THE PROBLEM OF 1926: When Authors Become Characters

"I coulda been a contender . . . " How many times have you asked yourself, “Why did Brad choose not to be famous?” Don’t worry – I get this all the time, but the answer is simple: had I chosen a life of celebrity, it wouldn’t have been long before the books and movies … Continue reading THE PROBLEM OF 1926: When Authors Become Characters

UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES – Le Bonus

Like a second-place contestant on Jeopardy, my fellow students and I weren’t allowed to leave our class on 1940’s film noir without a parting gift: our instructor Elliot Lavine sent us links to seven further films that he claims he could have added to our pile of twenty-four had their only been time. Not all of them are … Continue reading UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES – Le Bonus

UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Week 10 – Worshipping at the Alton of Noir

Ten weeks ago, I decided to share with you my journey through a world of 40’s film noir that I watched as part of my course “Primacy of the Visual,” taught by Elliot Lavine through Stanford University. Twenty-four films later, I am so grateful to Elliot for allowing me to visit a few favorites, for introducing me … Continue reading UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Week 10 – Worshipping at the Alton of Noir

UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Week 8 – Mid(century) Evil Woman

Most of the time it’s easy to kick back and enjoy an old movie for its story, its performances, and – as often happens in the case of film noir – its distinctive look. But sometimes, like when you’ve been sitting isolated for over fourteen months and you’ve been forced to watch one major political party do … Continue reading UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Week 8 – Mid(century) Evil Woman

UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Week 6 – The Champagne of Noir

The French didn’t so much invent film noir as identify and elevate it. They took genre more seriously than the American film industry, which saw golden financial returns for movies that were cheaply made. The studios were all about the almighty dollar. When Hitler was on the rise, Hollywood was reticent about taking a stand for an … Continue reading UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Week 6 – The Champagne of Noir

UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Week 3 – The Wide Swath of Warner Brothers

Mystery is my genre of choice, but my first love was the musical. Picture a kid of seven, reclining on his tummy in front of my parents’ enormous wi-fi stereo console. There I wore down the few cast albums we owned: Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza in South Pacific, Judy Holliday and Sydney Chaplin in Bells Are … Continue reading UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Week 3 – The Wide Swath of Warner Brothers

UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Week 2 – Film Noir Lite?

Warning: SPOILERS ahead!! Not all noir films are whodunnits, but I Wake Up Screaming and Laura most definitely are. If you haven’t watched either film yet . . . well, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!!? Put this down, and go watch these films immediately. Then we’ll talk! The two films we watched for our second Film Noir class with Elliot Lavine through Stanford University … Continue reading UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Week 2 – Film Noir Lite?