The passing of the wonderful Lauren Bacall at age 89 yesterday gives me the opportunity to indulge in a little cheese from the early 80s. Not that Bacall was associated with this song in any way, or that the memory of her life and work deserves to be linked to what is, quite frankly, an awful song and a worse video.
I had never seen the video for Bertie Higgins’ “Key Largo” before, and I’m kind of sorry that I did. It’s even more cheesy than the song, which is no mean feat. (I know this was made in 1982, and no one really quite knew what to do with music videos yet, but that’s no excuse for this dreck.) Higgins just comes off as creepy. And it’s a good thing the girl didn’t have any lines, because she can’t even act with facial expressions and body language. (Unlike Bacall, who could convey a dozen different things with one little flick of an eyelash. She was that good.)
The video almost ruins the song for me. Almost. But I have a pretty high tolerance (and great love for) 70s/80s cheese. And, really, there’s just not that much to ruin here. “Key Largo” is just a step below “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” in quality–that at least had some narrative coherence. But I find it fun to listen to anyway. As long as I don’t have to look at Bertie Higgins attempt to gaze soulfully at a girl half his age. (Seriously, Bacall might have been half of Bogie’s age, but at 19 she was at least legal. I’m not so sure about the chick in the video.)