21 August 2012 | blanche-2
Kay Francis potboiler from the early '30s
"The Key Hole" is one of those "If you've seen one, you've seen them all" type films, though it's certainly not bad. Francis plays Ann Brooks, married to a wealthy man (Henry Kolker). She was married before, to Maurice (Monroe Owsley) who never got the divorce he promised her and is now blackmailing her because of it. She works out a scheme with her sister-in-law Portia (Helen Ware) to lure him out of the country, and then Portia would use her influence to have his visa taken away.
As part of the plan, Ann heads for Havana by ship, with Maurice following. Her suspicious husband has hired a detective, Neil Davis (George Brent) to try and seduce her, and along with Brent comes his spy, Hank Wales (Allen Jenkins). Wales meets Dot (Glenda Farrell), and these two provide the film's humor.
Well, you can guess what happens.
Kay Francis wears many fabulous gowns. I used to think the kind of lifestyle her character lived was just in the movies until I saw a 1930s Vogue magazine. What a formal time that was, with people dressing to the nines for lunch and to do any kind of traveling. Almost all the ads in Vogue were for trips on ocean liners. We've come a long way, and I'm not sure that's a good thing.
Anyway, the film is predictable, but Francis is good, as are Jenkins and Farrell. Brent is very smooth and charming.
Kay Francis made these films by the truckload, and I have to admit I watch them when they appear on TCM. She really epitomizes that early '30s era for me - an era that has not one vestige of it visible today.