Key To The City (1950)

Since this is, apparently, the Jeanette MacDonald and Loretta Young Appreciation Life Blog, I’m going to take a short excursion away from JAM land and into the comfortable and sometimes mildly awkward (which is why I love her) world of Miss Loretta Gretchen Young.

Whatcha dooooin?

Whatcha dooooin?

Let’s take a trip back to ye olden days of Fall 2014. Print this blog out, as a receipt, if you need to write it off for business. Our pals over at Warner Archive Instant were celebrating Movember, streaming a whole slew of Moustache Movies. One day, they posted a trailer for Key To The City, and life has never been the same.

To be perfectly honest, I had no idea before that day that Loretta and Clark had made two movies together. I knew about Call Of The Wild because, let’s face it, who doesn’t know about that movie? Long story short, Things Happened. The end. That film was released in 1935, so fast forward to 1949, when Dore Schary is all, “How about Loretta and Clark in a comedy together!” Everyone was like, “UHHHHH,” and deals were made. Thus, Key To The City.

Let me just say that the trailer for this movie is quite compelling. There is plenty of back story on My Personal Feelings toward both stars, so even getting me to do more than shout “NO” at the computer screen was quite the accomplishment!

When I figured out that this was Frank Morgan’s last film, I spent a while pretending like that was the 100% truthful reason for watching the movie. (RIP my homie.)

The story centers on a Mayor’s Convention in San Francisco. Gable plays Steve Fisk, the Longshoreman Mayor of Puget City, California, and Loretta is Clarissa Standish of Wenonah, Maine. Because this is a romantic comedy, we have opposite personalities from opposite coasts which, of course, results in looooove.

Pictured: Looooove Begins.

Pictured: Looooove Begins.

There is one scene, in particular, which I can not seem to make coherent words for. In pea soup fog, Steve takes Clarissa to Telegraph Hill to, er, show her the view.

C- “I can’t see my hand in front of my face!”

S- “Neither can I.”

C- “Yours isn’t in front of your face.”


Pictured: Anonymous Hand Model demonstrating CD watching Telegraph Hill scene.

Pictured: Anonymous Hand Model demonstrating CD watching Telegraph Hill scene.

The scene goes on with the two of them canoodling on a bench, and you start to wonder if that’s a fog machine in the background or actual heat rising. You think to yourself, “The Code people thought the line about sleeping with sheep, in Seven Brides, was suggestive, BUT THIS WAS JUST A-OKAY?” You curse Dore Schary’s name, which is actually no different than usual because you’re a musical fan. First, he ruined Esther Williams, and now you?! What a rotten… Whoa, hold up, did I just halfway defend Esther Williams? PROGRESS!

This movie is a must see, just for that scene. If anyone has ever told you that Star Lady A and Star Dude B had a really romantic love scene, and it’s the be all and end all of love scenes, you trot this out. This is….. I have yet to recover. Side note- the snippet that’s in the trailer? That’s not the cut they used, in the film. SO THIS SCENE WAS FILMED MULTIPLE TIMES AND I’M JUST DONE.



Have more pictures.


You must have this movie in your life. You can buy it from Warner Archive HERE.

The Cinema Dilettante will return, shortly, with Part 3 of The Case Of The Diva’s Devotees. In the meantime… she’s gonna go watch this movie for the 87th time because Life Choices.


5 thoughts on “Key To The City (1950)

  1. I love Key to the City. First saw it many years ago on TV and I’ve watched it so many times since then. It’s weird how quite a few of the movies I love are partially or fully set in San Francisco..

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