Key to the City (1950)
Release Date: August 25, 1950
Directed by: George Sidney
Available on DVD through The Warner Brothers Archive Collection
Gable is Steve Fisk, the boorish mayor of Puget City, who meets Clarissa Standish (Young), the stuffy mayor of Winona, Maine at the annual mayors conference in San Francisco. They fall in love despite their differences but trouble arises as they try to make their relationship work outside the convention.
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“Yeah the claw’s the right arm of a longshoreman. He fights, lives, does everything but make love to it.” first line
“Did dignity get me elected? Come on.”
“Not many mayors are pretty enough or have the figure to be mistaken for an atom dancer.”
“I don’t start anything I can’t finish. If I tell you I love you, I mean it.”
“What do you want to marry me for anyway? Reform me? Make a man out of me?”
“I proposed to you? All I said was, ‘You don’t want to marry a man like me.’ and you said, ‘Oh yes, I do!’ I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut!”
“You’re getting off easy. I’m going to marry her.”
“Thanks, chief, you’re right on the ball.” last line
Behind the Scenes
Filmed in six weeks. Shooting began in July of 1949.
Advertising slogan: “They fit like a key in a lock!”
Loretta Young objected to the clause in Gable’s contract that stated he only worked until 5:00pm. She resented having to film her close-ups with lines being read to her by a script girl. Knowing Gable wouldn’t relent, the director put the whole production on a 9:00am-5:00pm schedule.
The scenes set in San Francisco Chinatown were filmed in Los Angeles Chinatown.
Young fainted in Gable’s arms during the scene filmed in simulated fog. He carried her to her dressing room and she was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. She suffered a miscarriage and spent two weeks in the hospital.
Young and her husband hosted the film’s wrap party at their home on September 18, 1949. It was during the party that everyone learned that their costar, Frank Morgan, had died suddenly of a heart attack. Gable had played golf with him that very morning.