Ocean Drive's splendid streamline moderne Cardozo Hotel radiant from the sparkling sandy beach. Tony shopping haven Lincoln Road, its abundant storefronts creating desire in all who stroll by. The spectacular pool area at the fabulous Fifties-style Fontainebleau Hotel, a sunny pit stop where the wealthy bask and splash. All sites worthy of a movie. All have starred on the silver screen at one time or another.
Never seen the films that highlight our cinematic paradise? They're ready for their closeup via Miami Design Preservation League's Sunday Movie Classics and Dinner Series, a monthly supper and screening that runs through October. Begun in July with Frank Capra's sweet 1959 musical A Hole in the Head, starring Frank Sinatra as a widower trying to keep his son and his Miami Beach hotel, the event shows both well-known and rather obscure features at historic nonmovie-house venues all over town.
This weekend the 1941 musical comedy Moon Over Miami unspools at the Miami River Inn. Betty Grable plays one of three sisters who vacate the Texas greasy spoon where they toil to vacation on Miami Beach and hunt for rich husbands. In September the Roney Palace hosts The Big Street, a little-known melodrama from 1942, which stars Henry Fonda as a bashful busboy in love with brassy saloon singer Lucille Ball in bustling New York City. When Ball's character is paralyzed in an accident, her beleaguered beau brings her down to Miami Beach.
A leap from Forties frolickers to Sixties spies closes the series when the 1964 espionage thriller Goldfinger screens at the spot of its first scene, the Fontainebleau Hotel. Sean Connery as James Bond vies against villains Auric Goldfinger and Pussy Galore, who are tampering with the gold reserves in Fort Knox. Miami Beach may figure prominently in all the films, but Goldfinger boasts the type of character you're unlikely to encounter on the skin-happy isle: evil henchman Oddjob, whose dapper attire and lethal bowler hat signal no intention of having fun in the sun.