Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene Missed Key Largo

Thankfully, Hurricane Irene went through the Philadelphia area with little damage.  My problem now is that there are few hurricane movie titles.

The Hurricane shows up first in 1926.  That would be a silent film, but it has no storyline listed, so it is probably lost.  In 1937 there is a Dorothy Lamour and Jon Hall film called The Hurricane that includes a big storm.  I have never seen it, though.

The Hurricane (1999) is a Denzel Washington film about a boxer, not a storm.  Hurricane Season (2009) is a Forrest Whitaker film about high school basketball after Hurricane Katrina.  And Eye of the Hurricane (2011) is in post-production.

What is your favorite movie that includes a hurricane?  For any real classic film fan, the only answer is Key Largo (1948), and I think I would agree.  The only problem with Key Largo is that I won't write about Bogart, Bacall, Barrymore or Robinson.  Not even about Claire Trevor.  They aren't Bit Actors.

Thomas Gomez (1905 - 1971) is.  He played Curly, one of the thugs.  He also appeared in almost 100 other titles in his career.  He started out in Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942) starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.  A good start!

That first year Gomez was also in Who Done It? starring Abbott and Costello, and Pittsburgh starring John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich.  He made eight films with Turhan Bey (b. 1922), and one more with The Duke.

In 1950 Gomez got to work with Barbara Stanwick in The Furies.  In 1951 he stars in The Harlem Globetrotters as Coach Saperstein.  Then, in the mid-50s, he can be found on TV.  He has quite a good list of films and television, but nothing as big as Key Largo.  His final movie was Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and he appeared on "Gunsmoke" in 1972.

Harry Lewis (b. 1020) played Toots, another bad guy.  He has 59 titles listed on IMDb, starting in 1941, after a time running a successful hamburger restaurant.  His first film was Dive Bomber starring Errol Flynn.  He made five films with Flynn.

After Largo, Lewis works with Edward G. Robinson twice more.  In Vice Squad (1953) and The Ten Commandments (1956).  As I have said before, everyone in Hollywood was in The Ten Commandments.

Lewis' also did a lot of television work, and his final film was The Astral Factor (1976) starring Stefanie Powers (b. 1942) about a strangler in jail who learns to make himself invisible.  (A little too late, if you ask me.)

Another Largo henchman, Ziggy, was played by Marc Lawrence (1910 - 2005).  He has 217 titles listed, and was in everything from If I Had a Million (1932) with an all star cast including Gary Cooper, Charles Laughton and W. C. Fields, through two James Bond films (Diamonds are Forever (1971) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)), to two "Star Trek" appearances on "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine."

Lawrence's final film is Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) with Brendan Fraser, Steve Martin and Timothy Dalton

I would be remiss in my duties if I failed to mention one of the Seminole Indians who was killed by the gang.  Jay Silverheels (1912 - 1980) played Tom Osceola, and he went uncredited.  I'm glad he recovered in time to become Tonto the next year on "The Lone Ranger."

I must watch Key Largo again.  It is a classic hurricane movie.


  1. I think you would like Ford's "The Hurricane". You could look for John Carradine, Layne Tom Jr. and Chris-Pin Martin.

    "Key Largo" pulls you in and never lets you go. You're right, a true classic.

  2. Thanks, Caftan. I should look for the 1937 movie. I still consider Jon Hall a Bit Actor!


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