“When I think of my intentions on Telegraph Hill!”
Alright so let’s put this out in the open because I am sure this bit of information is always mentioned when Key to the City is reviewed: in 1935 Clark Gable and Loretta Young made Call of the Wild together. A few months later Young, out of wedlock, had Gable’s child. When Key to the City was made the director knew about the affair which is why he casted Young. If she had declined rumors might have started up so she agreed.
Ok good that is over with and mentioned. On to my review:
A convention for select mayors from all over the country is gathered at a hotel in San Francisco. Clarissa Standish (Young) is the only female mayor that has been invited. She is smart and Harvard educated. Also invited is Steve Fisk (Gable) a rough and tough former longshoreman and mayor from Puget City. Steve brings along his advisor and trusted friend Fire Chief Duggan (Frank Morgan).
Clarissa and Steve meet in his room where there was supposed to be a meeting but Steve called it off. Clarissa is all business and very professional so she was a little upset that the meeting was canceled and she did not hear about it. Feeling a little guilty about canceling the meeting and wanting to take Clarissa down a few notches Steve calls a meeting at a nightclub where a dancer, Shelia, he is sweet on is a performer there. When he sees Clarissa walk in Steve makes it a big deal with the band playing an entrance song and a spotlight on her. At dinner Clarissa said she did not realize that the mayors’ wives would be with them saying that she wanted to put some motions and propositions (in the business sense) before them and the wives give her a dirty look haha. While opening a bottle of champagne the top goes flying off and pops the balloons on Shelia’s costume. The incident causes a huge brawl and the police are called in. Steve throws Clarissa over his shoulder and takes her out before they are caught. Unfortunately they wind up getting caught and brought to jail. The police chief does not feel like taking the heat for incarcerating two mayors from out of town so he lets them go. Steve and Clarissa are sneaking out but they get into a fight and Steve leaves before her. Clarissa gets caught by a photographer and her picture is put in the papers the next day.
Steve tries to make night the next morning sending her two dozen roses and some other things but that does not help she is still mad. Clarissa calls her uncle who is a judge in their hometown. He does not really comfort her he tells her that he was hoping she would live her life one day! That night Clarissa and Steve are invited to a party where they dress the way they were when they had their first kiss. Both were little kids. Steve has an in issue with his pants and goes out to the streets with his hat, rain coat, and only his socks and shoes on. He sees Clarissa and starts talking to her. She still does not want anything to do with him so she is a bit hostel with him. A cop walks by the two of them thinking that Clarissa is really a little girl and Steve is an older man bothering her. Again the two of them get thrown in jail but this time they get away without any incident.
After their second jail escapade Steve takes Clarissa to Telegraph Hill. He puts all the moves on her making her a little nervous. Then she does the same thing back to him and he has no idea what is going on! Before the night is over they have each other thinking they are engaged! But when they get back to the hotel things go wrong and the engagement is broken off.
Steve has to go back to Puget City for important business. Clarissa is upset and leaves.
Things get a little complicated plot wise to explain but just know that Steve and Clarissa wind up together and engaged for real.
Clark Gable and Loretta Young were fabulous together. Their chemistry was excellent you could really believe their characters loved each other. There was a good scene at the end where Steve gets into another fight and I mean it is a drag out smack down fight where his office gets completely trashed. Shelia shows up before the fight and she tries to pick a fight with Clarissa. Well Shelia had no chance because without breaking a sweat Clarissa completely knocks Shelia on her behind with some awesome moves haha.
This was Frank Morgan’s last film before he died. The film was made in 1949 the year Morgan died but was released in 1950. Morgan went out on top he nearly stole the whole film. I was cracking up with him in one scene especially because Duggan was so concerned with fire safety and he nearly burns down the room when he throws a lit cigar in Steve’s pajama drawer! Duggan was so neurotic and all over the place and played that so well. Morgan was great.
Key to the City is a cute comedy film. I enjoyed it very much, there are some silly parts that are perfect because they do not go over the edge. The story was good and the acting was wonderful.