Humphrey Bogart And Lauren Bacall In 'Key Largo,' 1948

May 14, 2021

In this colorized production still from Key Largo shows two of the great screen stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Humphry Bogart and Lauren Bacall. In the film, the last one they made together, Bogart plays Frank McLoud, an army major who has decided to live on a fishing boat. His final stop is Key Largo, where he meets Nora, played by Lauren Bacall, who falls for him. When McLoud arrives at the hotel owned by the family of his deceased war buddy, he finds that some of the guests are gangsters.

Bogey and Bacall. Image colorized by Steve Foster

The costumes were designed by Leah Rhodes. Their outfits were both simple and refined, and were quite coordinated, with their sleeves turned up and their top buttons unbuttoned. The coordinated nature of their outfits hints to the fact that the two will be a pair of heroes. In their timeless outfits, they stand in contrast to the more flashy gangsters. The film takes place over one day, and so Bacall wears only one outfit throughout the film, a wool skirt with side pockets, a white dress shirt, a belt, and espadrilles. Bogart’s suit is an unseasonably warm suit made of twill, although in this picture, his coat is nowhere to be seen. He wears a pair of cap-toe oxfords in the film. 

They Were Friends First

In To Have and Have Not. Source: (IMDb).

Key Largo was their fourth and final on-screen collaboration. Bacall and Bogart first in met on the set of their first film together, To Have and Have Not (1944). At the time, she was just 19; he was 25 years older than her and already on his third marriage. It was her first film and his 53rd. When they first met, as Bacall later wrote, "There was no clap of thunder, no lightning bolt.” At first, Bogart and Bacall were just friends, as Bogart tried to joke with her on set to help calm her nerves and acted as her mentor. Bogart tried to remain faithful to his wife, the actress Mayo Methot, but it was not a happy marriage, as it was marred by heavy drinking and fighting. Bogart first kissed Bacall, who was not cast as his love interest, three weeks into filming. After the kiss, he asked for her phone number, she wrote it on the back of a matchbook. As he struggled with his unhappiness, he turned to Bacall and they would just talk. Eventually, they started leaving the studio together, getting lunch or going for drives, seeing each other in secret because Bogart was still married. Their chemistry was so strong that they changed the script for the film; he was originally supposed to romance someone else. Once filming wrapped up, they were no longer able to see each other as regularly, but their feelings didn’t fade and they met in secret at night. They also wrote love letters to each other.