Cautions: intensity and some violence, and mild ethical confusion
Key Largo is one of the old, great, limited-space movies, where the villains take over and the heroes have nowhere to go, no way to hide, and nothing with which to fight back. A short trip to Key Largo to pay his respects to a fallen comrade’s family turns tense, then dangerous, then deadly as Frank McCloud runs afoul of a gangster and his cold-blooded followers waiting on both an old crime partner and an approaching hurricane. With a reserved, suggestive intensity, Key Largo plays the one-chance Bogie/Bacall/Robinson cast to its fullest advantage.
1948 | John Juston | 100 min Watch Trailer
Intensity and Some Violence
Characters are shot, some to death, in somewhat intense scenes. A dead body is seen lying in water, and is later taken away. A man is thrown overboard far from land. A man lying with blood on his head is struck by the villains.
The bad guys manhandle and even strike women. The villain forcibly kisses a woman. A somewhat intense scene involves the villain whispering in the woman’s ear, apparently sexually harassing her.
Stories about past hurricanes mention people being washed out to sea, and bodies being found. A man prays for a wave to take them all out, as long as the villain will be punished. A soldier’s death is referenced.
A hurricane comes.
A woman says that she will kill herself, but she doesn’t mean it.
Mild Ethical Confusion
A couple of men who broke jail are killed by a policeman thinking they had just killed his partner. After he realizes he shot the wrong men, the policeman remorsefully refers to them as “innocent blood”. This is probably intended strictly in reference to their having been innocent of murder; they were, however, guilty of other crimes, and were killed running from the policeman after he said, “Stop, or I’ll shoot.” Another character says that the deaths weren’t anybody’s fault but the villain’s.
Main character Frank lies about some events to make a deceased soldier sound more heroic than he really was.
For most of the movie, Frank claims a selfish pragmatism, saying that he fights for nothing but himself. This is resolved, however.
A positively-portrayed character says he told his son that the hollow in the upper lip was from an angel sealing his mouth from all the secrets of life he knew before he was born.
Good guys lie to the police under threat of death (and harm to others) from the villain.
A positively-portrayed character says an Indian chief’s “ancestors go back to the gods,” but apparently does not intend this to be taken seriously.
A woman associated with the bad guys is a lush. She is constantly begging for a drink, and is obviously emotionally dependent on alcohol. Eventually, out of pity for the woman, Frank risks the villain’s displeasure and gets her a drink. Her situation may meet the requirements of Proverbs 31:6-7.
A bad guy claims that the only way to get the drunk woman to behave is to hit her. This is not supposed to be viewed as correct.
The word “gee” is used twice. Bad guys call women “dames”. The phrase, “He can go to…” is interrupted. A good guy calls the villain “filth”.
A man laments, “We can’t do anything but harm to those people, even when we go to help them,” referring to American Indians. A character says that “Thirty days [in jail] for an Indian is like thirty years for somebody else.” A villain uses the phrase “ dirty red” derogatorily.
A man in a bathtub is seen from the waist up.
A negatively-portrayed woman fondly describes her former attire as “always low cut, very décolleté.”
Characters smoke cigarettes and cigars.
The main character sips a beer.
A good guy says, “Good luck.”