USA – Key West, Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea // Licence to Kill (1989)
Off party-pumped Duval Street and the Hemingway Home, there is not much to do or see at Key West. Well, unless you want to marry somebody…
Why Bond was here
It’s wedding season: 007’s best buddy and US colleague Felix Leiter (David Hedison) gets married on Key West – just minutes after he and Bond (Timothy Dalton) hunted down drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) in the nearby Bahamas. Leiter “comes down” the aisle with a parachute right in front of the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea. After the Leiter wedding ceremony, the reception is at Leiter’s home some blocks south. There, Bond learns, that Sanchez escaped security – and wants revenge on the newly-weds.
The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea is on the corner of Truman Avenue and Windsor Lane on United States’ southernmost island Key West. The scenes at the Leiter wedding party had been filmed at 707 South Street, which today is a private residence.
Key West can be reached by air, by land or by sea. The Key West International Airport is connected to the Miami International. Flights are leaving Miami daily and take about 45 minutes for around 200 US-Dollars one-way. A more individual option is to drive with a rental car or to take a bus from Miami along Highway No. 1 – who was featured in the hunt on Sanchez at the opening scene. Car rental companies offer weekend packages for 45$/day and unlimited miles. The Greyhound bus goes from Miami for roughly 100 US-Dollars both ways. Boats, e.g. Key West Express, leave Miami around 6pm, to bring customers in for the Key West nightlife. Tickets for the boat rides must be purchased some days in advance and range about 120 US-Dollar for both ways.
Once at Key West, the best way is to follow Whitehead Street south from Mallory Square (and stop by the Hemingway House, that serves as M’s office in the movie). Otherwise go by bus: The green and blue bus lines of Key West do circles around the island. Get off at stations “South & Simonton” or “South & Reynolds” for the Leiter mansion. From there, the Basilica is just a little walk north.
Good to know
When the sun sets, Key West is not a place for marriage anymore – with its famous Duval Street its more a place of peccadillo. Visitors love to do the “Duval Crawl”, a tour-de-booze along Duval Street starting at the northern end with the Gulf of Mexico in the back. Goal would be to make it to the southern end on the Atlantic ocean – with numerous beer stops at the Duval’s most famous bars.
A Key West Bar Card offeres 2-for-1-deals at some bars and some agencies offer guided crawls – but seriously, you won’t need any guidance to find an encouraging bartender at Key West! Most famous boozers along the street are Sloppy Joe’s, Ernest-Hemingway-acclaimed for its rum drinks and the Green Parrot, Key West’s oldest running cantina.
We came here in the summer heat – and just missed a local bus. As we didn’t want to hop on one of the touristic trains on wheels, the Conch Tour Trains that roam the island, we had to walk it all. Don’t do it: It’s all sweat and boredom. Unfortunately off Duval Street and Mallory Square, Key West doesn’t have much to offer.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3), © 1989 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation (2)