USA – Key West, Hemingway House // Licence to Kill (1989)
Visiting the former residence of famous author Ernest Hemingway is key when at Key West. At his old office one can grasp the secrets to his emipirical writings … and then, for Bond fans, the setting once had a dramatic impact to the double-o agent, too.
Why Bond was here
After 007’s (Timothy Dalton) best buddy Felix Leiter (David Hedison) gets beaten up by the gang of drug impresario Sanchez (Robert Davi) – Leiter disagreed to something that ate him – James Bond goes on a private vendetta. This doesn’t go unnoticed by the MI6, as they want their agent back on the tracks and on a mission in Istanbul. Bond gets picked up by fellow agents on the streets of Key West and is brought to the former residence of famous writer Ernest Hemingway. Usually cramped with tourists, the house is closed for a private soiree this time. MI6 chief M (Robert Brown) made it his, well, instant office. He meets Bond at the gallery of the Hemingway house and revokes his licence. 007 becomes a renegade.
Before going to Key West it’s all about choices: by air, by land or by sea? The Key West International Airport is in the southeast of Key West. Most flights to the southern tip of Florida are routed via Miami International and often include a change into smaller planes called “puddle jumpers”. Flights are leaving Miami daily and take about 45 minutes for around 200 US-Dollars one-way.
More down-to-earth is driving with a rental car or taking a bus tour from Miami along Highway No. 1 – who was also used in the movie. Almost every big car rental company is available in Miami, offering weekend packages with cars for 45$/day and unlimited miles. Easier is going by bus, e.g. Greyhound, starting from Miami for roughly 100 US-Dollars both ways. Or go by boat, e.g. Key West Express, leaving Miami around 6pm, dancing through the night at one of the few bars and clubs in Key West, and indulging in a great sunrise on the way back to Miami. Tickets for the boat rides must be purchased some days in advance and range about 120 US-Dollar for both ways.
Once at Key West, almost everything is explorable by foot. Grabbing a taxi is always possible – and recommendable in the very hot summer right before Hurricane season starts. The Hemingway House is on Whitehead Street, just one parallel to pub crawl famous Duval Street.
Good to know
The house – built in 1851 – was home to Ernest Hemingway and his wife Mary from 1931 to 1939. It sold 1961 by Hemingways widow and then turned 1968 into the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum. It’s open to public every day from 9am to 5pm even on national holidays. The entrance fee, for adults 13$ and children 6$, includes a guided tour over the ground. The gallery where the scene with Bond and M was filmed is reachable from the first building, while Hemingway’s office – filled with memorabilia from his journeys – is in the second building behind.
The House was romantic and, as decayed as it is, beautiful. Keeping the books and other personal items of legendary author Ernest Hemingway give the house a cozy touch. Much fun are also the annual Hemingway Days with its look-a-like-contest. Enjoy a beer at Sloppy Joe’s – Hemingway’s favorite bar – while viewing the spectacle.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3), © 1989 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Danjaq, LLC. (2)