with which few Garfield fans seem to be familiar. And it's a real treat to see what the actor could do with good material, especially at Warners, a studio which often gave him second rate or tired scripts in the past.

 

 

Sadly, The Breaking Point died at the 1950 box office. By the time of the film's September release that year, the political heat placed on Garfield by HUAC was so great that Warners gave the film a quiet release.

 

 

And that's a shame. Garfield was pleased with the film, calling it his best since Body and Soul, made three years before. Hemingway himself, who hated almost everything Hollywood did to his work, ranked this adaption as his favourite, according to co-star Patricia Neal.

 

 

One last comment. The final shot in this film is quite heart breaking, an image that stayed with me for years after first seeing the movie. Now, thanks to TCM, its viewers will have the opportunity to make their own assessment of this largely uncelebrated little gem. In a way, this film, so rarely seen, almost symbolizes the largely forgotten film career of John Garfield.

 

Edited by: TomJH on Mar 7, 2012 6:56 PM

 

Edited by: TomJH on Mar 8, 2012 5:07 PM

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And that's a shame. Garfield was pleased with the film, calling it his best since Body and Soul, made three years before. Hemingway himself, who hated almost everything Hollywood did to his work, ranked this adaption as his favourite, according to co-star Patricia Neal.

 

I've had this on my must-watch list ever since it was first announced. Can't wait.

 

But when, oh when, are we going to get Body and Soul ?

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Actually, Fred, I don't agree. Garfield is a hero but he's a flawed one, which makes him more human. That, to me, makes his version more emotionally involving than the Bogart.

 

Fred, do you have a thing about perceptions of chubbiness in actors that look better than 95% of us? Seems to me that you also passed a comment a few months ago about Johnny Sheffield being "chubby" as Bomba the Jungle Boy.

 

 

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Bomba did get chubby. If he was in such good physical shape, swinging on the vines and fighting alligators and lions, why was he so chubby?

 

Orson Wells was too chubby as the hero in Lady From Shanghai. A dame like Hayworth played in that film wouldn't go for a chubby guy. Welles was appropriately overly-chubby as the villain in Touch of Evil.

 

Perhaps I'm a victim of Hollywood propaganda that makes me think that physical heroes should NOT be chubby. Bogart, for example, never got chubby.

 

I'm chubby, but I'm not a physical hero, and if I tried to swing on a vine, I'd break my neck. :)

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Oh TomJH I love you for putting up this post on The Breaking Point & John Garfield’s performance. Yes you are right that the film had a limited release due the HUAC monsters and Warner Bros afraid of being associated with Garfield. In fact, it was suppose to be a two picture deal that Warner Bros made with Garfield, but after the HUAC started their B.S. Warner Bros canceled out of the second picture.

 

Oh and FredCDobbs, I haven’t seen The Breaking Point yet, but I have seen clips of the film on YouTube and Garfield doesn't’t look chubby at all, he looks handsome as always. Also, as Tom noted Garfield character is a flawed hero or antihero. Most of Hemingway’s heroes were flawed men. Men who no matter what decision they made they would lose. For Hemingway to say that “The Breaking Point” was his favorite film out of all the films that were made from his books is really saying something.

 

 

Tom you really touched my heart with your last sentence, “In a way, this film, so rarely seen, almost symbolizes the largely forgotten film career of John Garfield” So true,so sad and so unfortunate. The forgotten stage career of John Garfield can be seen in a recent article in the NY Times. The author of this piece wrote about a revival of the show Golden Boy, and the author didn't’t mention John Garfield’s name once. What? John Garfield’s daughter Julie wrote about this article on the John Garfield facebook page. Ms. Garfield wrote; “My father produced and acted in GOLDEN BOY ON BROADWAY in 1952 to rave reviews. It was the last thing he did before he died of a massive coronary heart attack, after being hounded to death by HUAC for 3 years. It would've been nice to mention him. In remembrance of my father I write this. ( I find this sad coming from his daughter).

