Key Largo (1948) Poster

(1948)

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8/10
Enduring Warner Gangster Melodrama.
jpdoherty5 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
One of the finest of the great gangster melodramas KEY LARGO is still a firm favourite with fans and cultists alike. Produced by Jerry Wald in 1948 for Warner Bros. it was based on the stage play by Maxwell Anderson and was beautifully written for the screen by Richard Brooks and John Huston. Stunningly photographed in low key black & white by Karl Freund it was expertly directed with his customary flair by Huston. The cast assembled couldn't be better with Humphrey Bogart delivering one of his very best subdued performances and arguably being almost eclipsed by a riveting Ed. G. Robinson. The rest of the small cast is fleshed out with Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore, Claire Trevor and Thomas Gomez. And complimenting the on screen proceedings is the splendid music by the tireless Max Steiner who provided one of his best forties scores.

It is 1946, the war in Europe is over and a returning GI (Humphrey Bogart) arrives at The Largo Hotel in Key Largo. Asked who he is Bogart coolly replies "McCloud, Frank by John out of Helen". He is here to meet with the hotel owner John Temple (Lionel Barrymore) to talk about the death of his son George Temple and how he lost his life in combat in Italy saving his unit. But McCloud notices that also staying in the hotel are a undesirable crowd of sinister looking characters. It's not long before he learns that they are a gang of mobsters led by an abrasive deported racketeer - the infamous Johnny Rocco (Robinson). When McCloud reveals who Rocco is and lists his many illegal and crooked enterprises the aging wheelchair bound John Temple gloweringly chides him "You Filth" which elicits little more than a snigger from Rocco. Then the gang declare themselves and display their violent ways (they murder the deputy sheriff) and make known their intention to force McCloud to sail them to Cuba. However after Rocco's moll (Claire Trevor) slips McCloud a gun he takes them on in a surprise move out at sea which makes for an intense and exciting sequence. The picture ends with McCloud's dispatch of the baddies and turning the boat around he heads back to Key Largo and The Largo Hotel where a new life awaits him.

With some remarkable ensemble playing performances are top notch. Bogart gives one of his best portrayals in a likable reserved manner. Here proving yet again that he remains one of the most enduring icons of the silver screen. But there's little doubt KEY LARGO is Robinson's picture! His snarling and totally mean spirited Rocco is the best thing he has ever done. Good too are those in support especially Lionel Barrymore as the irascible aging hotelier, Lauren Bacall as Nora his daughter in-law and Claire Trevor giving a great turn as Rocco's moll in her Acadamy Award winning best supporting actress performance.

And holding the whole thing together is Max Steiner's great score. His main theme is a lovely gentle anthem-like cue which points up the sadness of George Temple's death in the war and the loneliness now felt without him by his father and widow Nora. Also heard are some great action cues and an appropriate swirling piece for the Hurricane sequence. 1948 was a bumper year for the busy composer. In twelve months the man scored an unprecedented eleven films which included such amazing classics as "Treasure Of The Sierra Madre", "Johnny Belinda", "Silver River" the exceptional "The Adventures Of Don Juan" and of course KEY LARGO.

KEY LARGO remains a memorable and enduring classic from Hollywood's Golden Age. In the tradition of the great noirs it exudes an engaging dramatic thrust throughout and an all encompassing intensity rarely felt in movies today. John Huston demonstrated yet again his prowess as one of film's outstanding directors and with his inspired casting in KEY LARGO the movie will forever maintain its appeal as long as there are movies and a place to screen them..

Footnote: It is interesting to note that the boat used in the final sequence was Bogart's own boat "The Santana".
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8/10
Superb cast and taut drama
byght5 April 2004
While chiefly remembered as a Bogart/Bacall vehicle, this story of expatriate gangsters commandeering a sleepy tropical hotel is, in actuality, a tightly directed ensemble piece with acting chops to burn.

There's Edward G. Robinson as Johnny Rocco--the brash, boisterous, sleazy gangster whose frailties (cowardice and a yearning for better times) gradually unfold before us. There's Lionel Barrymore as James Temple, the delightfully feisty and crusty hotel owner overcome with revulsion at Rocco's presence. There's Thomas Gomez, Harry Lewis, Dan Seymour and William Haade as Curly, Toots, Angel and Ralphie--Rocco's colorful but hard-edged thugs who are presences unto themselves. There's Claire Trevor as Gaye, Rocco's declining, alcoholic moll who symbolizes more than anything how far Rocco has fallen.

That's an awful lot. Too much scenery-chewing from Bogart or Bacall would push it over the top--and director/screenwriter/demigod John Huston knows it. He coaxes remarkably restrained and subtle performances out of his star couple. The romantic tension between them is suggested but never shoved in the audience's face. Bogart's wandering war vet Frank McCloud keeps his lips tight and plays his cards close to the chest--a streetwise outsider through and through. Bacall's Nora Temple lets her anger and distaste pour out through her smoldering eyes more often than her mouth.

Ultimately, the subtlety is so well-hidden between the gigantic performances of Robinson and Barrymore that you might miss just how sophisticated Frank's story is. Disillusioned and drifting since the war, he stops in to visit the wife (Nora) and father (James) of a fallen comrade whose bravery he admired. Implicit in his visit is an unspoken apology that it is he, and not their loved one, who is returning home. The fallen soldier is a constant unseen presence in the film--his bravery and honor mocking what Frank sees as his own cowardice and inability to stand up to Rocco (Bogart's fast-talking explanation of why he didn't shoot Rocco when he had the chance is classic and rare--a protagonist lying to his friends and his audience--"One Rocco more or less isn't worth dying for!"). Frank's eventual decision to take on Rocco and his hoods is a victory against the fear that plagues and shames him.

In a larger sense, this is a true period movie about a generation of men returning home from the greatest conflict the world has ever known. Most of our national memories of World War II are proud and triumphant, but, as with any war, it left countless people scarred physically and mentally. Though Frank is a decorated soldier, he feels somehow that what he did wasn't enough (because he lived and his friend did not?), and he returns back to a country in which he has no place with no real pride or satisfaction. The confrontation with Rocco affords him a chance (perhaps only possible in Hollywood or on the stage, where the story of "Key Largo" was first performed) to make things right with his world.

