Key Largo (1948)

Rating: ****
Review Date: 11/28/15
Director: John Huston
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Claire Trevor, Lionel Barrymore

Disillusioned army veteran Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) visits a friend's widow (Lauren Bacall) in the Florida Keys, and finds himself held hostage by crime boss Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson). Rocco and his thugs have taken over a hotel in Key Largo for a week in order to sell some counterfeit cash, but a fierce hurricane rolls in and makes a mess of their plans. McCloud is the only one who can stand up to Rocco, but the war has broken his spirit and left him a coward. Rocco's violent and sadistic behavior eventually forces McCloud to take action, resulting in a tense showdown on a fishing boat while Rocco is making his getaway to Cuba.

"Key Largo" is a wonderfully tense drama with a stellar cast. Only Lauren Bacall seems to come up a little short, but her character isn't given much to work with. Bogart is solid and Robinson steals the show as a cruel and psychotic gangster. Rocco's crew is great, and Claire Trevor's performance as Rocco's boozy floozy of a girlfriend won her an Academy Award. John Huston's direction is superb, and the whole film comes together marvelously. My only complaint would be that it feels about twenty minutes too long, and that it could be tightened up a bit. Otherwise, it's an excellent film.