My husband and I have a long-running, never-to-be-resolved argument about which Tom McGuane novel set in Key West is better. He likes Panama, I prefer 92 in the Shade. But there’s no dispute about which was made into a better movie, mainly because, to my knowledge, they never made a movie of Panama. The movie version of 92 in the Shade, however, is not only an entertaining film with a knockout cast (Peter Fonda! Warren Oates! Harry Dean Stanton! Elizabeth Ashley! Margot Kidder!). It’s essential viewing for anyone interested in Key West’s recent history, especially of that really really interesting era when the Navy was leaving, the new bridges and water line weren’t here yet and marijuana smuggling was completely out of hand.
McGuane himself wrote the screenplay AND directed (no comment here on whether that’s a good idea) and lots of it was shot in Key West. In other words, a great document of classic 1970s Key West. Plus an entertaining movie.
It was distributed on VHS — unfortunately the copy at the Monroe County Library seems to have gone missing — but has not, to my knowledge been released on DVD. You can, however, see the film right here in Key West with a bunch of other Key Westers this Saturday, March 28 — in a special showing that will benefit Heron Peacock Supported Living. VIP tickets are $60; regular admission is $25 and it all takes place at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort. For tickets or more information call Sherry Read at 305-294-2648 or email her at sherrykw2 at aol.com.