REEL 13
Classics

Key Largo

Key Largo

Key Largo

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. John Huston co-wrote and compellingly directs this film of Maxwell Anderson’s 1939 play with a searing Academy Award-winning performance by Claire Trevor as Rocco’s gold-hearted, boozy moll. In Huston’s hands, it becomes a powerful, sweltering classic.

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  • ant li

    Perhaps Richard Pena could explain what “HUAC” or whatever he said this was an allegory of at the end, for the benefit of those who missed his remarks at the beginning?

  • alan

    Fantastic film, “searing” is right. But what does Neal Gabler mean that it may be a metaphor for HUAC? This is liberal self-righteousness ad absurdum. Your own summary says the play was written years before HUAC investigated Hollywood Communists. This is a story about good and evil and about how good must defeat evil if civilization is to survive. Substitute bin Laden for Johnny Rocco when Claire Trevor says, “Nobody on earth is safe while he’s alive,” and there you have it. Please let us enjoy good movies without the left-liberal spin and nonsense.

  • Steven John Bosch

    I don’t know about HUAC in regard to Key Largo. I had thought it drew some of its theme from the Senate investigations of organized crime. During the war, gangsters like Lucky Luciano guaranteed his “organization” would secure the docks against saboteurs in exchange for freedom to operate the loan sharking and other rackets that would keep the longshoremen and other waterfront unions in line. This was a world away from the days of Prohibition when Johnny Rocco operated high, wide and handsome. If he had gotten back to the mainland, he might have wound up dead, an embarrassment to the sophisticated mobsters who operated with the consent of industry leaders who wanted the riff raft kept in line.

  • Michael Nagin

    What is HUAC? The House on Un-American Activities? Since I didn’t see the introduction I am not sure how this film has ties to that time. As far as one of the comments about left liberal spin, this is a complete laugh. Tired of all this crap about the media has this kind of slant. It’s time to recognize where the real spin is coming from and that is the right wing conservative press that is so prevalent these days. Take a look at most media giants and then tell me that they are left leaning. It’s a joke.

  • Bill H

    How is “Key Largo” a metaphor from the HUAC hearings? That’s beyond a stretch. And brings to mind this “crossover” from the 1960s:GUY 1 “So, what do you think about the Indianapolics 500?” GUY 2:”They’re all innocent!”