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The Key (1934)

Approved | | Drama | 9 June 1934 (USA)
British officer is assigned to duty in Ireland and gets embroiled in Anglo-Irish battles and old girl friend who is now married to an Irishman. Powell learns more than he wanted to know ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (play) (as R. Gore-Browne) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Capt. Bill Tennant
Edna Best ...
Norah Kerr
Capt. Andrew 'Andy' Kerr
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Homer, Tennant's Aide
Halliwell Hobbes ...
General C.O. Furlong
Peadar Conlan
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Henry O'Neill ...
Phil Regan ...
Young Irishman Killed by Andrew
Arthur Treacher ...
Lt. Merriman, Furlong's Aide
Maxine Doyle ...
Pauline O'Connor
Arthur Aylesworth ...
Gertrude Short ...
Evie a Barmaid
Flower Girl (as Dawn O'Day)


British officer is assigned to duty in Ireland and gets embroiled in Anglo-Irish battles and old girl friend who is now married to an Irishman. Powell learns more than he wanted to know about "the Irish Problem." Written by Ed Lorusso

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Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 June 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

High Peril  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The £1,000 reward for Conlan's capture in 1920 would be the equivalent of $3,664 then, or over $43,400 in 2016. See more »


Capt. Bill Tennant: [sadly, to Norah] I suppose it's only in storybooks there's a path back to yesterday.
See more »


There's a Cottage in Killarney
by Mort Dixon and Allie Wrubel
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User Reviews

From Another Age
17 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This review is more in the manner of an observation than a review as it doesn't seem quite fair to cast stones from the 21st Century on something that was quite well done for its time. It is probably most significant for having Colin Clive in a part that is reasonably compassionate and human rather than brutal towards women, or, on the other hand, digging up corpses to bring them back to life as in "Frankenstein". It seems rather an all-star cast for having Donald Crisp, Haliwell Hobbs, Henry O'Neill, Arthur Treacher, Dawn O'Day (Anne Shirley), in addition to William Powell, Edna Best, and Colin Clive. Without having a deep background in Irish 20th Century history, it seems difficult to place the action in a particular time, before or after the Easter Uprising, before or after the Anglo-Irish Treaty, before or after the Irish Free State, so it becomes sort of a plot full of intrigue without knowing what the characters have already been through historically. It is simply a very rich experience with a sterling script, from the moment of Powell's captain entering the presence of Haliwell Hobbs the general, being upbraided for "conduct unbecoming" etc, until in private they can clap each other's shoulder and greet each other as old comrades in arms. And knowing it was directed by Michael Curtiz is confirmation that it was being done professionally, and there was a very good reason why something being shot in Burbank on a back lot was nearly identical to actual scenes from Ireland. The only thing missing is subtitles or close-captioning, and an opportunity to actually make out what each character in each scene is saying without that help.

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