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The Key (Columbia, 1958)

The Key is a British-American war film set in 1941 during the Battle of the Atlantic. It was based on the 1951 novel Stella by Jan de Hartog (later republished as The Distant Shore and The Key). William Holden, Sophia Loren and Trevor Howard star. During the war, successive British tug boat captains sent on dangerous salvage mission pass on the key to a home-port flat where a lonely Swiss-Italian young war-widow (Loren) lives. The latest captain (Holden) struggles with his conflicting fears and affection for its apparent jinx.

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