As Akron begins to repair from the severe weather yesterday, leaving downed power lines, flooded basements and backyards, and tree damage, it is not uncommon to think that the damage done yesterday could be a lot worse. It has been a wet summer, and Mother Nature certainly has shown us that she can be quite powerful. Even as chaotic as our lives get, Mother Nature can still bring us down a peg to remind us that we are natural beings. A film that touches base on this and explores this is 1948’s Key Largo starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor, and Lionel Barrymore.
The film starts with Frank McCloud (Bogart) on his way to Key Largo, to visit the family of a buddy of his in the Army. He goes to their hotel to find that he is an unwelcomed guest by the other guests, who look strangely shifty. Eventually, he meets up with James Temple (Barrymore), the proprietor of the hotel and his friend’s father. He also meets his friend’s widow, Nora Temple( Bacall). He tells them of their son and husband’s last days at battle, and where he is buried. He also finds out that the hotel has been financially suffering, and when the current guests came in, they offered James a sum of money to keep themselves there. James believes that they are on a fishing trip. The local sheriff and deputy comes to see if James knows about two Native Americans who escaped from jail from a minor crime. Nora tells Frank that James has been very protective of the Seminoles, and often gives them shelter from the storms. Nora hears over the phone that a hurricane is about to make landfall, and she, James, and Nora help prepare the hotel for a hurricane. As the storm approaches, the guests led by Johnny Rocco( Robinson) and not counting his alcoholic girlfriend Gaye Dawn (Trevor), take the Temples and Frank hostage. To add to that, Sawyer( John Rodney) wakes up after being knocked unconscious by the men earlier, and states that justice will be done one way or another. McCloud, though rebuffing previous attempts to not do what he feels like doing, refuses to stand up to Rocco, stating he is in it for himself and that he can’t do anything to stop Rocco. In the meantime, Rocco’s men have barred the Seminoles which James usually helps in these situations from the hotel, and the storm is moving in. Will Frank confront Rocco? Will he choose to stand up or submit to Rocco? Watch and find out. When you see the film, also keep an eye out for Trevor’s performance- because she earns her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress wonderfully.
The film explores not only our nature, but how nature compels us to do things when it seems like the world is closing in around us and there is nothing we can do.