Friday, September 16, 2005

Happy Birthday Bacall

Chris Lynch points out that today is Lauren Bacall's 81st birthday. One of my favorite movies of all time featured Bacall with husband Humphrey Bogart, and some of the best lines in movie history, as well as inspiring a hit song for Jimmy Buffett - Key Largo. There are great performances from Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, and a very strong supporting cast, including Lionel Barrymore, Bacall and Claire Trevor.

The most memorable scene in the film takes place as the small group is huddled in the Largo hotel, waiting out a hurricane. There's some fantastic dialogue as the wind is whipping around.

James Temple: "Well, the worst storm we ever had was back in '35. Wind whipped a big wave and sent it busting right over Matecumbe Key. 800 people were washed out to sea."
Johnny Rocco: "How far was that from here?"
James Temple: "Oh, a few miles."

Johnny Rocco: "I don't believe it - 800 guys getting washed out to sea. You're a liar! Nobody'd live here after a thing like that happened! Would they, Curly!"
Curly Hoff: "I remember reading about it in the papers at the time."

James Temple: "A relief train was dispatched from Miami. The barometer was down to about 26 inches when that train pulled into Homestead. The engineer backed his string of empty coaches into the danger zone when that hurricane hit. Knocked those coaches right off the track. 200 miles an hour, that wind blew. A tidal wave 12 feet high went right across the Keys. Whole towns were wiped out. Miles and miles of track were ripped up and washed away. Nothing was left. More than 500 bodies were recovered after the storm. And for months afterwards, corpses were found in the mangrove swamps..."

I've thought about that in the last couple of weeks. I thought about it when the nonsense was being spread about how we never had storms like this before so it must have been global warming that caused Katrina. And I've thought about it as the blame been heaped on the Federal government for the response. Franklin Roosevelt must not have cared about those people in the Keys, huh?

The best line in the film is, of course, Bogart's, as so many of the best lines are.

"You don't like it, do you Rocco, the storm? Show it your gun, why don't you? If it doesn't stop, shoot it..."



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