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
The film was produced in 1948, the same year in which there actually were two major hurricanes, late in the season, less than a month apart, that went directly through the Florida Keys. (See Hurricanes #7 and #8 of 1948) See more »
Frank, Nora, Mr. Temple and the gangsters are in the hotel's big hall (which is downstairs) when the phone rings, Curly takes it, and then they draw their guns. Then comes a brief dialogue between Rocco and Curly, but when we return to the party, we see them in a little living room upstairs, without having knowledge of them being carried there.(Perhaps intentionally made by the producer). See more »
Hey Curly, what all happens in a hurricane?
The wind blows so hard the ocean gets up on its hind legs and walks right across the land.
And singin' this song: Rain rain, go away, little Ralphie wants to play.
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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.
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