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Key Largo (1948)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  31 July 1948 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 26,539 users  
Reviews: 144 user | 57 critic

A man visits his old friend's hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.

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Title: Key Largo (1948)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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John Rodney ...
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Ziggy
Dan Seymour ...
Angel Garcia
Monte Blue ...
Sheriff Ben Wade
William Haade ...
Ralph Feeney
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Storyline

Frank McCloud travels to a run-down hotel on Key Largo to honor the memory of a friend who died bravely in his unit during WW II. His friend's widow, Nora Temple, and wheelchair bound father, James Temple manage the hotel and receive him warmly, but the three of them soon find themselves virtual prisoners when the hotel is taken over by a mob of gangsters led by Johnny Rocco who hole up there to await the passing of a hurricane. Mr. Temple strongly reviles Rocco but due to his infirmities can only confront him verbally. Having become disillusioned by the violence of war, Frank is reluctant to act, but Rocco's demeaning treatment of his alcoholic moll, Gaye Dawn, and his complicity in the deaths of some innocent Seminole Indians and a deputy sheriff start to motivate McCloud to overcome his Hamlet-like inaction. Written by Brian Greenhalgh

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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A cast as explosive as its story! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

31 July 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Huracán de pasiones  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A line of Rocco's dialogue was popularly misquoted following the 2000 presidential election and its Florida-centric "recount battle" to make it look as if the movie was prophetic. See more »

Goofs

When Frank is on top of the boat looking down waiting for the gangsters to come out, a view of him from above shows a shiny plated gun in his left hand. The rest of the scene shows him with a black plated gun in his right hand. However, he had picked up "Toots'" gun after shooting him. That gun was shiny. See more »

Quotes

Deputy Clyde Sawyer: Down in the lobby, I ran up against these two.
[indicates Toots and Curly]
Deputy Clyde Sawyer: Well, they didn't look right to me, so I asked them a few questions. By the way they answered me, I knew there was something fishy. So I put in a call to Ben Wade, but before I could get through, the lights went out on me. I woke up in there. Rocco was standing over me. I recognized him right away from the pictures. I made a break for the door, and the lights went out again.
Toots: I'm the electrician.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Whole Nine Yards (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Moanin' Low
(uncredited)
Music by Ralph Rainger
Lyrics by Howard Dietz
Sung by Claire Trevor
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Phoenix: The Hero Reborn From His Ashes
29 June 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

The film is about Frank. He returns from the war disillusioned and depressed both from the horrors he has endured and the lies he was told. Remember why he is here, he has come to tell his best friends' relatives how he died. If you do not understand Frank, his actions will seem bizarre and inexplicable. Once Rocco's gang takes over, and everyone realizes they are prisoners there, Nora looks to Frank to save them. Frank gives a little speech, the point of which is, he went through hell trying to rid the world of Johnny Rocco's and here is another one right in front of him. James tries to tell Nora that no man who went through what Frank did could possibly be a coward. Nora snaps, and unleashes a tirade on him about what a pathetic coward he is. Rocco will tolerate no challenges not even verbal. His reaction is to try and bait him into letting Rocco shoot him. Nora tries to convince herself Frank knew the gun was empty. When she discovers he didn't that is when she goes postal on him. The movie follows Frank learning to care again. As Rocco, becomes more and more cruel to everyone around him. Frank begins to hate him and the old Frank is on his way back.

The scene where Rocco makes Gaye sing for her drink is one of the saddest scenes on film. This is the fate of the moll who has outlived her usefulness, now she is discarded like garbage. When Johnny says,"You stink," Faye answers,"Johnny you're as mean as can be." It won Trevor the Oscar; she earned it what a powerful scene. There is a parallel here to Treasure of Sierra Madre, watch as the storm grows, like the fire in Madre, how Rocco gets more and more frightened. Mr. Temple starts praying for divine retribution and almost gets shot by Rocco. Gradually, the film builds to the decision point. They all urge Frank to run; it is a death sentence for sure. Frank hesitates, you can see the anguish on his face, he is through running. He climbs aboard with the gun Gaye gave him secreted away. He is not the same docile, nihilistic Frank who gave that speech at the beginning. He has decided no more Johnny Roccos. The cruelty and evil of the man brought Frank back to his senses.

Huston pulls no punches, Frank is almost killed several times, and gets a serious wound for his trouble. Rocco is portrayed as a mendacious, cowardly, cruel monster. This was before villains were heroes like in today's movies. See how strong the normative structure of the country was back there. When Frank returns, with the fog dissipating and the sun rising behind him, both beautiful existential metaphors, the message is unmistakable; the hero has returned. What gives the movie its power is the struggle within Frank to find the hero buried under all that suffering and disillusionment. As the music ascends, and Nora rushes to meet him, his nobility reminds all of us that it is within each of us. It just has to be brought up and out with courage. A GREAT MOVIE


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