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
As Frank and Nora are returning from tying up the boat, you can see the water lapping against the backdrop behind them (audience right). See more »
Sheriff Ben Wade:
[to the driver after pulling over a bus]
Hi, Ben. What gives?
Sheriff Ben Wade:
We're lookin' for a couple Indians broke out of jail. Young bucks in fancy shirts. If you see anything of 'em, telephone my office at Palm Grove.
[after the sheriff and deputy leave, he turns to Frank McCloud in the first passenger seat]
Those Indians they're lookin' for must be from around here. They always head for home.
Home being Key Largo.
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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 »
Key Largo's approximately may favorite movie, give or take an Apocalypse Now here or a Casablanca there. Bogart is a WWII vet paying a visit to the widow (Bacall) & father (Barrymore) of a dead soldier, late under Bogie's command.
Crooks have taken over the hotel for a week during this tourist off-season, evidently awaiting a fellow mug who'll relieve the gang of its stash, counterfeit money. Edw. G. Robinson is Johnny Rocco, gang executive, who's now back in the USA illegally, years after he was deported.
Movie is a great study in the breakdown of group relations: gang members @each other's throats; aimless Bogie's ambiguous relations with Bacall & Barrymore characters. All while anticipating the hurricane.
Along the way, Bacall realizes that Bogie character was the real hero of the battle, not her late husband. & They realize that Rocco was deported years ago. Review the scene where hoods tease Pop Temple ("Stand your ground!"): Barrymore had been disabled with arthritis for years when the scene calls for him to get up, take a swing @Rocco, & fall down. Also note simmering disdain betw. Ziggy & Rocco ("No more blasting away at each other!"). It's pretty intense cinema.
Anybody notice that the shootout on the boat is more or less a recreation of the battle on that hill in Italy?: Bogie alone, against the forces of evil. The last scene, with Bacall throwing open the curtains, is still a tearjerker for me.
Stellar cast includes Thomas Gomez as Curly ("Hotel Central. We're all together."), Harry Lewis as Toots ("It's guaranteed for life."), the incredible Claire Trevor as gang moll Gay Dawn ("How 'bout a drink? It'll help chase the blues away."), Monte "Ming the Merciless" Blue as Sheriff Wade, & Dan Seymour as Angel: he was also the doorkeeper @Rick's in Casablanca. Jay Silverheels (Tonto in the TV series The Lone Ranger) is Tom Osceola.
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