Key Largo

(1948) dir. John Huston
viewed: 08/26/08

Part two of my would-be John Huston/Humphrey Bogart 1948 double feature, part two to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Key Largo is yet another of the classic Hollywood features that I’d never gotten around to seeing until now.

Set in a hotel in the titular Key Largo during a hurricaine, the characters are held hostage by a Al Capone-like mobster king played by Edward G. Robinson, who has come back from Cuba to deal some counterfeit greenbacks to some old cronies.  Bogart is the returning war hero who is adrift and a bit lost amidst the post-WWII world, an almost noirish hero in a storm of crime, chaos, and humidity.

Hard to fathom that John Huston knocked both this film and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in one year with Bogart, but that is the heydey of Hollywood for you.  Bacall is as gorgeous as she ever was, the widow of Bogart’s war buddy.  Huston seems to only populate his cast with top-notch talent in every role, a true character actor’s dream director.  The cast stinks with solid performances.

The only thing that I don’t get is that lame-ass AM radio 1981 single by Bernie Higgins (who? I thought it was Christopher Cross), “Key Largo”.  I quote the bard Higgins: “We had it all, just like Bogey and Bacall, starring in our own late-late show, sailing away to Key Largo”.

Did he actually watch the movie?  Maybe there is a Key Largo II: We Had It All, but mostly the characters are in dire danger throughout.  What the hell, Bernie?  Get a DVD player already and repent!

Anywhoo…I am all about John Huston at the moment.  I have one more Bogart/Huston collaboration at home at the moment, though High Sierra (1941) which Huston has a screenwriting credit though Raoul Walsh directs.  I plan to queue the hell out of John Huston movies.  That’s right.


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