A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
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
In the film, James Temple describes the 1935 hurricane that devastated Matacumbe Key. This was one of worst hurricanes in U.S. history and many of the victims of the storm were World War I veterans who were building the Florida Keys portion of U.S. Highway 1, also known as the Overseas Highway. A portion of the highway is seen in the film's opening. The storm also produced the lowest-ever recorded barometric pressure over land in the North American continent. See more »
Mr. Temple describes fairly accurately the hurricane that struck the Florida Keys on September 2, 1935. However, his description of the death toll ("800 people washed out to sea") is about double that of the official toll of 408. See more »
Obviously someone below couldn't tell a well directed, highly regarded classic film the likes of Key Largo from a Turkey Sandwich - but thanks for the remedial effort nonetheless.
This movie doesn't get the attention of a Casablanca or a Maltese Falcon, but it's definitely one to see - and not just for the giants on the screen. The build up of tension between the main characters is set well against the backdrop of the impending storm seemingly threatening to cave their hotel in literally and figuratively. Frank's character arc from jaded passiveness to the restrained heroism he is inescapably drawn towards has been seen in other Bogie characters, but usually those guys were either willing participants on the trigger end of their guns, or they were fulfilling their own agendas as well. However Frank McCloud has no ulterior motives. Here, there is a refreshing change from the usual Bogie-isms; Frank doesnt engage in any verbal bravado with Rocco, there are no confident smirks on his face, or promises to 'get even' later.
As for Barrymore, he was just simply an acting genius. Look no further than the scene with him getting out of his wheelchair in a futile attempt to fight Rocco as proof. Fantastic. E.G. Robinson delivers his vitriol so well on-screen, you cant help but hate his guts and wait for his come-uppance. Both Barrymore and EGR were great at delivering speeches - extended lines of dialogue while 'flying solo' - you can almost here the room go quiet as they worked the script. Lauren Bacall's chemistry with her Husband was so natural and unforced, even the scenes with no dialogue show how much they were in love - albeit true she doesnt exactly carry the workload in this one.
Some of the scenes with the Indians seem a little odd, but it still works in the context of the entire movie. Don't overlook this great film!
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