Sunday, March 18, 2012

92 In The Shade Movie

This essay was first posted December 22nd 2007, a review of a classic Key West film that would make a pleasant afternoon's entertainment on these seasonably windy afternoons we are having this Spring in the Keys. In the Caribbean the strong winds in winter are known as The Christmas Trade Winds; here in the almost-Caribbean we have powerful Spring winds most years.

A sunny afternoon at home with one's feet up.


" I guess I've had an adventure. At least I moved to Key West. I thought I was leaving the real world behind." So says Peter Fonda's father William Hickey, in the movie 92 In The Shade, as he tries to dispense fatherly advice in the face of a threat against the life of his son. The film was made in 1975 on location in Key West, which is probably its greatest claim to fame. The plot is simple, the pacing languid and the characters not too complex, which happens to work well enough for the setting. Some parts of the film are depressingly true to 21st century life in Key West, and the old saying about the more things change the more they stay the same comes ringing through. I noticed the Pirate Torture Museum of Key West as a backdrop in one night scene, so I guess the Pirates in Key West myth has been propagated for some considerable time, and visitors have been bamboozled by that one for decades apparently. The waters, the fishing the beaches are all in place as they always have been. The streets are similar, the houses and greenery lining them are there and the essential quality of other worldliness that attracts people to Key West is in evidence. Old bars, long gone will cheer the hearts of old timers, but my brief visit in 1981 wasn't stamped strongly enough to enable me to remember much. I think the other side of Key West, the drab, hard scrabble, know-nothing booziness is clearly portrayed in a way that looks cool on film but reminds one that life in Key West has long been nasty and tough. The plot is simple enough. Tom Skelton is a talented flats fisherman and gets hazed by the old timers on the dock who are threatened by his potential. Warren Oates plays Nichol Dance, Fishing Guide and all around nasty guy. Tom doesn't take kindly to the practical joke Nichol plays on him, and overreacts to establish his turf and the retaliation spirals down from there. Throw in Burgess Meredith as his weird old monied grandfather, a bra-less girlfriend, Elizabeth Ashley and a crusty Greek Chorus played by Harry Dean Stanton and all Key West needs to be is a pretty backdrop. That's what its about really, its just a B movie set in the Fabulous Florida Keys, and the locations are real even if moved around a little.

Bridge Fishing

I like the old Flagler Bridge that connects Cudjoe to Sugarloaf Keys.


Cheyenne likes it too and she enjoys wandering the bushes next to the bridge also.


While people stand like mannequins dipping dead worms in the water Cheyenne stumped down to water level to make sure there wasn't any edible trash going to waste.


I can't say I have ever understood the attraction of the sport, and after years in the Keys, paradise for anglers, I still don't.


The views are pleasant enough.


And the bridge itself has been beautifully refurbished by the great State of Florida.


Cheyenne loves to hunt for abandoned bait fish.


With a strong east wind blowing up Bow Channel the waters take on a steely gray color.


But for these people chasing fish is more important than checking out pansy views.


Some people like to spend money chasing fish on the water.


Women can be martyrs to fish hunters. This one I don't get at all. Many women love to fish, you see them all the time on the bridges with poles, but to be out here wind blown and bored without even a book (or a Kindle) blows my mind.


Te bridge is also home to families cycling together. They liked Cheyenne but happily my pink Crocs kept them at bay.


And to cap it all we found dead fish strewn around the parking area. Raw fish does not appeal to Cheyenne but she gave them some close scrutiny before leaving them where she found them.


And I scrutinized this abandoned bra for some time trying to figure out what the story could possibly be. Nothing good I think.


I have no idea how the bloodmobile got into this essay, but here it is on it's way to Summerland Key for a round up of donors.


I have a rather rare blood type but can't give because I had Heptatis A, contracted in Africa when I was a wild motorcycling youth and not very conscious of cleanliness as I camped rough through Nigeria and Cameroon and ate whatever I found. The interior of the bus is therefore a mystery to me and all the more fascinating for it.


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