People smuggling (film)

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German title human smuggling
Original title The breaking point
Country of production United States
original language English , Spanish , Chinese
Publishing year 1950
length 97 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Michael Curtiz
script Ranald MacDougall
production Jerry Woods
music Ray Heindorf
camera Ted McCord
cut Alan Crosland Jr.

Smuggling (original title: The Breaking Point ) is a in black and white twisted American film drama and film noir of Michael Curtiz from the year 1950. It is based on the novel To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway and is by Howard Hawks ' eponymous film , the second Adaptation of the literary model.


Harry Morgan is the captain of a small yacht in southern California , but with a few customers such as deep-sea anglers and Mexico tourists hardly earns enough to support his wife and two children. His youngest customer Hannagan runs away after the crossing to Mexico and leaves only his lover Leona Charles behind. Harry, who doesn't even have money left for the gasoline needed for the return trip, gets involved in a deal arranged by the seedy Duncan: he is supposed to smuggle a group of Chinese into the USA for 1,800 US dollars . Since the smuggler does not want to pay Sing the full amount and threatens Harry with a weapon, a fight ensues in which Sing is killed. Harry leaves the illegal immigrants behind in Mexico, but his boat is still confiscated in the United States after the Coast Guard learned of the trade. His wife Lucy begs him to give up the boat and take a job on her father's farm, but Harry refuses. He meets Leona Charles again, who tries to seduce him.

Duncan lets his relationships run wild, and Harry gets his boat back from the authorities. Since Harry's bank only gives him two weeks to repay his loan taken out for the boat, he is again under financial pressure. He agrees to another deal with Duncan: He is supposed to transport four gangsters who want to steal the betting income from a horse racing track to a meeting point at sea. The attack succeeds, but Duncan is shot by the police while trying to escape. The gangsters appear at the pier at the appointed time. When they murder Harry's mate and friend Wesley while casting off, Harry realizes that he will also be eliminated after reaching the meeting point. He succeeds in killing the four men, but is seriously injured himself. After the Coast Guard recover him, Harry refuses to have his arm amputated even though his life is at stake. Only Lucy can persuade him to have the operation performed and end his life as a boat captain. Meanwhile, the young son of the murdered Wesley is waiting for his father to return at the pier.


Smuggling was launched on 30 September 1950 in the United States and on 21 September 1951 in the cinemas of the Federal Republic of Germany .

Michael Curtiz 'and Ranald MacDougall's adaptation is considered the most faithful film adaptation of Hemingway's novel , despite its relocation from Florida to California. Howard Hawks had, among other things, omitted the final shootout in its implementation, which in turn was used in the finale of John Huston's Florida-based gangsters in Key Largo . In 1958, Don Siegel made a third film version of To Have and Not to Have under the title The Gun Runners .

Leading actor John Garfield only made one more film before he could no longer find work in Hollywood and only appear in the theater because of his refusal to reveal the names of leftist companions to the Committee on Un-American Activities . He died in 1952 at the age of only 39.


“All of the quirk, color, and cynicism of Mr. Hemingway's terse, stripped-down story have been wrapped up in this realistic film, and John Garfield is brilliantly in the lead. [...] the feeling of camaraderie and trust that is conveyed by the character embodied by Mr. Hernández , and the pathos that his death creates, are not only beautiful evidence of the intuition for racial issues, but are among the most moving factors in this film . "

"Impressive, unusual adventure film."


  • Ernest Hemingway: To Have and Have Not. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1937 (EA).
  • Ernest Hemingway: To have and not to have. Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg 2001.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Alain Silver, Elizabeth Ward (Ed.): Film Noir. An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, Third Edition. Overlook / Duckworth, New York / Woodstock / London 1992, ISBN 978-0-87951-479-2 , pp. 42-43.
  2. a b people smuggling. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed July 5, 2017 .  .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used
  3. Bruce Crowther: Film Noir. Reflections in a Dark Mirror. Virgin, London 1988, ISBN 0-86287-402-5 , p. 101.
  4. ^ Adolf Heinzlmeier, Jürgen Menningen, Berndt Schulz: Cinema of the night. Hollywood's Black Series. Rasch and Röhring Hamburg / Zurich 1985, ISBN 3-89136-040-1 , p. 158.
  5. ^ Brian Neve: Film and Politics in America. A social tradition. Routledge, Oxon 1992, p. 110.
  6. ^ Patrick J. McGrath: John Garfield: The Illustrated Career in Films And on Stage. P. 120, p. 149 ff.
  7. ^ Robert Nott: He Ran All the Way: The Life of John Garfield. Limelight / Proscenium Publishers, New York 2003, p. 301.
  8. ^ Robert Sklar: City Boys: Cagney, Bogart, Garfield. Princeton University Press, 1992, pp. 183-188.
  9. “All of the character, color and cynicism of Mr. Hemingway's lean and hungry tale are wrapped up in this realistic picture, and John Garfield is tops in the principal role. [...] the suggestion of comradeship and trust that is achieved through the character played by Mr. Hernandez, and the pathos created by his death, is not only a fine evidence of racial feeling, but it is one of the most moving factors in the film. ” Review in The New York Times , October 7, 1950, accessed March 10, 2013.