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 the Osceola Brothers and a deputy sheriff start to motivate McCloud to overcome his Hamlet-like inaction.Written by
John Huston's scapegoat on the production was Harry Lewis. The inexperienced actor wasn't very good, and Huston browbeat him mercilessly to get a performance out of him. But Lewis would later say Huston was the only director who ever really worked with him. The character's loud clothes and high-pitched laugh were ideas from Huston that helped Lewis register on screen as he never would again. See more »
After Frank shoots Rocco, Rocco collapses onto the deck with his gun under him. When Frank climbs down from above we see Rocco's gun laying on the deck in front of him. See more »
[Rocco is showing strain at the height of the hurricane's force]
You don't like it, do you Rocco, the storm? Show it your gun, why don't you? If it doesn't stop, shoot it.
See more »
At the southernmost point of the United States are the Florida Keys, a string of small islands held together by a concrete causeway. Largest of these remote coral islands is Key Largo. See more »
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.
74 of 97 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this