“When your head says one thing and your whole life says another, your head always loses.”
On the eve of a hurricane, an ex-major (Humphrey Bogart) travels to a hotel in the Florida Keys to visit the widow (Lauren Bacall) and father (Lionel Barrymore) of a deceased army friend. He is soon embroiled in a stand-off with the hotel’s only guests: gangster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson), Rocco’s assistants (Harry Lewis, Thomas Gomez, William Haade, and Dan Seymour), and Rocco’s alcoholic moll (Claire Trevor).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Claire Trevor Films
- Edward G. Robinson Films
- Humphrey Bogart Films
- John Huston Films
- Lauren Bacall Films
- Lionel Barrymore Films
- Play Adaptation
Directed by John Huston and based on a play by Maxwell Anderson, this tension-filled hostage flick featured the fourth on-screen pairing of real-life couple Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart — after To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), and Dark Passage (1947) — and afforded Robinson an opportunity to reprise his “gangster persona” as a fictional mash-up of Al Capone and Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano. The screenplay (by Huston and Richard Brooks) makes excellent use of a claustrophobic “old dark house” setting, as the characters are bound together through both an impending hurricane and the threats of a ruthless, psychopathic gangster; meanwhile, surviving veteran Bogart is able to prove his masculinity and integrity to Bacall, others, and himself. Excellent performances, atmospheric cinematography, and a taut script make this a must-see classic by a master director.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine performances by the entire cast
- Karl Freund’s cinematography
- An exciting, tension-filled script
Yes, as a genuine classic.
- Genuine Classic
- Important Director