"You’re right, you shouldn’t have been deported, you should have been exterminated."
Description: Lionel Barrymore as wheel-chair-bound James Temple denounces gangster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) in the motion picture Key Largo (1948).
James Temple is the owner of the hotel Key Largo in Florida. His son, Frank Temple died while serving in the US Military in Italy during the Second World War. His widow Nora (Lauren Bacall) now lives with her disabled, father-in-law at the hotel.
After Frank's death, his close friend ex-Major Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) decides to visit the Temples. But soon after Frank arrives, a hurricane approaches and forces all in residents to stay inside and weather the storm.
Also staying at the hotel is Johnny Rocco, a deported gangster who claims to be in the area on a fishing trip. Rocco's companions include Edward "Toots" Bass (Harry Lewis), Richard "Curly" Hoff (Thomas Gomez), Ralph Feeney (William Haade), Angel Garcia (Dan Seymour), and Gaye Dawn (Claire Trevor), Rocco's moll, a former nightclub singer.
"After living in the USA for more than thirty-five years they called me an undesirable alien. Me. Johnny Rocco. Like I was a dirty Red or something!"
When James Temple realizes his guests are not what they seem, he declares, "Are you thieves or what? You want money, is this a robbery?" To which Toots, replies " Yeah, Pop, we're gonna steal all your towels."
|Johnny Rocco:||There's only one Johnny Rocco.|
|James Temple:||How do you account for it?|
|Frank McCloud:||He knows what he wants. Don't you, Rocco?|
|James Temple:||What's that?|
|Frank McCloud:||Tell him, Rocco.|
|Johnny Rocco:||Well, I want uh ...|
|Frank McCloud:||He wants more, don't you, Rocco?|
|Johnny Rocco:||Yeah. That's it. More. That's right! I want more!|
|James Temple:||Will you ever get enough?|
|Frank McCloud:||Will you, Rocco?|
|Johnny Rocco:||Well, I never have. No, I guess I won't. You, do you know what you want?|
|Frank McCloud:||Yes, I had hopes once, but I gave them up.|
|Johnny Rocco:||Hopes for what?|
|Frank McCloud:||A world in which there's no place for Johnny Rocco.|
As the hurricane force winds increase, Sheriff Ben Wade (Monte Blue) appears with Deputy Clyde Sawyer (John Rodney) in search for two Seminole indians sought by the law. James Temple agrees to keep a look out for the fugitives, but stays quiet about the gangsters in residents fearing for the lives of Frank and Nora. But later, when Deputy Sawyer is found snooping about the property, Rocco's cronies knock him unconscious and take him inside.
"You'd give your left arm to nail me wouldn't you? I could see the headlines now, 'Local Deputy Captures Johnny Rocco'. Your picture'd be in all the papers. You might even get to tell on the newsreels how you pulled if off, yeah. Listen hick, I was too much for any big city police force to handle. It took the United States Government to pin a rap on me. And they won't make it stick. You hick, I'll be back pulling strings to get guys elected mayor and governor before you get a ten buck raise." - Johnny Rocco
Sawyer tries to escape by grabbing a handgun, but the gun has no bullets. Rocco kills the lawman and his henchman dump the body in a nearby waters.
To alleviate the boredom while they waited for Ziggy (Marc Lawrence) to whom Johnny will sell a large amount of counterfeit money, Rocco gives Nora an unwelcomed kiss and then forces his girlfriend to sing to entertain his guests. He promises to give her a drink of alcohol is she does. Jittery, and in need of a drink, she reluctantly agrees. For her efforts, she is derided for her performance and her fading beauty.
At point, Curly, one of Rocco's hoodlums remarks, "She is a lush, the lady...after she bends the elbow a few times, she begins to see things—rats, roaches, bats, you know...a sock in the kisser is the only thing that will bring her out of it.”
As the storm subsides, Sheriff Wade reappears looking for his deputy. Temple is forced to lie about knowing the deputy's where abouts, but when Wade finds Sawyer's body floating in the water, Rocco convinces the sheriff the fugitves indians were responsible and soon after Wade kills them, concluding the matter.
Finally, Rocco's American contact arrives and they conclude their deal, but Rocco's yacht that was waiting off shore to take him and his henchmen back to Cuba had to leave for safety purposes.
Now in need of transportation, Rocco commandeers the Santana, a small boat owned by the hotel and forces Frank to skipper the craft. Frank agrees, but during the trip, he manages push Ralph overboard, and kill the rest of the crooks with a handgun provided by Gaye Dawn, whom Rocco had abandoned.
With the bad guys subdued, Frank (who had received minor wounds) turns the boat around and radios he is coming back to the hotel, a hotel that he decides to call home (with Nora).