While it has not aged as well as the better-known films of Bogart's and Huston's careers, "Key Largo" is a film that, for a little investment of attention and thought, will pay big dividends to anyone that really and truly loves movies.
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9/10
shock value
bkoganbing2 April 2004
My favorite Bogart movie is also Key Largo. Even before Edward G. Robinson and his hoods take everyone hostage in Lionel Barrymore's hotel there is a tension that does not let up for one second. Movie goers had to be on the edge of their seats in 1948.

There is one scene however that I don't think viewers today can fully appreciate. Lionel Barrymore had been acting from a wheelchair for 10 years and movie audiences were used to that. When Robinson and his goons goad him to a futile gesture of bravado, Barrymore rises from that chair and moves slowly towards the snickering Robinson. He swings and misses and falls down and Bogey and Bacall pick up Barrymore and bring him back to his wheelchair. The shock value of that scene for 1948 audiences would have a dimension that can't be appreciated now.

Robinson's Johnny Rocco is based on Lucky Luciano who had been deported a few years back. He's evil incarnate and Humphrey Bogart as Frank McCloud is the jaded, cynical former idealist who redeems himself and becomes the countervailing force for good. They play well against each other in a reverse from the 1930s Warner gangster flicks where Robinson was usually the good guy.

Who could have known this would be the fourth, last, and best of the Bogey and Bacall teamings.
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8/10
Edward G. Robinson at this best
Dennis Littrell21 June 2004
Key Largo is just one of John Huston's many memorable films that somehow always seem to transcend the intention--the Hollywood intention being to make a few bucks--and to this day still plays very well and indeed appears as something close to a work of art. It features what I think is one of Edward G. Robinson's finest performances as Johnny Rocco, a sociopathic gangster holding the off-season personnel of a seaside hotel hostage as he concludes a counterfeit money deal.

The story begins as Major Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) pays a visit to the family of one of his G.I. buddies who was killed in Italy during WWII. He finds the welcome from the hotel's only "guests" chilly except for Gaye Dawn (a funny and perhaps prescient Hollywood stage name) played by Claire Trevor who is drunk and befriends him. After a bit McCloud discovers that the hotel's owner Nora Temple (Lauren Bacall) and her invalid father-in-law James Temple (Lionel Barrymore) have been tricked into allowing Rocco's gang to stay and now, as a tropical storm begins to blow, are being held at gunpoint. McCloud's delicate task is to keep the megalomaniac and murderous personality of Rocco under some control so that he doesn't murder everyone.

Note that this is a splendid cast, and they all do a good job. Note too that Huston adapted this from a play by the versatile American playwright Maxwell Anderson. So the ingredients for a good film are clearly in place; and aside from some self-conscious mishmash with the Seminoles of Florida, this is a success. Anderson's desire to explore the psychopathic personality (some years later he adapted William March's novel The Bad Seed into a stage play) finds realization in Huston's direction and especially in Robinson's indelible performance. The utter disregard for the lives of others and the obsessive love of self that characterize the sociopath reek from the snares and callous laughter of the very sick Johnny Rocco. I especially liked the crazed and thrilled grin on his face when he emerges from the hold of the boat in the climactic scene, gun in hand, imagining that he has once again fooled his adversaries and is about to delightfully shoot Humphrey Bogart to death. What I loved about this scene was that Huston did not think it necessary to contrive a fight in which the good guy (Bogart) beats the bad guy by fighting fair. What happens is exactly what should happen, and without regard for the fine points of Marquis of Queensberry-type rules. Also good is Rocco beginning to sweat in fear of his life as the storm moves in while Bogey gives us his famous laugh and grin as he assesses the essential cowardice of the petty gangster.

Lauren Bacall, in one of her more modest roles, does a lot without saying much, and Lionel Barrymore is very good as the cantankerous old guy in a wheelchair. Claire Trevor actually won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for her work, and she was good as the alcoholic moll with a heart of gold. Robinson won nothing, but he really dominated the picture and demonstrated why he was one of Hollywood's greatest stars.

Bottom line: watch this to see the gangster yarn meld into film noir with overtones of the psychoanalytical drama that characterized many of the black and white Hollywood films of the forties and early fifties.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
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10/10
One of Bogart's, Bacall's & Robinson's best.
Paul Browne5 February 2005
Basically this film is almost like a play. The whole story is more or less (apart from the ending) shot in a rustic Florida hotel. A great location and setting, a real credit to John Huston.

In short, Frank McCloud (Bogart) an ex war hero and living at no-fixed-address, visits (by request) his dead war buddy's father (barrymore) & widow (Bacall). As he arrives, it doesn't take long for Frank to work out the Hotel is temporarily hostage to a big mob gangster - Rocco (robinson) and his cronies.

The film instantly grabs you, it looks beautiful, there is a lot of substance and well thought out scripts, nothing glamorous or smart, just very good story telling. A good side line to the story, are the Native American clan, who due to an approaching hurricane need to find shelter, their plight is placed nicely into the story. There is a scene in which Bacall introduces Bogart to the oldest member of the clan, a 100 and something year old Native woman which is just so genuine, I still don't believe this woman was an actress, Huston must have improvised this into the script.

Not only is Bogart superb in this, but also the whole cast. It goes without saying Edward G Robinson's performance was second to none as to was - his right hand man (Harry Lewis I think), Bacall & Rocco's girlfriend - Ziggy..pretty much the entire cast.

The whole thing ties up well, without Spoilers it does have a great ending. This is a must not just for Bogie fans but for anyone who can appreciate an intelligent film.

-Paul Browne.
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Here's looking at you, Bogie (and Eddie)...
keihan25 April 2000
When I think of the colorized version that, regrettably, is the only copy of this excellent film noir in my video store, I can't help but think of a comment Orson Welles made to a friend a few days before his death in regards to Turner's plans to colorize "Citizen Kane"(thankfully defeated, because of the fact that it came under Welles' original contract with RKO, which specified that only Welles would make changes): "Keep Turner and his g**d*** Crayolas away from my movie." Watching this version of "Key Largo" more than proves Welles' point; the lighting becomes terrible in several key scenes, particularly the closing ones on the boat, to whereas before, you could see what was going on, now you can just barely tell a thing. That said, it can't destroy the fine work that this film truly is.

