KEY LARGO
1948, Warner Bros., 101 min, USA, Dir: John Huston

Humphrey Bogart is Frank McCloud, a down-on-his-luck veteran visiting the father (Lionel Barrymore) and sister (Lauren Bacall) of his dead WWII buddy at their Florida Keys hotel just as a hurricane is about to hit. To make matters worse, on-the-run mobster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) has decided to lay low there with his moll (Claire Trevor) and henchmen (among them evil Thomas Gomez) while waiting to abscond to Cuba. One of Huston’s finest films, based on Maxwell Anderson’s stage play.


THE ROOTS OF HEAVEN
1958, 20th Century Fox, 121 min, USA, Dir: John Huston

The endangered African elephant is the “root of Heaven” in this prescient look at an idealist (Trevor Howard) trying to save a species from extinction. Romain Gary’s nuanced script, adapted from his novel, has a field day with the varied characters who hope to use the crusading conservationist to advance their own agendas. Errol Flynn, Eddie Albert and Orson Welles are among the star-studded cast (who battled withering heat during the film’s location shoot).


FAT CITY
1972, Sony Repertory, 100 min, USA, Dir: John Huston

John Huston, his versatility truly liberated by an evolving New Hollywood cinema, directed this gritty, slice-of-life adaptation of Leonard Gardner’s novel about two boxers, one naïve neophyte (Jeff Bridges), and one on his way down (a brilliant Stacy Keach) with his perpetually drunken mate (the great Susan Tyrell). The faithful evocation of street life in northern California Stockton, its working class heroes and skid row flophouses, where dreams and hopes get crushed out like cigarette butts, is priceless.


Syndicate content