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
Apart from the opening shots, the movie was filmed entirely at Warner Bros. Studio head Jack L. Warner - still reeling from the cost of shooting John Huston's previous film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), on location - refused to approve any more location filming for the director. The pier scenes were filmed using the studio tank with miniature boats in the background to give an illusion of depth. The shipboard shots at the end were also filmed using the studio tank, with fog used to mask the artifice. See more »
Mr. Temple describes fairly accurately the hurricane that struck the Florida Keys on September 2, 1935. However, his description of the death toll ("800 people washed out to sea") is about double that of the official toll of 408. See more »
A relief train was dispatched from Miami. The barometer was down to about 26 inches when that train pulled into Homestead. Engineer backed his string of empty coaches into the danger zone... and the hurricane hit. Knocked those coaches right off the track. Two hundred miles an hour, that wind blew. A tidal wave twelve feet high went right across the Key. Whole towns were wiped out. Miles and miles of track were ripped up... and washed away. Nothing was left. More than five hundred bodies were ...
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 »
Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »
Florida Storm Takes Place of Neon Lights in Huston's Noir Classic
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
28 of 39 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this