I was led to this film by my mother, who called it one of her favorites from Bogie (another being "The African Queen") and now I can see why. Leave it to John Huston, the man who was bold enough to make a true adaptation of Dashiell Hammet's "The Maltese Falcon", to give us a tightly woven drama that never feels forced. Bogie's Frank McCloud is probably the most silent of all the strong-silent types he ever played, barely saying more than is necessary for the scene he's in. Such reticience leaves some large blanks for the audience to fill; though he says that he doesn't care one way or another, I really don't believe him. The feeling I get the entire time he's in the clutches of Johnny Rocco's gang is that he's just waiting for his moment. After all, you don't survive WWII's Italian campaign and not know when it's best to stay still and when it's best to make your play. That's why he threw away the gun offered to him by Rocco; no way was Rocco's gang just going to let their boss be gunned down even if the deck was stacked in Rocco's favor. The murders of the deputy and the Indians on the lam just adds to the need to take care of business.

I was a little disappointed to see Bacall in such a minor role (it still had to be better than what she was given, sans Bogie, after this film, from reports I've heard), but her spitting in Rocco's face is an undeniably powerful moment. As for Edward G. Robinson, one of Hollywood's original tough guys imported from Bucharest, Romania, he literally runs away with the part of Johnny Rocco, the former big-shot with delusions of grandeur. He's a casually vicious, ruthless fount of hate, bitter over his fallen status and hungering for a comeback. But he still fails to draw an important lesson from his soused ex-galpal: times change and not necessarily for the better. He may have defied a ton of police in his day or gun down a deputy in this one, but it still doesn't change the fact that the outside world (nicely symbolized by the hurricane) can and will eat him alive without the slightest trace of indigestion. All Rocco is is a dinosaur: proud, strong, but too stupid to realize that his kind have become extinct.

In fact, that may very well be why McCloud was such a natural match for Rocco as an opponent. McCloud had changed his spots many times in his life to fit the job situation he was in, while Rocco has never been anything else but what he is now. Small wonder that one can see the confrontation between them coming to full steam. This core element, and all the others mentioned and not mentioned here, help make "Key Largo" one of the great unsung classics of Humphrey Bogart AND Edward G. Robinson. Here's looking at you, tough guys.
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8/10
The film may lack substance and coherence but it is first-rate drama and entertainment…
Nazi_Fighter_David7 April 2005
It is difficult to resist the temptation to compare William Wyler's "The Desperate Hours" with John Huston's "Key Largo."

Here again the drama arose when a gangster and his thugs sought a temporary hideout by moving in on an innocent family, and were unable to get away until a raging hurricane had blown itself out…

The family were Lionel Barrymore, complete with wheelchair, and Lauren Bacall, apparently without make-up—stunningly attractive… Their home was a small hotel in Florida, and "just passing through" was a tough and somewhat mixed-up good guy Humphrey Bogart… The gangster was Edward G. Robinson…

For Bogart "Key Largo" was another "The Petrified Forest," but this time he was the disenchanted idealist and Edward G. Robinson the vicious, antiquated symbol of raw brute force…

Paul Muni had appeared in the original Maxwell Anderson play in 1939, and director John Huston and Richard Brooks updated the piece to make it more contemporary… As a film, it was treated in a slightly heavy-handed, overly talky manner, displacing action in favor of strong character studies of a group of disparate individuals trapped by a kingpin gangster…

Claire Trevor won an Academy Award as Gaye Dawn, Rocco's boozy mistress who was willing to lower herself to any depths for the mere expedient of getting a drink… She is finally pushed too far by Rocco, has accepted too many insults and been rejected once too often, so she decides to help the besieged prisoners…

Lauren Bacall was Nora Temple, an antiseptic dreamer who persisted in believing that evil should always be opposed by a valiant Sir Galahad and temporarily has her illusions shattered when Bogart apparently doesn't agree to fit into her mold…

As Bacall's grandfather, Lionel Barrymore was another heroic figure who, could afford to be a verbal hero, knowing that a retreat to the safety of his confining wheelchair could protect him…

Edward G. Robinson as Rocco was a mass of contradictions… Brutal with a gun safely in his hand, dreaming of the glories he once knew in the good old days when he was a big shot, all he has left are the memories… He was a man whose criminal wisdom permits no ethics and few feelings… He offers Bogart an empty gun to shoot it out with him... He is also a man afraid, who sweats when the hurricane approaches and poses a threat to his safety... He detests Bogart because of his wartime heroism, mocking and taunting him because his courage is something differing in Rocco's own unheroic life…

As war hero Frank McCloud, Bogart was the most complex character of all… Disillusioned, tired of his war-induced killings, unwilling to risk himself in any new test of courage ("One Rocco more or less isn't worth dying for"), he is now a complacent shadow of his former noble self… He, like Barrymore, seeks an idyllic world where "there's no place for Johnny Rocco." However, his pattern has been too well established… He, like Claire Trevor, can be pushed only so far and then reason and restraint seem no longer acceptable as an alternative to action…

With such a cast "Key Largo" could not fall to hold the attention… Yet, for all its workmanlike craft, it did not reach the level of Wyler's "The Desperate Hours." Bogart, as a disillusioned war veteran who could not rouse himself to action until the last few minutes, left one frustrated: looking for the vicious power that he was to show as the gangster in the later film…

Edward G. Robinson, commanding, convincing, was still not so coldly frightening a villain as Humphrey Bogart… And, one can imagine how the idea of the storming hurricane appealed at the time… The violence and the drama outside, as the wind tore at the palm trees and the waves threatened to swallow the little wooden hotel, would surely underscore and heighten the tensions within... Not so! And not only because the studio storm was not always up to nature's level...

