“Key West”, 1973

Stephen Boyd made a handful of TV movies in his career. One of my favorites is ‘Key West’ from 1973. I have a feeling Stephen probably decided to do this movie because of the setting itself–the beautiful Florida Keys. ‘Key West’ was actually an NBC Movie of the Week, but it was also an unsold TV pilot (as Frankie Fane would scowl – ‘A Television Pilot!’). Apparently this could have become a weekly Television Series, which would have been very cool! It was filmed in December 1972 – January 1973, then canned for a few months as the Warner Brothers executives thought it was too ‘talky’ and ordered more action scenes added to the final cut. It finally aired on NBC, December 9, 1973. Stephen plays an ex-CIA agent (named ‘Steve’, easily enough) who has retired in the Keys, but gets caught up in a new complex plot after one of his old nemesis dies and sends his daughter to revenge his death. It’s a somewhat over-complicated plot for an hour and a half movie, but Stephen seems to be enjoying himself. Newcomer Tiffany Bolling, a blonde folk singer who posed for Playboy in 1972, makes a surprisingly strong femme fatale in this movie, and her chemistry with Stephen is great. According to Tiffany, Stephen drove a speed boat like he did a chariot! While boating with her during the filming, he hit a wave and bounced her into the water. The film also stars Woody Strode as Candy, Steve’s buddy. Woody has starred in two other movies with Boyd–Shalako in 1968, and also Genghis Khan in 1965. The delightful Sheree North plays the world-weary bartender and ex-girlfirend, Brandi.  There was also a fuss made, apparently, when Tiffany Bolling took off her clothes to swim naked for a scene in the film. Apparently tourists at the Bahia Honda State Park in Florida took offense!

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