- Key Largo review by Steve
Bogart visits the family of the dead soldier he fought beside in Italy: his father (Lionel Barrymore) and widow (Lauren Bacall). Bad timing. The hotel they run on the Florida Keys is taken over by gangsters led by Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) while the building is battered by a mighty hurricane, making escape impossible.
The set up is almost exactly the same as The Petrified Forest (1936) in which Bogart played the outlaw Duke Mantee as the last gasp of the wild west, an individualist. But Rocco is far more insidious. He buys the political process and operates in plain sight, subverting justice, raking profit out of the system.
This time Bogart is on the right side of the law. He plays his signature role, the loner who won't stick out his neck for anyone (but then does). But his status as an outsider is no longer a symbol of American isolationism in early WWII. It is because having survived war, he is disillusioned by the grip men like Rocco have on America.
Crime has become organised and is corrupting legitimate business. This would become a key theme of fifties mafia films. The politician on the make, the nickel and dime business' cutting corners and protected gangster bosses would become familiar film noir personnel. This is Bogart and Bacall's last film together and it's a classic.
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