What William Wyler realized was that the suspense of innocence trapped as hostages by wickedness was vastly heightened by the contrast with a quiet, undramatic, everyday setting… No hurricane was needed to put the desperation in "The Desperate Hours."
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8/10
Florida Storm Takes Place of Neon Lights in Huston's Noir Classic
Donald J. Lamb25 March 1999
Humphrey Bogart and John Huston must be considered the artistic equivalent of De Niro-Scorsese. Huston and Bogie made several films together, this being one of their best. But there is another combo that comes to an end in cinema's history: Bogie and Bacall appear on screen for the final time together. It is their finest collaboration. Edward G. Robinson, "Little Caesar" himself, returns to gangster form after years of playing the good guy (Wilder's DOUBLE INDEMNITY, Welles' THE STRANGER) and has one of the more memorable entrances in film villain history. We see him in a tub, smoking, a fan in front of him. He seems to be decaying in a way, but "Johnny Rocco" is still to be reckoned with. This is the Robinson we all love, demented and wise, sinister yet humorous. The Largo Hotel is the setting and a hurricane of drama, heroism, and rain is coming.

Huston stages the film much like the play it is based on, yet we never feel confined. There is enough colorful dialogue to go around. Surprisingly, much of it is not by Bogart, who plays probably his most quiet role, promoting his character through facial gestures more than words. He plays off Robinson and his posse of mobsters perfectly in this way, allowing Edward G. to dominate the majority of the film, which is the point. Lionel Barrymore plays the chair-ridden owner of the Largo and his daughter Bacall is falling in love with Bogart, naturally. They are at the mercy of Rocco and his boys, all of whom have some itchy trigger fingers. Bogart is just buying his time to make his move. The finale is extremely well done and foresees suspense endings to come.

Lauren Bacall is one of the most beautiful actresses to grace the screen, especially in black and white. Her perfect features look sculpted in this light and her sensual stare is enough to make you melt. Her smoky voice and attitude is an excellent match for Bogie's simple, heroic character. Film Noir becomes Florida Noir here, as the lightening outside the windows of the hotel play games with the shadows and atmosphere of events inside. Robinson murders an innocent man with the look of a terrifying ghost, lightening flashing on him and all. The thunder substitutes for the sound of cars and street-life normally heard in classic noir pictures. KEY LARGO is a very good film, dark and suspenseful, in the most pleasant of locales.

RATING: 8 of 10
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10/10
under-appreciated classic
geroldf19 January 2002
Key Largo is an absolutely brilliant film. Cast and screenplay are both superb. Bogart and Bacall have an intense personal chemistry that sparks on screen, and the supporting cast of Barrymore and E. G. Robinson give their best performances ever. Robinson, in particular, as the slimy gangster johnny rocco is great - his portrayal of the 'banality of evil' is the best I've ever seen.

The screenplay is magnificent. Not just the dialog, but also the balance of characters is perfect. For each good character there is a bad one of equal weight, forming a perfectly complementary totality, a yin/yang balance that teeters between triumph and disaster according to the finest shades of personal choice. It's an examination of freedom, of corruption, of courage and betrayal - a perfect encapsulation of the world, focused upon a hotel on a tiny island in the middle of a hurricane.

This movie deserves more recognition than it gets. The action is understated but intense, densely-packed with meaning and significance, at both the individual and cultural level. Watch this movie with new eyes!
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Brilliant
bluenotejazz4 April 2004
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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9/10
Another Bogart/Huston Masterpiece
bsmith555216 December 2001
"Key Largo" was the second collaboration between Humphrey Bogart and John Houston during 1948 (the other being "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre). Both films represent both artists at the peak of their respective careers.

"Key Largo" is about a group of gangsters who have taken over a hotel located on Key Largo. Along comes Bogey, who has come to visit the father of a war time pal who was killed, and of course, gets drawn into the drama.

Huston's cast is flawless. Bogart as Frank McCloud is suitably laid back and brave as he confronts the gangsters headed by Edward G. Robinson as Johnny Rocco. Lauren Bacall plays the widow of Bogey's war time friend and the venerable Lionel Barrymore is outstanding as Temple, the hotel proprietor. Claire Trevor plays Rocco's moll Gaye Dawn, an alcoholic former singer for which she deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Appearing as as Rocco's henchmen are veterans Thomas Gomez and Dan Seymour and Harry Lewis as Toots a "Wilmer" type character (from "The Maltese Falcon"). Monte Blue and John Rodney represent the law.

Bogart and Robinson appeared together many times during the 30s with Robinson usually playing the hero and Bogey the heavy. This time their roles are reversed. This film was unfortunately, the last time Bogart and Robinson appeared together. It's a pity because they always played against each other so well. I always liked Robinson better on the wrong side of the law. His Rocco is a slimy brutal villain. He even gets to slap Bogey around in this one.

It is interesting to note the name of the boat that the gang make their getaway on is called "Santana". Santana was the name of Bogey's own personal boat and the name of his production company.
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9/10
The genius of John Huston on display!
jotix1002 August 2005
John Huston was a remarkable man who was an excellent director, as well as a superb adapter of other people's materials, as he clearly shows in "Key Largo". This movie, based on Maxwell Anderson's play, is a triumph for Mr. Huston, who co-wrote the adaptation with Richard Brooks, another man who would go on to direct his own movies.

Mr. Huston had an uncanny way to get the best people in the business in his projects. Karl Freund's black and white cinematography is wonderful, as is the haunting music provided by Max Steiner, a man who was a genius in his own right for always giving that special touch to the scores he was hired to do.

"Key Largo" has been compared with "The Desperate Hours", in which Humphrey Bogart also appeared. In fact, both were theatrical plays, and perhaps that's the basis of the comparison. As much as Mr. Huston tried to open "Key Largo", it still has a certain feeling of the drama one would get in a stage production.

This is a film that has Humphrey Bogart playing a good guy, Frank McCloud, not his usual bad guy from other movies. Also, we see a rather quiet Lauren Bacall as Nora Temple; in her other films with Mr. Bogart she played more sultrier roles. Edgar G. Robinson is perfect as the crooked Johnny Rocco, the gangster that has decided to take over the Largo Hotel to do his business. In a great performance, Mr. Robinson shows an ugly side. Claire Trevor plays a gangster moll Gaye Dawn and has a great opportunity. Also Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Gomez and Harry Lewis are seen in supporting roles.

