Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thomas McGuane is a writer I read a lot of in my early-twenties. I came to his work after coming home late one night, just in time for the start of a 1975 film on one of the two uncabled channels my TV had to offer, based on his book of the same name -- 92 in the Shade (1973). How often does that happen, where a novelist writes and directs the film adaptation of his book? (Pasolini wrote the novel Teorema while making the film version.)

92 in the Shade is the story of a young man named "Tom Skelton" (played by Peter Fonda in the film), who returns to his hometown of Key West from what could only be described as "the Sixties." His intention is to start again, for real this time, doing all he knows how to do, and that is skiff-guiding. Confronting him is "Nichol Dance" (played by Warren Oates), a man who "can't get no creedence," and who sees Skelton as a threat.

Below is a crucial scene in the film, where "Dance" spells it out:

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