This was the last movie that John Huston made with Humphrey Bogart, and one of the more overlooked ones as well.
World War II veteran Frank McCloud visits a sleepy little bed and breakfast in Key Largo to give his respects to the family of an old war pal who has passed on. Along the way he meets his buddy’s widow (Lauren Bacall), his father (Lionel Barrymore) and last but not least, the infamous Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) who is staying at the hotel with a few other hoodlums, and plotting a robbery.
A major storm is headed their way, and so the grieving family, as well as the two outsiders will be trapped there together. I wonder how it must have irked Humphrey Bogart to see his name slightly lower and to the left of Edward G. Robinson’s in the poster for “Key Largo”. Not to mention it also outranks his wife’s spot on the marquee as well.
The two had starred in many pictures together throughout the 30s, but always with Bogart as a bit player or supporting character actor to either Robinson or James Cagney. In the 40s however, Bogart’s fame grew smash hits like the Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and the Big Sleep, while Robinson’s waned.
Still though, this is a very good tense gangster movie. It’s also a great commentary in many parts on the films of the 1930s that made Robinson and Cagney a star as Robinson’s character is a gangster in the twilight of his criminal career, who stranded in this island hotel, has to endure many lectures about his place in society through the course of the film.
Key Largo gets a four out of five: GREAT.