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?

UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Notes on Film Noir – Week 1

Here’s what I think I know about film noir. It’s a style that nobody set out to invent. There was no meeting of minds that said, “Let’s invent a new genre.” Instead, directors – a great many of them expatriates from Europe, allowed the surreal visuals and dark mood of German Expressionism to affect the look … Continue reading UN VOYAGE DANS LES TENEBRES: Notes on Film Noir – Week 1

REEL LAUGHS: Mrs. O’Malley and Mr. Malone

“Forward: The producers of this picture feel that the attorney depicted herein should be disbarred and strongly suggest that the American Bar Association do something about it.” Recently, my friend Scott K. Ratner made the claim that the wild success of the film version of Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man (1934) did much to waylay the popularity … Continue reading REEL LAUGHS: Mrs. O’Malley and Mr. Malone

COFFEE TABLE BOOK TALES: Everson’s Trio of Crime Film Classics

William K. Everson (1929 – 1996) was a film historian, educator and archivist who was one of the guiding lights in preserving films from the silent period through the 1940’s. Born in England, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1950 where he put his experience in film publicity to use for Monogram Pictures, a small, … Continue reading COFFEE TABLE BOOK TALES: Everson’s Trio of Crime Film Classics

REEL PROCEDURALS: From Headquarters (1933)

Without a doubt, the most prestigious film studio during Hollywood’s Golden Age was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Under the auspices of its leader, Louis B. Mayer, MGM adapted classics and concentrated on wholesome family fare and “big pictures.” This was the era when actors were mostly shackled to one studio, and MGM boasted of having “more stars than … Continue reading REEL PROCEDURALS: From Headquarters (1933)

A HUNDRED YEARS OF CHRISTIE – THE FINAL CHAPTER: The Millennium and Beyond

“In my end is my beginning.” Many books begin with an epigraph; Agatha Christie’s characters speak in them. The occasion, more often than not, is dark. After all, these people are bearing witness to – or maybe committing – murder.  “Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” … Continue reading A HUNDRED YEARS OF CHRISTIE – THE FINAL CHAPTER: The Millennium and Beyond

A HUNDRED YEARS OF CHRISTIE, PART SEVEN: Mistress of Media in the 80’s

When I was a student, focused on the study of literature and theatre, I learned a hard lesson: there was a schism between those works which are deemed “art” and those classified as “popular culture”. As a child, my love of comic books was derided as . . . well, childish. Studying drama at U.C. … Continue reading A HUNDRED YEARS OF CHRISTIE, PART SEVEN: Mistress of Media in the 80’s