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Author Topic: Key Largo (1948)  (Read 2587 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« on: March 26, 2012, 12:50:33 AM »

Just saw Key Largo (1948) on TCM. 7.5/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040506/

Directed by John Huston.

Cast (courtesy of imdb)

Humphrey Bogart    ...   Frank McCloud
    Edward G. Robinson    ...   Johnny Rocco
    Lauren Bacall    ...   Nora Temple
    Lionel Barrymore    ...   James Temple
    Claire Trevor    ...   Gaye Dawn
    Thomas Gomez    ...   Richard 'Curly' Hoff
    Harry Lewis    ...   Edward 'Toots' Bass
    John Rodney    ...   Deputy Clyde Sawyer
    Marc Lawrence    ...   Ziggy
    Dan Seymour    ...   Angel Garcia
    Monte Blue    ...   Sheriff Ben Wade

Plot synopsis: War hero Frank McCloud visits the family of a soldier who had been killed while serving under him in the war, to pay his respects to the deceased's widow, Nora Temple, and father, James Temple. The Temples own a hotel in Key Largo, Florida, which is closed for the summer season. But when McCloud shows up, he discovers that gangster Johnny Rocco and his mob have taken over the hotel, as a hurricane approaches the island.

-- In a movie featuring Bogie, Robinson, Bacall, and Barrymore, the only Oscar nomination -- and win -- went to Claire Trevor as Best Supporting Actress, for her role as Robinson's washed-up alcoholic girlfriend. (This was the only Oscar win for Trevor, who was nominated two additional times for Best Supporting Actress: Dead End (1937), and The High and The Mighty (1954))

-- The acting was very solid all around, as would be expected from this cast

-- Bogie's character has similarities to Rick Blaine in Casablanca

-- The plot has similarities to The Petrified Forest (1936), which featured Bogie as the gangster

« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 06:13:32 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 06:32:36 PM »

Its good but not one of my favorites. Its one of those visually uninteresting Noirs, its all taking place in a hotel most of the time so a big part of what I enjoy in a Noir is missing. There is no atmosphere whatsoever. Now if it had actually been shot in the Keys and had had location shots say The Florida East Coast Railway or of highway A1A and the Keys getting slammed by a hurricane along with Bogart Robinson et al.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overseas_Railroad

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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 08:36:14 PM »

precisely. but if you are like me and don't worry about noir shit and just enjoy good crime dramas, this is a fun movie

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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 08:44:04 PM »

precisely. but if you are like me and don't worry about noir shit and just enjoy good crime dramas, this is a fun movie

The "Noir Shit" is the visual art and if they have both that and drama they are 10/10

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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 09:01:14 PM »

The "Noir Shit" is the visual art and if they have both that and drama they are 10/10

I meant "shit" as in "stuff," not as in "crap"

but I think you are giving your interest in drama too much credit; I mean, if i recall correctly, you gave The Set-Up a 10/10, and that is a 100% noir's noir with the visuals, but not a very interesting story. And Out of the Past and Ace in the Hole you didn't like nearly as much, cuz they are not noir-enough for you, though they are both infinitely more interesting stories than eg. The Set Up.  I think that for you, 9/10 is for visuals and 1/10 (at BEST) is for story.

(the SLWB spends more time discussing the definition of noir than every other subject combined. I get a kick out of it  Wink Maybe just make a thread called "ONCE AND FOR ALL, HOW DO YOU DEFINE FILM NOIR?" and aggregate all your previous thougts, rather than bits n' pieces in the thread of various individual noirs [or not-noir enoughs  Wink])


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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 03:53:05 AM »

I meant "shit" as in "stuff," not as in "crap"

but I think you are giving your interest in drama too much credit; i mean, if i recall correctly, you gave The Set-Up a 10/10, and that is a 100% noir's noir with the visuals, but not a very interesting story. And Out of the Past and Ace in the Hole you didn't like nearly as much, cuz they are not noir-enough for you, though they are both infinitely more interesting stories than eg. The Set Up.  I think that for you, 9/10 is for visuals and 1/10 (at BEST) is for story.

(the SLWB spends more time discussing the definition of noir than every other subject combined. I get a kick out of it  Wink Maybe just make a thread called "ONCE AND FOR ALL, HOW DO YOU DEFINE FILM NOIR?" and aggregate all your previous thougts, rather than bits n' pieces in the thread of various individual noirs [or not-nour enoughs  Wink])

I think that is because the definition is evolving as I go and see more Film Noir. I think this is the latest:  Afro

It would almost be better to say that, rather than call these films a genre call them a style/tool of film making used in certain film/plot sequences or for a films entirety that was used to conveyed claustrophobia, alienation, obsession, and events spiraling out of control, that came to fruition in the roughly the period of the last two and a half decades of B&W film.

