The Key

The Key

Carol Reed (1958)

PG Certificate
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Our Score
Playing down her usual voluptuous glamour, Sophia Loren is heartbreakingly vulnerable in this adaptation of Jan De Hartog's novel, Stella. As the waterfront landlady who offers her favours to naval skippers, she is both a source of solace and disquiet, as few entrusted with her key survive for long. Instead of focusing on either her torment or her affair with the gruff William Holden, Carl Foreman's script spends too much time at sea. No matter how well director Carol Reed stages the action sequences, we're soon impatient for shore leave.


Naval officer Chris introduces tugboat captain David to his girlfriend Stella, and asks him to look after her if he should be killed on duty. When Chris does not return from a mission, David falls for Stella himself - but soon learns that all her lovers have a tendency to die at sea. Second World War romantic drama, starring William Holden, Sophia Loren and Trevor Howard.

Cast & Crew

Capt David Ross William Holden
Stella Sophia Loren
Capt Chris Ford Trevor Howard
Capt Van Dam Oskar Homolka
Kane Kieron Moore
Cdr Wadlow Bernard Lee
Weaver Bryan Forbes
Grogan Sidney Vivian
Director Carol Reed
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Columbia Picture Corp. LtdGuidance: Some violence and swearingAvailable on: DVD