Michael Curtiz

The Breaking Point

The Breaking Point

Michael Curtiz brings a master skipper’s hand to the helm of this thriller, Hollywood’s second crack at Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not. John Garfield stars as Harry Morgan, an honest charter-boat captain who, facing hard times, takes on dangerous cargo to save his boat, support his family, and preserve his dignity. Left in the lurch by a freeloading passenger, Harry starts to enter­tain the criminal propositions of a sleazy lawyer (Wallace Ford), as well as the playful come-ons of a cheeky blonde (Patricia Neal), making a series of compromises that stretch his morality—and his marriage—further than he’ll admit. Hewing closer to Hemingway’s novel than Howard Hawks’s Bogart-Bacall vehicle does, The Breaking Point charts a course through daylight noir and working-class tragedy, guided by Curtiz’s effortless visual fluency and a stoic, career-capping performance from Garfield.

Film Info

  • Michael Curtiz
  • United States
  • 1950
  • 97 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  • Spine #889

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with critic Alan K. Rode (Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film)
  • New piece featuring actor and acting instructor Julie Garfield on her father, actor John Garfield
  • New video essay by Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou analyzing Curtiz’s methods
  • Excerpts from a 1962 episode of Today showing contents of the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, Florida, including items related to To Have and Have Not, the novel on which The Breaking Point is based
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with critic Alan K. Rode (Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film)
  • New piece featuring actor and acting instructor Julie Garfield on her father, actor John Garfield
  • New video essay by Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou analyzing Curtiz’s methods
  • Excerpts from a 1962 episode of Today showing contents of the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, Florida, including items related to To Have and Have Not, the novel on which The Breaking Point is based
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek
The Breaking Point
Cast
John Garfield
Harry Morgan
Patricia Neal
Leona Charles
Phyllis Thaxter
Lucy Morgan
Juano Hernandez
Wesley Park
Wallace Ford
Duncan
Edmon Ryan
Rogers
Ralph Dumke
Hannagan
Guy Thomajan
Danny
William Campbell
Concho
Victor Sen Yung
Mr. Sing
Sherry Jackson
Amelia Morgan
Donna Jo Boyce
Connie Morgan
Peter Brocco
Macho
John Doucette
Gotch
James Griffith
Charlie
Credits
Director
Michael Curtiz
Produced by
Jerry Wald
Screenplay by
Ranald MacDougall
Based on a novel by
Ernest Hemingway
Director of photography
Ted McCord
Art director
Edward Carrere
Film editor
Alan Crosland Jr.
Sound by
Leslie G. Hewitt
Dialogue director
Norman Stuart
Set decorator
George James Hopkins
Second unit director
David C. Gardner
Wardrobe by
Leah Rhodes
Musical director
Ray Heindorf
Music by
Howard Jackson
Music by
Max Steiner

From The Current

The Michael Curtiz Method
The Michael Curtiz Method

A new video essay on our edition of The Breaking Point breaks down the fluid visual style of one of Hollywood’s most dependable and prolific masters.

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Aug 11, 2017
The Breaking Point: All at Sea
The Breaking Point: All at Sea

This underappreciated highlight of Michael Curtiz’s filmography grapples with postwar disillusionment and marital strife through the prism of a daylight noir.

By Stephanie Zacharek

On Film / Essays — Aug 8, 2017
Fatal Women and the Fate of Women

Dark Passages

Fatal Women and the Fate of Women

What is the defining characteristic of the femme fatale? Critic Imogen Sara Smith explores the range of this film noir archetype through a handful of classic performances.

By Imogen Sara Smith

On Film / Features — Jul 31, 2017