When World War II ended, my dad was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army Air Corp. He and his brother Paul celebrated by taking a trip to South Florida. While attending the Tropics Nightclub featuring the Tony Pastor orchestra, my dad met my mom and the rest is history.
The Last Resort begins its history discussing the advent of air conditioning and how it led to the real estate boom during the post World War II years. Many of the urban dwellers were European Jews who were transplanting from New York, some retirees from garment districts. There was a vivid night life which featured Big Band dances that led comedian Jackie Gleason to relocate his Saturday Night variety show from New York to Miami Beach. By the 1970s, many retirees moved into the hotels and became known as the “porch sitting generation.”
The buildings aged as the population aged. Once glamorous hotels became hovels of smelly incontinence. In 1980, the community became known for the Mariel boatlift and the McDuffie riots, which changed the character of Miami; it was no longer “Mollie Goldberg.” It was now "Scarface."
The visuals of this narrative are provided by the photography of Gary Monroe and Andy Sweet, who tragically become a symbol of the rise and fall of Miami Beach. Andy Sweet captured the glamour of The Last Resort culture, yet saw the seeds of corruption infiltrate his beloved community. On Oct. 6, 1982, Sweet was brutally murdered in an unsolved mystery.
While lacking tact in 1982, Gary Monroe and Florida historians eventually resurrected the photographs to create The Last Resort. By waiting to tell this story, The Last Resort is a better cinematic experience and the story is more solid. This film works as a piece of nostalgia for an older generation, but an important social studies lesson for young people, who can witness how much a culture changes in a short period of time.
As the Oscar nominees quickly make their way to home video market, it has been announced that this year’s Oscar ceremony will have no host and now will present television commercials instead of the technical achievement awards like art direction and cinematography. Beyond a good story and interesting characters, it is the visual technical component that draws ticket buyers to the big cave known as Cinema. When a creative organization loses sight of its own technical details, how much longer will it be for the consumer to lose interest in a creative organization’s product?