Saturday, July 21, 2007


Yesterday's* first movie was John Huston's taut tropical thriller Key Largo (1948),* rebinding the covalent Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in Florida's humid southern archipelago. Frank McCloud is passing through, heading to Key West, when he drops in on hoteliers James Temple and his daughter Nora, whiling away their summer off-season in a largely empty, rather idealized colonial inn. Their hotel should be completely empty, but big city thugs have cropped up, renting the whole hotel for reasons mysterious. The thugs sit around the bar with the requisite B-girl, tough-talking any wayfarers who come knocking. But McCall is a friend of the family: the Temple son was killed under his command during WWII; he feels duty bound to fill the family in on those final days. But he's picked a bad weekend on the titular Key: besides the resident mobsters, the police are also sniffing around for escaped convicts and a large hurricane threatens the Florida Straights. What will happen once everyone is trapped inside together during the storm? This movie is filled to the brim with the brooding cinematic environment I expect when watching a John Huston movie. Gone are the static three-walled parlors of the Maltese Falcon:* this movie forces some sense of the world around the leads: ceiling fans cast shadows from outside the frame, foreground and background depth is revealed in mirror reflections, the storm rages. In one magnificent shot, Bacall interacts with the mobsters while getting ready for the hurricane. While she walks around the interior of the hotel Bogart paces her outside, shuttering windows until the space is closed and dark. The house, the weather, even the heat are important characters here, complementing the fantastic cast including Edward G. Robinson, turning out one of the most riveting villains to ever appear onscreen. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

Post a Comment

<< Back to the Beginner.
<< To main Update page.