A man visits his war buddy's family hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.A man visits his war buddy's family hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.A man visits his war buddy's family hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.
Lauren Bacall doesn't give us the quintessential 'Lauren Bacall' performance either. Instead of being the 'Femme fatale' with the seductive allure and the sharp tongue, her character Nora is a sweet, kind-hearted widow taking care of her father-in-law. There are genuinely sweet and charming moments between Bogart and Bacall. Nora's presence and her innocent sweetness has an undeniable effect on McCloud which makes him reconsider his moral stance and contemplate the idea doing something instead of continuing his reluctance about standing up to the gangsters.
Edward G. Robinson is a dynamite in every scene he is in. Johnny Rocco oozes charisma and a sense of control. It takes a lot to be in the same scene with Bogart and go toe to toe with him in terms of exuding authoritativeness, but Robinson does it effortlessly.
Although Huston doesn't use too many attention seeking shots or too much fancy camera work, one can easily see the noir-ish elements in the lighting and prominent shadows in the film. There are some carefully used tracking shots and extreme close-ups for artistic purposes that work perfectly and the film on Blu-Ray looks very pleasing to the eye. Huston's biggest achievement is maintaining a tone of suspense throughout the running time. The staging of 90 percent of the film in the confines of the interiors of Hotel Largo adds to the claustrophobia which the viewer feels along with McCloud, Nora and Temple. The only flaw is that the shootout scenes are very clumsily directed and almost look comical now after all these years.
'Key Largo' is thematically a film which wrestles the idea of whether someone should or shouldn't give a damn even if he/she feels an assertive action doesn't mean much in the bigger picture. A thematically potent core along with good direction and acting make 'Key Largo' an easy recommendation.
- May 21, 2017