This article explores The Breaking Point (1950), the lesser-known Hollywood adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s 1937 novel To Have and Have Not, within its postwar historical context. Transferring a fisherman’s fight for survival from the Depression into an era of prosperity and political anxiety, the film draws comparisons to the progressive Hollywood filmmaking of the time through its visions of working-class life and racial solidarity. However, its more complicated details and disappointing box-office returns simultaneously reveal that a repressive conservatism was slowly replacing calls for social reform by the dawn of the 1950s.
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