Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Watching film noire: Key Largo

Last night I finally got around to watching Key Largo (1948), starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.




Overall, not bad. If a movie continues to capture attention for 70 years, it probably has something to offer. 

This is the story of a group of hotel guests held at gunpoint by a band of mafiosos during a hurricane. The plot is fast-moving. (The entire movie is only 101 minutes.) 

That said, modern audiences will have difficulty suspending disbelief, say--when Humphrey Bogart shoots four of the mafia men in succession while aboard a boat. Each man, when shot, grabs his stomach (no blood in the special effects toolkit in those days), makes a face that says, "You got me!" and keels over. 

That was the way we used to do it when I was a kid in the 1970s, and we'd play cowboys and Indians, or (more commonly) fearless GIs in battle in World War II. 

The storyline of Key Largo has a lot of tension built into it. This is one that is practically screaming for a remake with 21st-century cinematic techniques. They could never replace Bogart, of course--let alone Bacall; but I'd like to see what a James Wan (for example) could do with this story today.

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