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Warner Bros. Home Video presents
Key Largo (1948)

"One Johnny Rocco more or less in the world isn't worth dying for."
- Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: May 29, 2000

Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson
Other Stars: Lionel Barrymore
Director: John Huston

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for violence
Run Time: 01h:40:19s
Release Date: February 15, 2000
UPC: 012569501027
Genre: film noir


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ AA-A D+

DVD Review

Maxwell Anderson's play Key Largo made for one of the great film vehicles for Bogart and Bacall. Even though they don't really have an opportunity to spark a hot love scene such as To Have and Have Not, there's definitely a chemistry between the two of them that crackles throughout the film.

This classic film noir features Humphrey Bogart as world-weary Frank McCloud, who has been traveling the country aimlessly. He makes his way at last to Key Largo and the family of his old comrade in arms, George Temple, who died at Monte Cassino. McCloud gets to know George's father (Barrymore) and widow (Bacall), and thinks about maybe settling down there.

Unfortunately, there are dual obstacles to McCloud's happiness: an oncoming hurricane, and the mysterious "Mr. Brown" (Robinson), who turns out to be mobster Johnny Rocco. Robinson puts in a gleefully evil performance, as he murderously toys with his captives as he waits for his contact from Miami. It's clear that Rocco is up to no good, and as his plan is reaching fruition, the hurricane strikes.

The character drama and the suspense of the storm outside combine to make Key Largo unforgettable. The claustrophobic air of the Largo Hotel and its occupants is stifling and the heat and humidity are palpable. Huston did a splendid job of using light and shadow to increase the sense of menace from threats both human and natural. The package results in one of the great films of the 40's. The ending at sea seems a bit long, but the final gun battle has visibly influenced many films since (notably Air Force One)

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Warner has done a very nice job with the picture on this disc. There is very little frame damage of any kind to be seen; most notable are the occasional white speckles which are hardly worth comment. Blacks are dark and solid, and a wide range of grey tones are visible. There is a breathtaking moment at the end when Bacall opens the window after the storm, giving a Vermeer-like play of light and shadow that's just gorgeous; it's brought off nicely indeed on this disc.

In short, the picture is first class, especially considering it's over fifty years old; it looks as if it were shot yesterday.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: This disc is an effective argument for preserving the original mono soundtrack. The sound of the hurricane is threatening throughout and surprisingly effective given all the activity is coming out of a single speaker. There could have been more gee-whiz effects put in, but I don't believe it would add much, if anything. The sound design quite nicely takes care of itself. There is no hiss, crackle or pop to be heard. In all, a first-class mono track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 32 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Snapper
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. List of credits to the film
Extras Review: Unfortunately, the disc is badly lacking in terms of extras. We get the original trailer with a lot of great 40's hyperbole, and a single screen of credits, but that's all. The trailer is not in as spectacular shape as the film itself, but it isn't terrible either. The disc is generously chaptered. We do get subtitles in both English and French.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

A nice presentation of a classic film, given top notch transfer in both the audio and video departments. The lack of extras is disappointing, but this disc will do very well indeed until such time as a special edition is produced.

 


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