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The Key (1958)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 755 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

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

The tug used in the film was HMS Restive (HMT W 39), a Royal Navy Rescue Tug of the Assurance class. This class of tugs was built between 1940 and 1943. With a 1350 horsepower engine, these tugs could make 14 knots and were powerful enough to haul just about any capital ship back to port. Five (out of twenty-one built) were lost during the war. The ship numbers used in the film (W 83, W 86 and W 88) were not used by any ship of this class during the war. See more »

Goofs

Chris accidentally drenches his shirt in red wine. But in the next shot his undershirt is clean and dry, with no sign of inevitable wine stains. See more »

Soundtracks

The First Noel
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by a vocal group at the air raid shelter
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Neglected Masterwork
6 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An extraordinary movie in every way, from the combat scenes, which are so lifelike as virtually to constitute a documentary, to the superb acting by every single member of the cast, including each of the supporting players. But the very highest praise must go to Sophia Loren's absolutely stunning performance (not to mention her uncanny command of English at so early an age). Her quiet, dignified, and restrained interpretation of her very unusual and extremely demanding role is simply in a class by itself. I have never been able to get her graceful performance out of my mind. This is one of those movies of great merit, bewitched from the start, that simply disappear from public and critical consciousness---never to be recalled or mentioned even when, for example, the careers of Loren, Holden, or Trevor Howard are discussed. It is as if it were never made at all. A great shame.


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