 

 

 

The author also didn't’t mention that Clifford Odets wrote the principle role for Garfield. This person at the NY Times obviously didn't’t do his homework. Again, John Garfield is forgotten and not given the credit he deserves. Ms. Garfield did copy the letter she wrote to NY Times and it is a great letter. She also notes that this is the second time the Times to failed to acknowledge her father’s impact when some idiot wrote that Brando was the father of Method acting! She notes that Film Scholars confirm that Garfield was the FIRST Method Actor. She seems like a tough and strong woman when pushed, kind of like her father, and I think this lack of acknowledgement of father was it. She did comment to me that she really was ‘enraged" that her father was not mentioned in this article.

 

 

 

It is a shame that John Garfield is so forgotten as an actor, but hopefully one day this fact will change. But to me at least it is a crime when he is not given the credit he deserves. From his first screen appearance in Four Daughters in 1938, he changed the very “soul” of acting in a profound way. So if I see or hear one more actor or director say, “Brando” is the father of Method acting I think I will go crazy! Don’t get me wrong, Brando of course was a great actor, but please remember before Brando, Cliff, and DeNiro there was Garfield.

 

 

 

Sorry, I think I got off track a little. Again, thank you TomJH for posting this. I will be watching at 4:30 am for me, but I will be up with a pot of coffee. I am really looking forward to seeing the film.

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Lori3, I love the passion that you feel over John Garfield. I also see, however, your anguish over the terrible turn of events that ruined his life, resulting in such a tragic early death, as well as the continued injustice heaped upon him by his career being largely forgotten. I'm afraid that that NY Times author to whom you referred, omitting Garfield's name in an article about Golden Boy, is typical of a younger generation of "experts," perpetuating that injustice.

 

The first time I can ever remember seeing Garfield in a movie, as a kid, was in, ironically, a rare television broadcast of - The Breaking Point! And I loved the guy for the directness and honesty of his performance. There's always a conflict of emotions, including character weaknesses, that mark his screen anti-heroes making them so real and vivid. Clearly, they are a reflection of the man playing them.

 

Robert Nott's Garfield biography, He Ran All the Way, is a great portrait of the man's life. He had his share of character flaws, like all of us, but when I finished the book, aside from the sense of sadness I felt, I also wished that I could have known John Garfield. He comes across as a good guy, naive, sincere, enjoying the perks of being a big movie star and a guy who would stick by his old friends. That street boy loyalty, and code of honour, never left him.

 

One telling insight into his character was by the fact that after becoming a big star Garfield was always a soft touch. Even when people asked him for a handout, claiming they were friends from the old New York neighbourhood, and Garfield fully well knew they weren't, he still reached into his pocket, often very generously. When asked why he would help out someone who lied to him by claiming to be a friend from boyhood days, Garfield merely replied, words to the effect, ahh, he needs the money. What a sweet guy!

 

Julie Garfield's candid forward to the book beautifully conveys the mixed emotions that she feels about her father, the sadness over so many aspects of his life, plus a desire, for years, to run away from hard facts, not wanting to hear about character weaknesses in a man she regarded as a kind of God. I suspect, after reading Nott's book, which had to be a painful experience in some respects, she must have also felt great pride, as well as a desire to have known her father more than ever.

 

Garfield loved to talk about acting. What a shame that his daughter, a stage actress, never had the chance to discuss acting techniques and the acting business with her father. What glorious conversations they would have had.

 

I also found it interesting that when Julie listed her favourite films of her father, she happened to list the same four films that are my favourites, as well, including The Breaking Point.

 

You have to wonder if TCM is the last bastion to try to keep Garfield's memory alive since, I believe, they have now shown virtually all of his films, with the possible exception of Under My Skin and, maybe, Gentleman's Agreement.

 

I hope you're able to see The Breaking Point, Lori3, and, if you do, it would be great to hear what you feel about the film. For a Garfield admirer, this film is a must. By the way, I think Garfield looks great in this film, his second last. It was only in his final film, He Ran All the Way, that I think the stress of his life was starting to catch up with his appearance.

