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Key Largo Movie: All About This American Film Noir Crime Drama!

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Key Largo is an American crime drama from 1948. Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, and Lauren Bacall star in the movie, which was directed by John Huston. Lionel Barrymore and Claire Trevor are in the supporting cast. Richard Brooks and John Huston took the same-named play by Maxwell Anderson from 1939 and turned it into a movie. Bogart and Bacall worked together in four movies: To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1950), and Key Largo (1947). Claire Trevor won the 1948 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Gaye Dawn, a former nightclub singer who had been drinking too much.

The Story of The Key Largo Movie

Frank McCloud, a former soldier in the Army, goes to the Hotel Largo in Key Largo, Florida, to see the family of George Temple, a friend who served with him and died in the Italian campaign many years ago. He meets with the widow of his friend’s, Nora Temple, and his hotel-owning father, James. Since the winter vacation season is over and a hurricane is coming, there are only six people staying at the hotel: Toots, Curly, Ralph, Angel, Gaye Dawn, an attractive but old alcoholic, and a sixth man who stays in his room. The people say that they are in the Florida Keys to fish.

Frank tells Nora and James about how brave George was when he was in danger. He also tells them some small but important things that George had told him. Nora and her father-in-law seem to like Frank. They say that George’s letters often talk about Frank.

Sheriff Ben Wade and his deputy Sawyer come to stop the three from getting the hotel ready for the storm. They are looking for two American Indians named Osceola who have run away. As soon as the police leave, the Seminoles in the area, including the Osceola brothers, run to the hotel for safety.

key largo movie

As the storm gets closer, Curly, Ralph, Angel, and Toots pull guns and take the Temples and Frank hostage. Johnny Rocco, a gangster sent to Cuba years ago, is reportedly their sixth quiet member. Rocco is waiting for his contacts in Miami to come so that he can make a deal. The gang finds Deputy Sawyer wandering around, and they catch him. A tense standoff ensues. Frank declines to fight a duel with Rocco, stating his belief in self-preservation over heroics and that “one Rocco more or less isn’t worth dying for”. Rocco shoots Sawyer, and his men row his body out to sea in a storm and drop it.

As the storm rages outside, Rocco makes Gaye, who used to be his mistress, sing for them. He then talks badly about her. In contrast, Frank politely gives her the promised drink and ignores Rocco’s slaps. Nora knows that Frank is just as brave as her husband, who died in Italy near Monte Cassino. Nora is interested in the idea that Mr. Temple wants Frank to live with them at the hotel.

The storm finally subsides. When Sheriff Wade goes back to look for Deputy Sawyer, he finds his body washed up on the hotel driveway by the storm. Rocco goes outside and tells the Sheriff that Sawyer’s death is the fault of the Osceola brothers. Wade comes up to them and kills them both. He then takes Sawyer’s body and leaves. Ziggy, who is Rocco’s contact, comes to buy a lot of fake money. Then, Rocco makes Frank, who is an experienced sailor, take him and his men back to Cuba on the small hotel boat. As the group gets ready to get on the boat, Gaye steals Rocco’s gun and gives it to Frank in secret.

Out in the Straits of Florida, Frank kills each member of the gang one by one using his skills as a sailor, some tricks, and the stolen gun. He returns to Key Largo to call the Coast Guard and send a message to the hotel. Gaye tells Wade Rocco killed Deputy Sawyer. Wade tells Gaye and him that Ziggy’s gang has been caught.

The phone rings: James and Nora are glad Frank is safe. Nora opens the blinds to let the sun in, while Frank steers the boat toward shore out at sea.

key largo movie

Cast Of Key Largo Movie

  • Maj. Frank McCloud was played by Humphrey Bogart.
  • Edward G. Robinson as Howard Brown/Johnny Rocco
  • Lauren Bacall as Nora Temple
  • James Temple is played by Lionel Barrymore.
  • As Gaye, Claire Trevor Dawn
  • Richard “Curly” Hoff is played by Thomas Gomez.
  • Edward “Toots” Bass is played by Harry Lewis.
  • The deputy sheriff was John Rodney. Clyde Sawyer
  • Marc Lawrence as Ziggy
  • Angel Garcia, played by Dan Seymour
  • As Sheriff, Monte Blue Ben Wade
  • William Haade as Ralph Feeney

Jay Silverheels and Rodd Redwing also play John and Tom Osceola, but they don’t get credit for it.

key largo movie

Production

The script was based on a play by Maxwell Anderson with the same name that came out in 1939. The “Bandidos” in the play are fighting in the Spanish Civil War. McCloud is a deserter who gets in trouble and dies at the end.

Robinson was listed first in Bogart and Robinson’s four previous films. Bogart and Robinson switched roles in their last film. But at the end of at least one trailer for the movie, Robinson’s name comes before Bogart’s in a list of the actors’ names. Photos show theatre marquees with Robinson’s name before Bogart’s. Robinson’s name is between Bogart’s and Bacall’s, but it’s higher. Robinson’s picture is larger than Bogart’s on some posters, and he’s holding Bacall in the foreground.

The film was shot primarily at Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank, to keep costs down. Warner Bros. created the beach and hotel exterior, and Sound Stage 21 is a massive indoor water tank. Night Unto Night’s hurricane scenes were used. Filming took 78 days.

Bogart’s 55-foot (17 m) sailing yacht had the same name as Rocco’s gang’s boat, the Santana.

Song

Robinson’s alcoholic former mistress Gaye Dawn (Claire Trevor) must sing before he lets her drink. Trevor was nervous about the scene and thought that she would be lip-syncing to someone else’s voice. She asked director John Huston to practise the song, but he said, “There’s time.” One afternoon, he told her they wouldn’t rehearse the scene. She started on a piano and sang in front of the cast and crew. The film used this rough cut. “Moanin’ Low” was the tune. It was first played on Broadway in 1929 in Libby Holman’s The Little Show. It was a hit, and Holman’s best-known song.

Philip Furia, who writes about Tin Pan Alley lyricists, says the song is about a mean man. As Gaye sings, she slowly comes to realize that she is in the same situation. He says that Trevor’s acting in the role gets worse and worse as the song goes on because “her voice falters and she sings off key.” Bogart gives her a drink after the song and tells her, “You deserve this.” “It’s a great way to use a song in a movie that isn’t about music,” says Furia. He also says, “I think that Trevor won the Oscar because of that performance alone.”

The Box Office

Warner Bros. Records says that the movie made $3,219,000 in the United States and $1,150,000 in other countries.

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