AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Key Largo
Director: John Huston (Dir)
Release Date:   31 Jul 1948
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 16 Jul 1948
Production Date:   late Dec 1947--mid-Mar 1948
Duration (in mins):   100
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Cast:   Humphrey Bogart (Frank McCloud)  
    Edward G. Robinson (Johnny Rocco)  
    Lauren Bacall (Nora Temple)  
    Lionel Barrymore (James Temple)  
    Claire Trevor (Gaye Dawn)  
    Thomas Gomez (Curly Hoff)  
    Harry Lewis (Toots)  
    John Rodney (Deputy Clyde Sawyer)  
    Marc Lawrence (Ziggy)  
    Dan Seymour (Angel)  
    Monte Blue (Ben Wade)  
    William Haade (Henchman)  
    Jay Silverheels (Oceola brother)  
    Rodric Redwing (Oceola brother)  
    Joe P. Smith (Bus driver)  
    Albert Morin (Skipper)  
    Jerry Jerome (Ziggy's henchman)  
    John Phillips (Ziggy's henchman)  
    Luther Crockett (Ziggy's henchman)  
    Felipa Gomez (Old Indian woman)  
    Pat Flaherty    

Summary: Disillusioned veteran Frank McCloud arrives on the island of Key Largo, Florida to visit the family of George Temple, who died under his command in Italy during World War II. At the rundown Hotel Largo where George's wheelchair-bound father James lives with George's widow, Nora, Frank encounters Curly Hoff, Toots, Angel and Gaye Dawn in the bar. Learning from them that the hotel is closed for the off-season, Frank searches out the Temples, who greet him warmly and insist that he stay the night. Nora explains that their guests offered her father-in-law so much money to open the hotel for them, that he could not turn them down. Later, a hurricane warning is issued and as Nora fastens the shutters in preparation, the telephone rings. Curly tells the caller that the Temples are not around and adds that Sawyer, the local police officer, has not been seen either. When Temple objects, the men pull their guns. In response to the activity, the men's leader comes downstairs for the first time since Frank's arrival, and Frank recognizes him as deported gangster Johnny Rocco. Rocco has entered the country illegally from Cuba in order to make a delivery of counterfeit money, but his contacts have been delayed by the approaching storm. Meanwhile, he and his men have captured and beaten Sawyer, who was searching for the Oceola brothers, Seminoles who had escaped from jail. When Rocco, impressed by Nora's feisty spirit, makes a pass at her, she spits in his face, and Frank stops him from killing her with some fast talking. Mocking Frank's heroics, Rocco throws him a gun and, holding his own gun on Frank, tells him that he can rid the world of Rocco if he is willing to die in the process. To the disappointment of both Nora and Temple, Frank refuses to shoot. He throws the gun down and Sawyer grabs it and tries to escape. Rocco kills Sawyer, revealing that the other gun was not loaded, a fact that Frank had no way of knowing. Rocco then demands that Gaye, his alcoholic former mistress, sing a song before she can have a drink. She is too desperate to sing well, and when Rocco still refuses to give her a drink because her singing was "rotten," Frank takes pity on her. Rocco slaps him and once again, Frank does nothing. The full force of the hurricane then hits, terrifying Rocco and giving Nora a chance to challenge Frank about his disillusionment. After the storm passes, Rocco discovers that his boat has disappeared. He orders Frank to take Temple's boat and transport him to Cuba. Before they can leave, a second police officer comes looking for Sawyer and finds his body on the shore, where it washed up during the storm. Rocco blames the murder on the Oceola brothers, who are on the island to turn themselves in on Temple's advice, and when the Indians try to escape, the officer murders them. As the gangsters prepare to leave, Gaye begs Rocco to take her along, and while she clings to him, she grabs his gun from his jacket pocket and slips it to Frank. After he sets course for Cuba, Frank maneuvers the boat to knock one man overboard and shoots the others, including Rocco. Although he has been wounded, Frank radios his position and then calls the hotel to tell Nora and Temple that he is coming back home. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Brand Name: A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: John Huston (Dir)
  Art Lueker (Asst dir)
  John Prettyman (2d asst dir)
Producer: Jerry Wald (Prod)
Writer: Richard Brooks (Scr)
  John Huston (Scr)
Photography: Karl Freund (Dir of photog)
  Ellsworth Fredericks (2d cam)
  Wally Meinardus (Asst cam)
  Mac Julian (Stills)
  Lee Wilson (Gaffer)
Art Direction: Leo K. Kuter (Art dir)
Film Editor: Rudi Fehr (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Fred M. MacLean (Set dec)
  Bud Friend (Props)
  George Sweeney (Props)
Costumes: Leah Rhodes (Ward)
  Ted Schultz (Ward)
  Marie Blanchard (Ward)
Music: Max Steiner (Mus)
  Murray Cutter (Orch)
Sound: Dolph Thomas (Sd)
Special Effects: William McGann (Spec eff dir)
  Robert Burks (Spec eff)
Make Up: Perc Westmore (Makeup artist)
  Frank McCoy (Makeup)
  Betty Delmont (Hair)
Production Misc: Chuck Hansen (Unit mgr)
  Jean Baker (Scr supv)
  E. F. Dexter (Grip)
  Burt Jones (Best boy)
Country: United States

Songs: "Moanin' Low," words by Howard Dietz, music by Ralph Rainger.
Composer: Howard Dietz
  Ralph Rainger
Source Text: Based on the play Key Largo by Maxwell Anderson, as produced by The Playwrights Company (New York, 27 Nov 1939).
Authors: The Playwrights Company
  Maxwell Anderson

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 31/7/1948 dd/mm/yyyy LP1750

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Crime
Subjects (Major): Disillusionment
  Key Largo (FL)
Subjects (Minor): Alcoholics
  Psychological torment
  Seminole Indians

Note: The film begins with the following foreword: "At the southernmost point of the United States are the Florida Keys, a string of small islands held together by a concrete causeway. Largest of these remote coral islands is Key Largo." According to a 6 Nov 1947 HR news item, some scenes were filmed on location in Key West, FL, although Huston stated in a modern interview that it was shot mostly in the studio. A 13 Jan 1948 HR news item reported that director of photography Karl Freund shot a three-minute continuous sequence using two dollies and a new light-weight camera. The shot begins when Humphrey Bogart and Thomas Gomez are in a bathroom and moves through a room into the hallway, down two flights of stairs, through another hallway and onto a porch. A modern source notes that Huston drew on his 1944 war documentary San Pietro when writing the scenes in which "Frank" tells "Nora" and "Temple" about his dead friend. This was Huston's last film for Warner Bros., and the last film that Bogart and Bacall made together. Claire Trevor won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Edward G. Robinson and Claire Trevor reprised their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 28 Nov 1949. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   10 Jul 1948.   
Daily Variety   7 Jul 48   p. 3.
Film Daily   7 Jul 48   p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Nov 47   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Dec 47   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Jan 48   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Mar 48   p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Jul 48   pp. 3-4.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Jul 48   p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   3 Jul 48   p. 4226.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   10 Jul 48   p. 4233.
New York Times   17 Jul 48   p. 6.
Variety   7 Jul 48   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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