 

 

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Thanks for some very interesting info. I look forward to seeing The Breaking Point again. I saw it the last time it was on TCM. Of course I have seen Bogie's To Have and Have Not at least 15 times. That movie and The Big Sleep was what got me into classic movies many years ago.

 

As much as I love the Bogie version I really like the Garfield one. They are so different in so many ways that I can't really say which one I like more. Each movie has a very unique and different appeal. Yes, Lori3 will not be disappointed.

 

 

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Thank-you for updating and informing me on some information on one of my favorite actors! I always liked him, but strangely my grandma doesn't. I said to her, "One thing I will never understand about you is how you don't like John Garfield." In my eyes he deserves all the praise Brando gets since I think John invented the kind of acting Brando does. He's good in everything I see him in and he has never disappointed me. Also off the screen he seems like quite the stand-up guy who was open-minded and spoke for what he believed in. ;)

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*As much as I love the Bogie version I really like the Garfield one. They are so different in so many ways that I can't really say which one I like more. Each movie has a very unique and different appeal.*

 

James, I like the Bogart version too and it's kind of fascinating to compare the two films which have the obvious similarities in story lines and yet, as you say, are so different in many ways.

 

 

The main interest in the Bogart version is really all about the sexual chemistry and banter between Bogie and Baby. And they're great fun to watch, but the story takes a back seat to the film's two stars and there isn't much doubt that Bogart's character will come out ahead to anyone watching the film for the first time, I suspect.

 

 

Many people watching these films today will probably want to be like super cool Bogart but, I suspect, identify more with Garfield. He plays a man who gets himself mixed up with criminals because his fishing boat rental business is down, and he's scared, scared to death, that he can't put food on the table for his family. Maybe one of the problems that we have in 2012 is that too many people can identify with that fear.

 

 

And Garfield is wonderful in the role, without question one of the best of his career. Garfield's character has a line in this film which he repeats, "A man alone ain't got a chance." Difficult to watch that scene and not think of how it would relate to the actor's own career downfall as Hollywood studios would soon turn their collective backs on him because of the political climate of the time.

 

 

I've always thought that Garfield started to show a new maturity in his acting, starting with the seemingly improbable casting of him as a corporate lawyer for the underworld in Force of Evil. He is a revelation in that film, with that Abraham Polonsky script and its strange, almost poetic stream-of-consciousness dialogue, at which Garfield turned out to be a master.

 

 

Well, watching him perform in The Breaking Point, I see a continuation of a more mature actor at work. That chip-on-the-shoulder anger from his earlier work is just a memory now, this is a seasoned, experienced actor bringing subtle nuances to his scenes (just like the great Jimmy Cagney had done for years) bringing an even greater depth to the characterization than before, I feel.

 

 

Watching him in The Breaking Point and Force of Evil shows me that Garfield, when he had the right material, was only getting better as an actor. The tragedy, both for him and we, as viewers, is that, when this film ended, he had only one more to go.

 

A final comment, and that is in regard to watching the wonderful on screen relationship between Garfield and shipmate Juano Hernandez in The Breaking Point. Not a word in this film is ever said about race, and yet, watching the chemistry that exists between these two actors, and their unspoken affection for one another, speaks more eloquently, in its own modest way, about racial harmony than any dialogue ever could.

 

Edited by: TomJH on Mar 8, 2012 9:01 PM

 

Edited by: TomJH on Mar 9, 2012 6:14 PM

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Oh no, I'm not able to see this....would anybody here mind recording this for me?

I'll reciprocate with a copy of anything out of my library (got some film rarities & complete MST3K)

 

I'd really like to see Garfield at his best.

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Yea, Hawks could see he had something special with Bogie and Bacall falling in love and he made changes to the story so there would be more scenes with them. In some ways this hurt the movie and the flow of the story but, then, there was such fire between these two, that in other ways, it makes the movie the classic it is.

