John Huston’s Key Largo (1948) represents the last great teaming of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and for that matter - Bogie and director John Huston. A darkly provocative and ultimately sinister melodrama set against the backdrop of a hurricane in the Florida Keys, the film stars Bogie as Frank McCloud, a returning war hero who has come to a hotel in the Keys to relate the death of his fellow officer to the boy’s father, James Temple (Lionel Barrymore) and his widow, Nora (Lauren Bacall).
But it seems the hotel has been closed up by a pack of spurious characters fronting for gangster on the lamb, Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson). The story ricochets between quiet moments of pending romantic tenderness between Nora and Frank and the growing dangers presented by the gathering storm and Rocco’s threadbare patience.
At one point Nora spits on the pint-size public enemy, an act of desperation that threatens to make the body count rise if Frank doesn’t do some fast talking to defuse the situation. As Rocco’s alcoholic gun moll, Gaye Dawn, Claire Trevor took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Dawn was reportedly based on Gay Orlova; Lucky Luciano's girlfriend, shortly thereafter executed by a German firing squad. Rarely does screen adventure come this close to perfection.
Warner Home Video’s DVD exhibits a refined B&W image; near pristine gray scale, minimal age related artifacts, solid deep blacks, very clean whites and a minute speckling of film grain. Occasionally, a hint of edge enhancement and slight pixelization creeps in, but nothing that will distract. The audio is mono but very well balanced. There are NO extras.
FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)