Then you can say we have this Film Noir Style that can have two opposite poles one would be Films de la nuit, Films of the night, or Films de la nuit éternelle, Films of the eternal night, the opposite would be Films Soleil, films of the sun, those sun baked, filled with light Noirs, then all the rest would fit in the spectrum in between being various shades of grey or Films Gris. No? ;-)




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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 04:25:23 AM »

I think that is because the definition is evolving as I go and see more Film Noir. I think this is the latest:  Afro

It would almost be better to say that, rather than call these films a genre call them a style/tool of film making used in certain film/plot sequences or for a films entirety that was used to conveyed claustrophobia, alienation, obsession, and events spiraling out of control, that came to fruition in the roughly the period of the last two and a half decades of B&W film.

Then you can say we have this Film Noir Style that can have two opposite poles one would be Films de la nuit, Films of the night, or Films de la nuit éternelle, Films of the eternal night, the opposite would be Films Soleil, films of the sun, those sun baked, filled with light Noirs, then all the rest would fit in the spectrum in between being various shades of grey or Films Gris, and Chinatown is a Film Noir. No? ;-)




Just added 6 words and you've got the perfect definition!

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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 04:32:10 AM »

Just added 6 words and you've got the perfect definition!

Under that def as a style and leaning towrds Films Soleil/Film Gris, oui,  yes  Wink

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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 07:18:20 AM »

Wink

Anyway, I like the definition.

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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2015, 06:33:04 AM »

Just saw the movie again, I am upping it to an 8/10

With stars Bogie and Robinson, Bogie was billed first (i.e. to the left,) then Robinson in middle with his name raised, then Bacall on the right. So do you consider "top billing" to the one on the left or the raised one in middle? They specifically did it this way to sort of have co-equal billing.
From wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_Largo_%28film%29#Production

Robinson had top billing over Bogart in their four previous films together: Bullets or Ballots (1936), Kid Galahad (1937), The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938) and Brother Orchid (1940). For this movie, however, Robinson's name appears to the right of Bogart's, but placed a little higher on the posters, and also in the film's opening credits, to indicate Robinson's near-equal status. Robinson's image was also markedly larger and centered on the original poster, with Bogart relegated to the background. In the film's trailer, Bogart is repeatedly mentioned first but Robinson's name is listed above Bogart's in a cast list at the end.

Robinson definitely has the juicier role, as the gangster. I didn't really like Claire Trevor's performance; she won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actress. That role of the over-the-hill dame, who was once pretty but has her best days way behind her, now just a drunk, that's a pretty damn common character, though when done well it can be pretty good. But Trevor is a real whiner here basically just spends the movie begging for a drink. A very memorable scene where she is forced to sing, but overall I really didn't think much of her performance.

Where this movie screws up a little is the few times it does moralizing. Like, the speechifying about whether "one Johnny Rocco more or less is worth dying for ..." I really don't need that moralizing shit.
I also think there are a few other places the script could have been fixed up:
A) It makes no sense why Robinson doesn't kill the cop who comes to the hotel after the hurricane. He's already killed one cop in front of many witnesses, one more won't matter, and leaving him alive only risks that he'll recognize him as Johnny Rocco.

B) When Robinson kills the first cop, he could have merely told him the gun was empty and then the cop would have put the gun down instead of trying to escape. The fact that he didn't tell the cop the gun was empty makes it seem as if he wanted to kill the cop. But that is inconsistent with Bogie's speech from a few minutes before, about how Robinson wouldn't kill Bacall in front of witnesses. He wouldn't kill a civilian but he would kill a cop? The moment works for the tension, cuz we don't know that the gun is unloaded, but it woulda been better if they'd have cut that line by Bogie explaining why Robinson doesn't want to kill anyone in front of witnesses.

C) On the boat to Cuba, Thomas Gomez (in a very good performance as Curly) asks Robinson if it was smart to leave Claire Trevor behind, for there is a risk she might call the cops and report Ziggy & Co. (the gangsters who came down from Miami) out of spite. But whether or not Trevor calls the cops, there is no doubt that all the "good guys" at the hotel, like Barrymore and Bacall, are gonna call the cops! Why only wonder if Trevor might call ... there is zero doubt that the others will call!

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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2015, 12:29:00 PM »

Quote
C) On the boat to Cuba, Thomas Gomez (in a very good performance as Curly) asks Robinson if it was smart to leave Claire Trevor behind, for there is a risk she might call the cops and report Ziggy & Co. (the gangsters who came down from Miami) out of spite. But whether or not Trevor calls the cops, there is no doubt that all the "good guys" at the hotel, like Barrymore and Bacall, are gonna call the cops! Why only wonder if Trevor might call ... there is zero doubt that the others will call!

Maybe because she can more accurately identify them, I don't recall if Ziggy & Co. had actual names or aliases. 

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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2015, 07:18:22 PM »

Yeah, that's a good point, CJ.

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