Wednesday, January 12, 2011

#159. Key Largo (1948)

DVD Synopsis: A hurricane swells outside, but it's nothing compared to the storm within the hotel at Key Largo. There, sadistic mobster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) holes up – and holds at gunpoint hotel owner Nora Temple (Lauren Bacall), her invalid father-in-law (Lionel Barrymore) and ex-GI Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart). McCloud's the one man capable of standing up against the belligerent Rocco. But the postwar world's realities may have taken all the fight out of him.

The first time I saw Key Largo was on television back in 1984, on a day I was home sick from school (it was one of those rare times I wasn't faking it). Well, as I sat watching this film, I got so caught up in it's energetic dialogue that I completely forget about my illness. I guess Key Largo was the perfect remedy for whatever it was that was ailing me that day!

Along with being the fourth and final pairing of Bogie with real-life wife, Lauren Bacall, Key Largo also marked the fifth collaboration between Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, a fact that goes a long way in explaining why the banter between the two is so sharp. In a key scene, Bogart's McCloud is filling everyone in on the criminal history of Johnny Rocco (Robinson's character), explaining how “big” Rocco was in the rackets during prohibition. McCloud then looks at Rocco and says he knows exactly what the gangster wants out of life: more. Upon hearing this, Rocco’s eyes light up. He does indeed want more, and realizes that ‘more’ is all he ever wanted. A bit taken aback by McCloud’s accuracy, Rocco responds, “OK, smart guy, what is it you want out of life?” to which McCloud replies, “To live in a world where there’s no room for Johnny Rocco”.
Key Largo is chock full of spirited give and take such as this, and, thanks to it's veteran cast, the clever dialogue never misses it's mark.

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anthonyleecollins said...

And we should mention Claire Trevor, who won a well-deserved Oscar for her performance.

Dave Becker said...

Anthony: Absolutely! Hers was yet another great performance in a film chock full of them.

Robert M. Lindsey said...

I've found I love everything Claire Trevor does.

Dave B. said...

Robert: Thanks for the comment! And I'm with you...Claire Trevor is excellent.