"Key Largo" will not disappoint because it shows a tense situation in which at the beginning seems a hopeless cause, but the hurricane will change things around and justice and sanity will prevail.
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8/10
Take me back to 1948 with Bogart and Baby (Bacall) and let me soak in this classic romance meets gangster drama.
Larry41OnEbay-231 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
1948 news items: Harry Truman was re-elected president. -Price were lower = Gas was between $.16 to $.26 per gallon, a new car was around $1,250 and bread $.14 a loaf, Stamps $.03, but the Minimum wage was only $.40 per hour and the average annual salary was between $2,900 and $3,600 per year. -Scientists at Bell Labs invent the transistor, which lead to transistor radios, better TV's and eventually computers. -Soviets blockade West Berlin: Western allies respond with massive airlift. -Israel achieves statehood. -NASCAR holds its first race ever for modified stock cars at Daytona Beach. -Mahatma Gandhi Assassinated -Olympic Games were held in London in 1948, first time since before WWII. -Columbia Records unveiled its new long-playing phonograph record, the 33 1/3, LP. -The effects of WWII were still being felt in Europe, 10,000 people lived in shanty towns on the outskirts of Rome in 1948 made from packing cases, Old Sewage Pipes and bombed out cars. -Oscar winner for Best Film – HAMLET, Best Director – John Huston for TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE.

KEY LARGO is loosely based on Maxwell Anderson's Broadway play which featured Paul Muni. In the play, the gangsters are Mexican bandits, the war in question is the Spanish Civil War, and Frank is a disgraced deserter who dies at the end to protect the family.

For proper atmosphere Director John Huston and screenwriter Richard Brooks hammered out their story while actually staying at a Key Largo hotel off season. There they heard from witnesses about the Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 which caused over 400 deaths.

Huston personalized the script by making Bogie's character a World War II veteran who had served in the Italian campaign at Battle of San Pietro where Huston himself had served.

Edward G. Robinson became a major star playing a gangster in Little Caesar back in 1930. His character Rocco was modeled on real life gangsters Al Capone and Charles "Lucky" Luciano. At the start of his career he was the lead and Bogart would get killed off before the end. Bogart and Robinson appeared in four films together before this one, Bullets or Ballots (1936), Kid Galahad (1937), The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) and my favorite Brother Orchid (1940).

Director Huston wanted take away the glamour of the gangster and show him for the thug he was.

Bogart's character was tired of war and killing and wanted nothing to do with fighting.

In her autobiography, By Myself, Lauren Bacall recalls Key Largo as "one of the happiest movie experiences. I thought how marvelous a medium the movies were, to enable one to meet, befriend, and work with such people."

Bogart never gave Bacall direction in front of anyone but choose to coach her away from the set telling her don't over act… if someone points a gun at you the audience knows your scared, you don't have to show it.

Robinson later commented on his marquee status in his autobiography (All My Yesterdays): "The journey down. No suspense to this. I didn't even argue. Why not second billing? At fifty-three I was lucky to get any billing at all."

Claire Trevor plays Rocco's alcoholic companion, a character based on Lucky Luciano's mistress, Gay Orlova. Trevor kept asking Huston when could they rehearse her singing, he always answered they had plenty of time. Then one day after lunch he told her to get into costume they were filming the scene. With no practice or warning a piano hit one note and he made her sing it cold – at the end of the song one of the crew said to another – "She's going to win an Oscar for that" – and she did.

This was Lauren Bacall's 5th film, she was 24 years old. Today she is 84 (the sexiest over 80 actress I might add) and since turning 70 she has made 24 films!

Jay Silverheels plays one of the Osceola Indians, he was so good the next year he was cast in the LONE RANGER TV show and would appear in 220 episodes of that show.

Harry Lewis plays the young gangster in the white suit, Edward 'Toots' Bass. Unfortunately his acting career never took off. Poor Harry Lewis and his wife wanted to stay in Hollywood while he looked for more acting work so they opened a restaurant and called it Hamburger Hamlet. He worked occasionally and the restaurant did well so he opened more locations, in 1987 he sold all his restaurants and the name for 33 Million dollars.

Cinematography: Karl Freund (Metropolis, All Quiet on the Western Front, Dir. The Mummy… and was the chief cameraman on I LOVE LUCY) 15) Music: Max Steiner (Citizen Kane, King Kong, Top Hat, Gone With The Wind)

Did I mention the song? The 1981 song "Key Largo", by singer-songwriter Bertie Higgins, draws heavily on influences from the film. This song hit the Top 10 on the pop chart in the United States and went to #1 on the adult contemporary chart.
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9/10
"You were right, when your head says one thing and your whole life says another, your head always loses."
classicsoncall22 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Repeat viewings of "Key Largo" will only enrich your appreciation of it. The superb cast and directing by John Huston make this a must see film for fans of the 1940 classics, particularly fans of stars Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, and Lauren Bacall.

Bogey and Bacall made four films in a space of four years, this being their final appearance together. Bogey's character, retired Army Major Frank McCloud seeks out the family of a war buddy killed in action. He finds Nora Temple (Bacall) and her father James Temple (Lionel Barrymore) as the owners of a seasonal hotel in Key Largo, and comes to realize that all is not quite right in the serene setting. Bogey's response to an inquisitive Nora Temple is about to be tested - "Life on land has become too complicated for my taste".

Edward G. Robinson's appearance as mobster Johnny Rocco is suitably delayed in the film to build suspense, and he breaks on screen with all of his classic nuance - the sneer, the braggadocio, the "What's with you wise guy?" sarcasm. Rocco suffers from a fall from past glory, a time when he was regarded as "the one and only", a virtual emperor of the crime world. Now he's a two bit hoodlum, holed up in a Key Largo hotel, hoping to cash in on a counterfeit money scam. With him are a coterie of henchmen, and an alcoholic moll superbly portrayed by Claire Trevor, earning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance.

Johnny Rocco is desperate to make a mob connection to unload his counterfeit money stash, and refuses to submit to the might of an impending hurricane. Fueling Rocco's desperation is a stoic Bogart - "You don't like it Rocco - the storm; show it your gun why don't ya, if it doesn't stop, shoot it!". Helpless in the face of the coming storm, Rocco's anxiety mounts, and in a tense scene he confronts war hero McCloud by throwing him a gun to force a showdown. But Bogey's not buying it - "One Rocco more or less isn't worth dying for".

In a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation, McCloud must decide to man a boat to Cuba for Rocco's gang to make a getaway. In the one improbable scene of the film, Trevor's Gaye Dawn character secretly maneuvers Rocco's gun away from him and slips it into Bogey's hand, while surrounded by all of the bad guys. How Rocco would not have missed his weapon (until later on the boat) is an element that is not suitably dealt with in the film.