 

While I'm a romantic sap, the interactions between men and women in the Garfield version is a lot more interesting. Every time Garfield is with Neal one is waiting for him to either kiss her or smack her. His wife is understanding, to a point. One can see she wants to stand by her man, but Garfield doesn't make this easy on her.

 

Garfield did indeed grow as an actor and that is what is so sad about losing him early. Note that Bogie did most of his best work at an age (late 40s) that Garfield didn't even get to. What a loss for classic movie fans.

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*While I'm a romantic sap, the interactions between men and women in the Garfield version is a lot more interesting.*

 

We're really in agreement on this one, James. To Have and Have Not is considered to be one of the classic titles in the career of a film legend, while most people have never heard of The Breaking Point. Yet, I think that the interactions between the characters in the Garfield version is a lot more emotionally involving, definitely making it, for me, the stronger film of the two.

 

Bogart was at the peak of his film career when he played Harry Morgan while Garfield's film career, though he didn't know it at the time, was about to become extinguished. Bogart is fun to watch but the role is no more of a stretch for him than Rick in Casablanca. It's great watching Bogie seeming to fall in love before the viewer's eyes with the sensual Betty Bacall but that, to me, is the principal interest of his performance.

 

 

Garfield's Harry Morgan is a man afraid that he's failing his family, and therefore resorting to desperate measures. The actor brings an emotional depth to his role lacking with Bogie, and his touching display of a tough guy starting to question just how tough he really is makes it, for me, far more human, far more vulnerable and far more memerable than Bogart in super cool form.

 

 

This is not a knock on Bogart so much as it is an appreciation of the fact that in The Breaking Point John Garfield showed signs that, with the right script and director, he was gradually evolving into an even greater actor.

 

 

Edited by: TomJH on Mar 9, 2012 1:10 PM

 

Edited by: TomJH on Mar 9, 2012 3:03 PM

 

Edited by: TomJH on Mar 10, 2012 10:47 AM

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He was a great actor in all his films. That's why he was a star.

 

This film is just too depressing. The script is depressing. Patricia Neal's character is nothing more than irritating in this film, because the audience compares her to Garfield's homely wife and both the wife and Neal become an irritant to him. What happens to the Chinese people is depressing. What happens to his partner is depressing. The wife and family stuff is depressing.

 

And blaming the House Committee is not going to make this film any better.

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Hey FredCDobbs I think your opinion that The Breaking Point is depressing is just that it is your opinion, and you are of course entitled to your opinion. However, the way TomJH so beautifully describes the film and Garfield's performance it does not sound depressing to me at all. I have also spoke with other Garfield fans and none of them have described the film as depressing. I think you better do a little more research regarding the release of the film and the political scrutiny Garfield was under thanks to the wonderful men of HUAC. The Warner Bros studio were afraid to be associated with Garfield at that time, and that is probably why it never found it's audience in the 1950's. As I mentioned in a earlier post, Warner Bros originally had made a two picture deal with Garfield, but once the HUAC monsters started their lies, Warner Bros quickly got out of the second picture. I think it just might be true as TomJH has noted, The Breaking Point is a forgotten gem, much like the career of John Garfield. I will write my opinion after I see it tomorrow morning, and I can be very honest when it comes to John Garfield films. I know he made some real "B" or even B- pictures. East of the River is one such film that comes to mind. It's a real loser, but in Garfield's defense he was placed on suspicion many times for refusing make such trash. Warner Bros just didn't know what kind of talent they had in John Garfield.

One more thing, from your name FredCDobbs I assume you are a fan of the film Treasure of the Sierra Madre? I love that film as well, one of Bogart's best. But guess who John Houston wanted originally for the role of Curtis? That's right, John Garfield. Now, Tim Holt was great in the film, but it is fun to think what Garfield would have done with that role. I think he would have be great, as usual. Well of course he would have been great after all he was John Garfield. This of course is my opinion.

