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The Key (1958)

6.7
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During World War II, tug boats conduct what are called salvage missions - picking up disabled ships. Not well equipped with weaponry, the tugs are sitting ducks for enemy fire. As such, the... See full summary »

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Title: The Key (1958)

The Key (1958) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Capt. Chris Ford
Oskar Homolka ...
Capt. Van Dam (as Oscar Homolka)
Kieron Moore ...
Kane
...
Cmdr. Wadlow
Beatrix Lehmann ...
Housekeeper
Noel Purcell ...
Hotel Porter
Bryan Forbes ...
Weaver
Sidney Vivian ...
Grogan
Rupert Davies ...
Baker
Russell Waters ...
Sparks
Irene Handl ...
Clerk
John Crawford ...
American Captain
Jameson Clark ...
English Captain
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Storyline

During World War II, tug boats conduct what are called salvage missions - picking up disabled ships. Not well equipped with weaponry, the tugs are sitting ducks for enemy fire. As such, the crew working the tugs have precarious lives, many with deep seated emotional problems. Before the Americans join the war, ex-American military man David Ross is assigned to captain a tug for the British military. He is shown the ropes by an old friend, Captain Chris Ford. Chris currently shares a flat with a young beautiful Italian-Swiss woman named Stella, who came with the flat and who lives a reclusive life there. Chris is the latest in a long line of tug boat captains who have lived there, each who has found another person to take over the flat and the associated looking after of Stella if anything is to happen to him. That person is given a key to the flat, the key only to be used if needed. The first in the series was Phillip Westerby, to who Stella was to be married before Phillip was killed... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He had the life expectancy of a match...

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 September 1958 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Stella  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Finnish censorship visa register # 49357. See more »

Soundtracks

Lambeth Walk
(uncredited)
Music by Noel Gay
Lyrics by Douglas Furber
Sung by the customers at the dance hall
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unusual war story with a romantic slant, Sophia Loren as 'unglamorous' woman of convenience...
27 March 2009 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

Jan de Hartog's novel "Stella" becomes interesting, erratic, uneven WWII battle story mixed with romantic melodrama. William Holden, an American sergeant with the Canadian Army (!), is transferred to England to captain a rescue-tugboat in U-boat-infested Atlantic waters; the job inadvertently comes with a flat and a resident girl (Sophia Loren, an Italian by way of Switzerland!). Carol Reed directs the shipboard battle sequences well, but there's too much intricate detail (bombs going off, waves rocking the ships, crews scrambling the decks) that one loses sight of the main characters. Holden has some wonderful moments early on--fearful of his new position, nervous about his first day on the job--and his gaining respect from his men is one of the highlights of the picture. Loren has much less to work with...and in much less time; every so often she has a frightening premonition, or she's cooking, cleaning, or getting out of the tub. The bit with the apartment key near the end (passing it along before a treacherous assignment) is pure balderdash, and even talented Holden can't make the final scenes work. Very nice cinematography from Oswald Morris, sumptuous scoring by Malcolm Arnold; yet, overall, the picture is a minor one. ** from ****


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