McCloud's resourcefulness while skippering the getaway boat is sheer cunning, taking out one mobster after another with surgical precision. The desperate Johnny Rocco even shoots one of his own men rather than have his authority challenged. McCloud remains silent to Rocco's taunts, causing the gangster to force his own hand and become a target for the heroic McCloud.

As Bogey heads back to port and the hurricane fades, the film ends on a feel good note as Nora Temple opens the shutters of the hotel and the sunlight streams in - all is well in the world again; the symbolism is extraordinary.

Bogey and Robinson appear in four other movies together (Kid Galahad, Brother Orchid, The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, and Bullets or Ballots), but this is the only one in which they share equal footing, Robinson cast in the lead role in the other films over Bogart. For Robinson fans, the Clitterhouse film is a blast and is recommended to see him in an offbeat role.

Another point of interest for film buffs, Jay Silverheels appears in an uncredited role as Tom Osceola, one of the Seminole Indian brothers on the lam from the law in the movie's back story. For an actor as typecast as Silverheels (Tonto in the Lone Ranger), it's always a pleasant surprise and treat to see in an entirely different setting.

"Key Largo" ranks right up there with "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and "The Maltese Falcon", and perhaps just a notch below "Casablanca" among Bogart's finest films, and a true classic worthy of the name.
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7/10
Didn't fill my high expectations, but still better then most of its period.
Diego_rjc20 January 2010
I was overwhelmed when I read the cast and crew for this movie. Another Bogart/Bacall-Bogart/Huston collaboration is alright, but featuring Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore and Claire Trevor also? My expectations were sky-high. And that's the main reason I was a little upset with this picture. My problem was with the story. Although the movie has a good plot, it isn't well-told, and some of things felt out of place. Richard Brooks did a much better job adapting the script of "In Cold Blood" and "Elmer Gantry". I think that's mainly because those are based on novels, and this one is based on a play.

The story is about a WWII veteran (Humphrey Bogart) that goes to the island of Key Largo in Florida to talk with the wife (Lauren Bacall) and father (Lionel Barrymore) of his old-friend from the war. That's when a gangster (Edward G. Robinson) takes control of the place and turns everyone into his hostages. At first, I didn't really get what was that gangster doing in that place, but it's latter explained that he's waiting for a hurricane and needs protection. But why that tiny island? I still don't get this, but alright. This flaw is compensated by one of the best climax I've ever seen in a movie. I'm not gonna spoil it here, but it's great.

About the acting, Bogart did much better jobs in other pictures. This is the final movie with him and Lauren Bacall together, but I prefer their first collaboration in "To Have and Have Not". Edward G. Robinson also gives a great performance, but again, he was better in other movies like "Little Ceaser". In my opinion, the members of the cast that gives the best performances are Lionel Barrymore and Oscar- winning interpretation by Claire Trevor. They are both excellent.

John Huston, as always, does a nice direction, but I prefer much better his masterpiece of the same year "The Treasure of Sierra Madre". That's where Huston proves the great director he is, and Bogart gives an outstanding performance.

Overral, this movie has a fine acting, along with John Huston's direction and an excellent climax, but the bad-told screenplay takes away the good things about it.

7 out of ten.
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10/10
My Favorite Bogart
carflo15 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I have 4 Humphrey Bogart movies in list of favorites: The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The African Queen and Key Largo. I know that compared to the other three, it is considered a "lesser" work, but it is my favorite Bogart.

I am not going to write about the brilliance of all the performances in Key Large: Lionel Barrymore, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, and Claire Trevor. Enough has been said about them all. I wish to concentrate on Bogart and the loneliness of his character in the movie.

Bogart often played damaged characters; i.e., men who had been hurt, badly hurt, at some time in the past. Frank McCloud in Key Largo is one of those characters. He is not a tough guy like Sam Spade or a "sharp" character like Rick. He is a nice man and a very lonely one. Frank has no family, he was an orphan. He was an officer in the war, but the war is over. He has no job, no family and no prospects. He is tired; tired of being alone and tired of the violence of the war.

But Frank has one dream, a borrowed dream. During the war, one of his men often told him stories of his own life with his father and wife and their small hotel in the Florida Keys. It is a tale of family closeness and love, of clean salt air and colorful characters. It is everything Frank has never had in his life. After the war and the death of his friend, Frank has nowhere to go and nothing to look forward to. So he finally drifts to Florida, to this family, to tell them how much he respected and liked his friend.

They, Nora and Father Temple, are very glad to meet Frank. Just as Frank had been told about them, they had been told about Frank in letters sent home from the war.

Into this comes Johnny Rocco and his goons and his moll. Frank is a decorated soldier and a brave man, there are too many innocent lives at stake, Nora and Mr. Temple and even Gaye Dawn, the alcoholic moll. Frank cares about these people, even Gaye, and he does not want them to be hurt and perhaps more than anyone else there, he knows the terrible devastation bullets can wreak on the human body. This sets up the conditions for all the talk while they are trapped by the hurricane. I will not say any more about twists of the plot because I do not want to include spoilers.

Let me just say that in the end, Nora and Father Temple realize that they need Frank as much as Frank needs them. And so Frank is finally able to come home. He finally "has it all ... in Key Largo."
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10/10
Outstanding film noir!
perfectbond4 June 2003
Key Largo is undoubtedly one of the best film noirs and indeed films of any genre. Memorable characters abound in this classic. Bogart, as had become his screen persona, IS the reluctant hero. Edward G. Robinson is unforgettable as arguably the ultimate gangster (though Bogart himself and James Cagney would undoubtedly contest him for the title). Lauren Bacall's role isn't as prominent as in some of the other films she costarred with Bogart but nevertheless she is more than competent. I think Claire Trevor won a best supporting actress for her role as the lush dame in this film. The rest of the supporting cast is also top notch and is unusually memorable for secondary characters. That's a credit to both the screenwriters and the actors. One of my top twenty films of all time, 10/10.
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9/10
"The wind blows so hard the ocean gets up on its hind legs and walks right across the land."
bensonmum210 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
There may be other Bogart/Huston collaborations that are better known and it may not be the first movie people think of when Bogart/Bacall are mentioned, but Key Largo is a fine movie in its own right. Bogart is an Army Captain visiting the wife and father of one of the dead soldiers who served under him. The wife and father run a little hotel on Key Largo. Bogart's not the only guest at the hotel, though. A group of gangsters has decided to hold up there for a while. But the gangsters aren't the only threat to Bogart and the others. A hurricane is blowing on shore that threatens everyone - even the guys with the guns.