Still message board friends I hope.

Thanks

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This film is just too depressing.

 

It may be depressing, but hey, THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE isn't exactly an Andy Hardy movie. Sure, they have a good laugh at the end, but I doubt that there are too many who in such a situation would react in such a manner.

 

What I do find interesting is that TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT is Hemingway as told by Hawks with a lot of influence by way of the Curtiz film CASABLANCA. Bogie doesn't want to get involved with the plight of a bunch of refugees or the Resistance movement - where did we see that before? We have a piano player too and much of the pic is set in a bar.

 

 

I love the Curtiz take on Hemingway in THE BREAKING POINT. I've been raving about this film since I first saw it 40 years ago and I'm glad that it has come out of hiding for it to be appreciated.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote}{quote} This film is just too depressing. The script is depressing. Patricia Neal's character is nothing more than irritating...What happens to the Chinese people is depressing. What happens to his partner is depressing. The wife and family stuff is depressing.

Just caught this for the first time this morning. I have to say that I did not find it in the least depressing: I found it to be *real* in the way that a lot of movies (then and now) aim for, but miss by a mile-and-a-half. I bought every second of it- from the family stuff, to his wife (who annoyed me at first but who won me over in her final scenes) to the partner (that last shot of his kid wandering the docks alone was the lynchpin of the film) to Patricia Neal acing her throwaway role as only Patricia Neal could ace a throwaway role.

 

Why is this film not more revered/discussed/ appreciated? It's not even mentioned in the discussions of great Curtiz films, great film noirs (which it most certainly is) to great Garfield performances to great Warner Brothers films. God, I love the way Curtiz (and that studio) put films together: move, move, move, waste no time- there is not a superfluous second in a Warner Brothers film of this period. I didn't have the time to be depressed.

 

That holdup-at-the-racetrack scene; the shoot-out on the boat with the swivel-chairs spinning out of control: this thing was art! I've always thought Curtiz never made another great film after Mildred Pierce (although I love Flamingo Road ) I can see I was wrong. He also gets a bum rap for being a craftsman and not an artist, anyone who thinks that should check out this little gem.

 

 

What so easily could have been an overwrought retread of elements from Key Largo, To Have and Have Not, and any of the other Garfield-against-the-world features becomes something wonderfully all its own.

 

 

*Four stars (out of four.)*

 

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Mar 10, 2012 9:25 AM

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Why is this film not more revered/discussed/ appreciated? It's not even mentioned in the discussions of great Curtiz films, great film noirs (which it most certainly is) to great Garfield performances to great Warner Brothers films.

 

I've lived in NYC for all of my sixty years and until TCM started airing this, I haven't seen the film since 1971. We had plenty of revival houses prior to the era of home video, but for some reason this film rarely saw a projector.

 

For decades I would mention my preference for this over the Hawks version. Of course I had to hear from most that not only hadn't they seen it, but that since Hawks was an auteur and Curtiz was considered a studio hack, that the Hawks film is automatically superior.

 

Not that I knock the Bogart film, but it's really a cross-pollination of elements from ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS and CASABLANCA.

 

PS - The Don Siegel version titled THE GUN RUNNERS isn't too bad either.

 

The Warner Archive has a 5/50 sale going on until Sunday at midnight. I'm finally going to break down and buy a copy.

