Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Key Largo


Key Largo is a classic black and white thriller, set on one of the Florida Keys during the hurricane season. The cast is outstanding, with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson and Claire Trevor. I enjoyed it.

The story is straightforward. Bogey drops in at a hotel on Key Largo, to see the owner and his daughter, having fought alongside the owner's late son during the war. It's apparent that Bogey was a war hero, but he gives the impression that his colleague, Temple, was the heroic one. And this idea of heroiosm is a key element in the story. At some points, Bogey's character appears weak and irresolute. But the viewer is always optimistic that he will in the end assert himself - and that's a tribute to the iconic actor's powerful character.

A supposed fishing party, whose members are rather disagreeable, is staying at the hotel. It turns out that they are a gang of crooks, led by Johnny Rocco - played by Edward G. Robinson. The battle of wills between Robinson and Bogart is as compelling as the chemistry between Bacall and Bogart.

A word for Claire Trevor, who plays a drunken former nightclub singer. She puts in a very good performance, and plays a crucial part in the story-line. The story is sound, but it's the acting, and the powerful personalities of the actors, that make this movie memorable.

8 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Ahhhh, truly a film classic! Outstanding performances and characters...

seana said...

I don't know if I saw the whole thing or just the beginning of the storm sequence. In any case it was a great, atmospheric movie.

Ed Gorman said...

Claire Trevor was almost always good and she's certainly good here. But for me Edward G. Robinson carried a lot of the film.

kathy d. said...

I was on a Bogart and Bacall kick last year and rewatched the movies they made together.

Key Largo is a terrific movie for many reasons, especially the cast.

The confrontations between Bogart and Robinson are just stellar.

One film to watch every few years or so and know what good movie-making was about.

anthony stemke said...

This was a great film, great talent and a great plot.
I haven't seen it in thirty years but remember it vividly.

John said...

Over the years the more crime dramas and westerns I watch the more I admire the work of Claire Trevor. For an impressive show of her range watch Born to Kill and The Desperadoes back to back. She's also terrific in >Murder My Sweet and Stagecoach. I love her.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for your comments. A widely admired film, for sure.
I must seek out more Claire Trevor films

pattinase (abbott) said...

Claire Trevor didn't get enough credit for turning second female leads into something special. The atmosphere here really carries the plot.