Bogart and Bacall are good as ever. Lionel Barrymore is a pleasure to watch. And Claire Trevor's Academy Award was deserving. But I want to spend the rest of this review discussing Edward G. Robinson's performance. Robinson has never been a particular favorite of mine. But, it's difficult not to enjoy him in Key Largo. To be a man of such slight stature, on screen he comes across like a giant. His character, Johnny Rocco, dominates almost every scene - even scenes he's not in. Before we meet Rocco, he's already on of the biggest characters in the movie. All his hired stooges have to do is point to the bedroom door and say something like "He's in there, taking a nap" and Rocco immediately becomes the most important person in the movie. Robinson is amazing to watch as he demonstrates his dominance by threatening everyone (even his own men). But Robinson saves the best for last. As the hurricane hits, he changes and becomes like a frightened child. That Robinson was capable of playing the heavy so convincingly in one scene and the weakling so perfectly in the next is evidence of his wonderful abilities. It's really a joy to behold.
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8/10
Post World War II pessimism !!!
avik-basu188921 May 2017
John Huston's 'Key Largo' is set in a Post World War II America and the film is unapologetic about showcasing the pessimism that had enveloped America and Americans after the war. It's about the loss of a self-respecting identity. This is epitomised by the character of Frank McCloud played by Humphrey Bogart. This is not a very characteristic role for Bogart. McCloud is a war veteran who has now become a homeless drifter due to his lack of interest in a settled life. He is a sane version of Travis Bickle, he might have been a vibrant, hopeful man in his pre-service days, but after coming back from the war and watching an America that has further collapsed into corruption, mob activity and evil, he has slipped into a state of depression and deliberate indifference. Bogart gives a subdued performance with moments of tenderness reminiscent of the tenderness of Rick Blaine in 'Casablanca'. But McCloud also shows signs of selfishness and cowardly reluctance which are a consequence of his pessimism towards life after war. There is an ambiguity to his character that makes him interesting.

Lauren Bacall doesn't give us the quintessential 'Lauren Bacall' performance either. Instead of being the 'Femme fatale' with the seductive allure and the sharp tongue, her character Nora is a sweet, kind-hearted widow taking care of her father-in-law. There are genuinely sweet and charming moments between Bogart and Bacall. Nora's presence and her innocent sweetness has an undeniable effect on McCloud which makes him reconsider his moral stance and contemplate the idea doing something instead of continuing his reluctance about standing up to the gangsters.

Edward G. Robinson is a dynamite in every scene he is in. Johnny Rocco oozes charisma and a sense of control. It takes a lot to be in the same scene with Bogart and go toe to toe with him in terms of exuding authoritativeness, but Robinson does it effortlessly.

Although Huston doesn't use too many attention seeking shots or too much fancy camera work, one can easily see the noir-ish elements in the lighting and prominent shadows in the film. There are some carefully used tracking shots and extreme close-ups for artistic purposes that work perfectly and the film on Blu-Ray looks very pleasing to the eye. Huston's biggest achievement is maintaining a tone of suspense throughout the running time. The staging of 90 percent of the film in the confines of the interiors of Hotel Largo adds to the claustrophobia which the viewer feels along with McCloud, Nora and Temple. The only flaw is that the shootout scenes are very clumsily directed and almost look comical now after all these years.

'Key Largo' is thematically a film which wrestles the idea of whether someone should or shouldn't give a damn even if he/she feels an assertive action doesn't mean much in the bigger picture. A thematically potent core along with good direction and acting make 'Key Largo' an easy recommendation.
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Tension in a Tight Place
dougdoepke8 July 2013
No need to recap the plot.

Maxwell Anderson's stage play shows up pretty well on the big screen, thanks to a powerhouse cast that keeps things moving. Otherwise the action's pretty much confined to a small hotel lobby with a few forays out to the foggy dock. Without the expert histrionics, things in a tight space might get boring. But then, who's got a bigger personality than Robinson when he's playing the gangster kingpin as he is here. He snarls, threatens, cajoles, and pretty well dominates the screen, while Bogie low-keys it as the reluctant idealist, a signature role he perfected in Casablanca (1942).

But you've got to feel a little sorry for Bacall who mostly stands silently around like a loose appendage. Her role looks like an add-on, maybe to please husband Bogart. Of course, it's Trevor who gets the plum distaff role, and she looks the shopworn part to the proverbial 'T'. When she warbles her little ditty, however, her face lights up like girlish innocence restored. And, oh yes, mustn't forget Barrymore who, for once, avoids hamming it up, in a well played part as the hotel owner.

I'm not sure how much of that showdown aboard the boat I buy, but I guess they had to find some resolution. Anyway, the movie manages to generate a lot of claustrophobic suspense, with a crowd of characters coming and going. So bring your scorecard to keep track. In most ways, it's worth it.
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8/10
"Master of the fix"
Steffi_P14 November 2009
Stage-to-screen adaptations are always going to pose problems. Actors have to play it differently, and the strongly visual nature of film has to compensate for theatre's emphasis on dialogue. Counterintuitive as it may seem – since both stage plays and screenplays are essentially just a story told in lines of dialogue and actions – many adaptations from one to the other are not so much a tweaking as a complete overhaul. However, writer and director John Huston's reworking of the Maxwell Anderson play Key Largo apparently had more to do with changing the political slant. It still contains the small number of locations and lengthy dialogue scenes of a typical stage production. Instead, it is the way Huston stages the action, and the solid performances of the cast that make this workable for the screen.