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{font:Arial}{color:black}This movie has an interesting history, in that it was one of the few films Ernest Hemingway sort of admired, even though it was a total reversal on his original story. The new idea of changing the settling to {font}{font:Arial}{color:black}California{font}{font:Arial}{color:black} from the {font}{font:Arial}{color:black}Caribbean{font}{font:Arial}{color:black} didn’t violate the purpose of the story. Some fans even think “The Breaking Point” to be a far superior production then the first version of “To Have and Have Not.” I’ve always believed the two films can’t be so easily compared, due to a difference in style and an atmosphere that has a different direction. Also, the lead roles are in some technicalities very different, especially the edition of Patricia Neal and Phyllis Thaxter, who are close to what Hemingway inserted into his original novel. Of course, {font}{font:Arial}{color:black}Garfield{font}{font:Arial}{color:black} gave his usual terrific performance as an outcast or a rebellious man coping with society, trying to fit into the scheme of things. For all its intended purposes, “The Breaking Point” marked {font}{font:Arial}{color:black}Garfield{font}{font:Arial}{color:black}’s break with his Warner Brothers contract. He was undergoing some bad publicity that resulted from his legal problems with the government and investigations to subversive activities, forcing {font}{font:Arial}{color:black}Garfield{font}{font:Arial}{color:black} to branch out on his own, away from the support of the studio system. The next two years would be rough for {font}{font:Arial}{color:black}Garfield{font}{font:Arial}{color:black}, as he became something of an outcast in his private and public life, leading right up to the time of his tragic death.{font}

 

 

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I should've probably said I love the way most Warner Bros. movies of the period move because To Have and Have Not, while an undeniable classic due the choice bits of dialogue and the legendary performances of Bogie and Betty is kind of an unfocused, meandering mess.

 

Seriously, it took me like five attempts to finally make it all the way through THAHN, while I couldn't walk away from The Breaking Point. In fact, by the last ten minutes of the latter- my coffee had kicked in and I really needed to make a trip to the loo, but I couldn't bear to miss a second of it.

 

And, really, what higher compliment can you pay a film than that?

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And, really, what higher compliment can you pay a film than that?

 

Well, I've already said that I'm 60, so I know where you're coming from. ;)

 

I do enjoy some of the later Curtiz films, although they may not exactly be classics. THE EGYPTIAN gets a lot of flack, it's a film that Brando refused to make and Bella Darvi's acting is the subject of negative comments. However, she is well cast here, Purdom isn't Brando, but he's not THAT bad and there's still Simmons, Tierney, Mature, Ustinov, some startling production design and a score that united Herrmann and Alfred Newman.

 

WE'RE NO ANGELS is a dark Christmas tale and all the better for it. Plenty of dry humor, Bogie seems to be having a good time and Ustinov is restrained as he is in the above.

 

KING CREOLE may just well be my favorite Presley film and THE PROUD REBEL is Alan Ladd's last class film with a great supporting cast and wonderful cinematography. Too bad that I've yet to see a decent DVD issued. They're all either faded or pan-and-scan or both.

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I started this thread hoping to encourage some people to view The Breaking Point because I have always been a bit frustrated that this wonderful little gem has been so neglected over the years, and so few people seemed to know of its existence.

 

As for the comment that this film is depressing, I really can't agree. Not when you've got the stimulation of a great director like Mike Curtiz in peak form, not only with the slam bam of that great racetrack holdup scene and the action finale, but because of how he assisted his cast to flesh out such vivid characterizations, as well. How much less would the final shootout mean to us if we didn't care about John Garfield's character?

 

Mike Curtiz, the man who gave us Robin Hood and Casablanca and Mildred Pierce and Sea Wolf, among so many other great triumphs, was one of the great film directors, in my opinion. Yet he is never hailed as such by those extolling the virtues to be found in the careers of a Hitchcock or Ford or Hawks.

 

Speaking of Hawks, for me, the Curtiz adaption of the Hemingway novella works on a more profound level than the celebrated Bogart version of To Have and Have Not. The Hawks film doesn't pretend to be anything more than what it is, action and romance designed as escapist entertainment for a wartime audience. It works well on that superficial level, with the added bonus being that a legendary Hollywood romance also blossomed behind the scenes during production. (I've always regarded the film a little overrated, though, because the romantic banter, the highlight of the production, tends to overwhelm the picture's action suspense elements).

 

The Garfield version has far greater emotional resonance for me because of the surprising depth of the characterizations for a film that, on the surface, might look like another mere "entertainment". Garfield's final scene in the picture is heart wrenching, with Phyllis Thaxter's touching plea with her husband to allow the operation to amputate his arm, which will save his life and, in turn, save her's.

