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MOVIE: Key Largo (1948)

Based on a play by Maxwell Anderson

Screenplay by: John Huston and Richards Brooks

Directed by John Huston

Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore, Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor


Frank McCloud (Bogart) stops in Key Largo, on his way to find work in Key West, to visit  the hotel owning Temples, the family of a friend he both met and lost in the war. When he enters the hotel he is told by a group of burly men that the hotel is closed. The lone woman Gaye (Trevor) invites him for a drink, though he is made to feel unwelcome by the others. Gaye keeps shouting for more drinks, the men keep telling her she’s not allowed and all Frank wants to do is accomplish want he has come to do. Finally, he is told he can find Mr. Temple (Barrymore) out back.

Frank greets the older man, who is sitting in a wheelchair looking toward the ocean. When, Frank introduces himself, the man lights up. Although he has never met Frank, he has heard all about him through his son’s countless letters. He calls out for Nora ( Bacall) and she skips off from the deck of a boat and rushes down the dock. Nora is the lost soldier’s widow. Both Temples are anxious for anything Frank can tell them.

Frank is invited to stay at the hotel. Nora explains the men are a group of business men, who rented the whole hotel out for the week. It’s off-season, the hotel is closed, but the family did not want to refuse the money.

The men become more aggressive, Johnny Rocco enters the scene and guns are pulled. Frank and the Temples learn they are dealing with gangsters.

This movie was based on a play, where sets are limited and space is confined. In this case, every scene takes place within a couple of areas of the hotel. And then, of course, one of those famous Florida hurricanes decides to rip through. It’s a great, howling, screaming storm. Panic ensues, wind whirls and windows are broken.

Watch the mirrors, watch everyone’s eyes and watch the fun begin.

Filmed on location  on the Florida Keys and in studio , in California