Huston had an expert handling of foreground and background, and he often used it to preserve the length of the shot. For example, in the scene where we first meet Lauren Bacall, rather than change angle to a mid-shot of her, she appears in the background, and then walks towards the camera without a cut. Shots like these keep the action flowing smoothly, especially in these more relaxed early scenes. Despite the sometimes highly elaborate long takes, Huston rarely moves the camera, and those moves that are made neatly follow the action and are never obtrusive. What is obtrusive is the positioning of actors within the shot – sometimes almost bizarre arrangements of people, with close-ups overhanging the edges of the frame. This puts the focus on the actors in a way that is very intense and exaggerated – like our experience of a stage play can be.

The cast of Key Largo is predictable but worthy. Humphrey Bogart plays the same taciturn, grudgingly-moral lead man that had been his type since the Maltese Falcon. The twist here is that for most of the picture he is an inactive hero, a mere observer, yet one who is constantly thinking and emoting. As such it's one of his more satisfying performances. Lauren Bacall is plainer here than in her previous pairings with Bogie, although I guess to have made her the sultry seductress would have seemed a touch indelicate, given that she is playing his buddy's widow. Edward G. Robinson plays a mob boss yet again, and I'm sorry to say this is him at his most average.

As to the supporting players, we see Lionel Barrymore at his most restrained and subtle, although perhaps he was by now too frail to be so vigorously hammy. Claire Trevor was the picture's only Oscar nominee (and indeed winner), for a performance that is notable but overacted. For the record, my vote for Best Supporting Actress that year would have gone to Ellen Corby in I Remember Mama. Finally, an honourable mention goes to silent screen veteran Monte Blue, who is quite impressive in his brief role as the sheriff.

While the unevenness of the cast can be overlooked, the one thing I feel really threatens to spoil Key Largo is the score by Max Steiner. He horrendously overworks the dramatic moments with blaring melodramatic arrangements, inappropriate for both the scope and tone of the picture. And the stereotypical "Red Indian" theme he gives to the scene where we meet the natives is just an embarrassment. Steiner's failure to "get" Key Largo is sadly indicative of a recurring problem in post-war Hollywood. As the studio system began to crumble and the smart producers of the previous decades began to die out, there were no guarantees on having a tight consistent team.
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8/10
Sailing Away To Key Largo
Lechuguilla4 October 2007
What would 1940's American cinema be without Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall? It's a rhetorical question of course. But in this 1940's Bogie and Bacall classic, their presence is almost overshadowed by the combined talents of Claire Trevor, Lionel Barrymore, and the inimitable Edward G. Robinson. What a cast!

Their story, about being stranded in a quaint, isolated, Florida hotel with high ceilings and ceiling fans during a hurricane is well known. Most film buffs regard "Key Largo" highly, partly because of its star power, partly because of the ingenious story, but also because of the excellent high contrast B&W lighting that gives the visuals an Expressionistic cinematic style. When the electricity goes out, and the only source of lighting in the Largo Hotel is the oil lamps, the film oozes a wonderfully noir atmosphere. The howling wind outside, combined with the threatening presence of gangsters inside adds a strange mix of tension and danger.

Bogie plays Frank McCloud, a WWII military man who seems to have lost his courage; he's now branded a coward. It's a tough position to be in when you're in the presence of a gangster like Johnny Rocco. When Rocco demands that McCloud helm the boat, to take the gangsters to Cuba, McCloud's courage is tested again.

The film's acting is terrific. Claire Trevor deservedly won an Oscar for her performance as Gaye Dawn, the has-been nightclub singer and companion of Johnny Rocco. Thomas Gomez is great as Rocco's sidekick, Curly. But my personal favorite performance is Lionel Barrymore, as wheelchair-bound James Temple, the crusty and amiable owner of the Largo Hotel. That he is confined to a wheelchair adds immensely to the depth of his character.

The only weakness in the story is the subplot about the Seminole Indians. That element seems awkward and out of place. Also, the film's nondescript background music is too loud and intrusive. And it tends to be manipulative, not unlike other noir films of that era.

Those issues aside, "Key Largo" is the perfect movie to watch late at night during a thunderstorm. The film has a ton of cinematic atmosphere. It proceeds at a pleasantly slow, lazy pace. And it's got some of the greatest actors of that era, including Bogie and Bacall.
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8/10
Good drama
preppy-311 November 2006
Key Largo is a remote island off the coast of Florida. It's connected to the mainland by a concrete causeway. Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) goes there to visit the father of a dead army buddy. He meets him (Lionel Barrymore) and his buddies widow (Lauren Bacall). He also discovers criminal Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) is holed up there with his gang and alcoholic girlfriend (Claire Trevor). A hurricane hits and they're all stranded on the island together...and Johnny and his gang have guns and nasty tempers...

Bogart and Bacall's last movie together and a good one too. This was based on a play and it sometimes shows. Characters tend to give long speeches explaining who they are and their motivations. Still it's well-written and acted and beautifully directed by John Huston. When the hurricane hits the special effects are actually pretty good with cool sound effects too.

The acting is (with one exception) good. Bogart seemed incapable of giving a bad performance and he's just great here. Robinson doesn't show up until nearly 30 minutes in--but you always know he's there. He's OK but I think he played the gangster role once too often. Barrymore is given little to do but he is good. Trevor is superb in her small role--she understandably won a Best Supporting Actress award for this. Surprisingly Bacall is terrible! She's stone faced throughout and gives a bad performance. Maybe she didn't click with the director (Huston was not known for his tact and tended to be a screamer).

Still it's a good solid drama--worth catching. I give it an 8.
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Three screen legends: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall
Stanley Strangelove22 April 2006
See the screen legends of Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson and Lauren Bacall in one film, not to mention great Lionel Barrymore and Claire Trevor.

The film is directed like a stage play with basically one set, the hotel on Key Largo, but it's not static or dull in the least.

Robinson's villain gangster Johnny Rocco is one of his most memorable performances and he steals the movie.

Robinson and his "boys" are hold-up in a hotel on Key Largo awaiting the arrival of some business associates when a hurricane hits. The hotel is owned by Barrymore and his daughter Bacall. Bogart is there to give Barrymore some possessions of his son who was killed in the war.

Bogart plays a returning WWII veteran and Bacall is the daughter of the hotel owner Barrymore. The film isn't a love story but you can still tell that Bacall adores Bogie and their chemistry is obvious. Bacall is lighted beautifully to show off her outstanding facial features.

A top rate drama full of crackling dialog and superb performances from everyone.
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