6.7/10
1,073
19 user 3 critic

The Key (1958)

During WW2, successive tug boat British captains sent on dangerous salvage missions pass-on the key to a home-port apartment where a lonely Swiss-Italian young war-widow lives.

Director:

Carol Reed

Writers:

Jan de Hartog (novel), Carl Foreman
Reviews

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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Each night she was warm and waiting for him...and then one night she drew him gently to her...calling him softly by another man's name. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 September 1958 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Stella See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gary Cooper was Carl Foreman's first choice for the lead. See more »

Goofs

(at 00:15) the salvaged cargo ship is white but while towed we suddenly see the black bow of another ship under the name "Wave Knight" being towed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in McCullin (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Flat Foot Floogie
(uncredited)
Music by Slim Gaillard and Slam Stewart
Lyrics by Bud Green
Sung by the chorus girls
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very Unusual Story
13 June 2008 | by whpratt1See all my reviews

This film tells the story about Tug Boats being utilized by England during 1941 in order to try and salvage damaged ships which were hit by German U Boats. David Ross, (William Holden) is an American assigned to one of these Tugs which are poorly armed, with guns that do not function when needed. David has not been on a tug in over ten years and meets up with an old chum named Capt. Chris Ford, (Trevor Howard) who shares an apartment with a very attractive gal named Stella, (Sophia Loren) who seems to like Tug Boat Captains as she has had many Captains who have died once she gives them a key to her apartment. The story makes a complete turn when Chris gives David a key to the apartment and that is when the trouble starts to happen. There is plenty of action, drama and romance. Great film with an outstanding story and Sophia Loren looked great at the age of 24 years. WOW


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