 

And then we see Garfield's incredible reaction to her plea, not only to allow the operation, but telling her how much he needs her, to not leave him. This is what adds to the depth of the work, watching a macho actor like Garfield play a role in which he is so totally vulnerable lying on a bed, with that same macho guy telling a woman how he needs her for support. He needs her as much as she needs him. There was always a sensitivity about John Garfield's characters but I don't know if his vulnerability was ever before portrayed quite so poignantly as it is in this film.

 

And then, a final surprise in this film: the last shot. SPOILERS ALERT! With the narrative concluded and the lead characters all dispersing from camera view, Curtiz' last shot is the heart wrenching sight of a little boy looking for his father, not knowing that his father is dead. It's a moment than can reduce me to tears every time I see this film, a final haunting image. But rather than call it depressing, I am grateful to these filmmakers for helping me make this connection to the human condition, and to be so touched by it.

 

What is depressing regarding The Breaking Point is the knowledge of what happened to John Garfield soon afterward.

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> {quote:title=TomJH: }{quote}What is depressing regarding The Breaking Point is the knowledge of what happened to John Garfield soon afterward.

Very, very true . . . The real depressing factor over the whole issue of John Garfield's career is having been cut short from what could have been an actor with a long and distinguished ability, thrilling the generation of fans to come! Well, despite his tragic end, we do have something to ponder and admire about. He has been for so long, an exceptional actor that gets overlooked, while others who had shorter careers or weren't as really talented get more attention. I'm still waiting for that proposed major film about his life. Actor Johnny Depp has shown some interest in playing Garfield, as have a few other current performers who are popular today, having become knowledgeable of Garfield's work. You might say: The list goes on! But, let's get something rolling to the point that Garfield is an important part of motion picture history. This is especially the case with how he was ostracized, only to later on have a slew of admirers, who later on came to the motion picture business, all inspired by him! There is today this understanding that Garfield is for all its worth, a natural talent that has for so many years, led to this appreciation by those who strive to be performers in a profession that can be reckless, unforgiving and leave one out into the cold of desertedness. He didn't deserve what happened to him. His loss is certainly one of the most catastrophic in the history of motion pictures, simply because a performer like him doesn't come around too often. He is and will remain a "once in a lifetime" actor that invigorates the essence of a dramatic performing profession.

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>Still message board friends I hope.

 

Yes, of course. :)

 

I'm very interested in reading why people like The Breaking Point so much. I've watched it twice and I find myself wishing that something good would happen to the Garfield character, but nothing ever does. For me, it would be like watching It's a Wonderful Life but with no angel showing up to save George Bailey, and having Bedford Falls permanently change into Potterville.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

>

> I'm very interested in reading why people like The Breaking Point so much. I've watched it twice and I find myself wishing that something good would happen to the Garfield character, but nothing ever does.

>

Well, there is a good chance that things will work out all right for his character and his family once the film ends. Arm or no arm, his character is alive, there is still the (slim) possibility of the reward money, there's the cash in the jewelry box, I doubt he'd face serious criminal charges (nothing can be proven) and his family still has a home (and a place to go should they lose it.) Let us not forget, it is Garfield's character who forced himself deeper into the quicksand- uphill odds or not he made the choice.

 

The real tragedy of the story is the boy who loses his (completely innocent) father, whose future is thoroughly uncertain- as suggested by his lone wandering of the docks.Like Garfield said "a man alone has got no chance." Well, Garfield's character isn't alone, he has his wife- the little boy on the docks is really alone, and thanks to who?

 

 

Not meaning to sound like a condescending elitist, but this is something really unique in a studio picture of the time, a statement that I paraphrase as "yes, feel sorry for these people, but look at the real injustice in the world."

 

It's a really artfully made film with layers of meaning.

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Mar 10, 2012 12:03 PM

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