If the sheer number of Leonard adaptations is remarkable, what is more remarkable still is how few of them are any good.
No one was more aware of, or blunt about, this disappointing onscreen record than Leonard himself. His first crime novel, The Big Bounce
, was twice adapted for film, in 1969 and 2004. Leonard memorably described the earlier effort as the “second-worst movie ever made”; it was not until he saw the 2004 version, he later said, that he knew what movie was the worst.
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Jan 3, 2014 -
"At the trial
, the DA told the jury that Joseph was a criminal type who had never been able to hold a steady job because he was simply too lazy to work. Joseph lost his head. The sheriff took him back to his cell. Joseph told the sheriff that the DA had made him mad when he called him lazy. He wasn’t lazy. He had robbed Wilbert German. That proved that the DA was wrong, as no one who was as lazy as the DA said he was would have gone through with the job.
The sheriff took the confession to the DA. Joseph was sentenced to two to four years in the Alleghenny workhouse." -- The story of Joseph Copple is but one of the real life crime stories found at Small Town Noir
, a blog about the criminal history of New Castle, PA, from the 1930s to the 1950s.
posted by MartinWisse
on Nov 2, 2013 -
Flatland: Fallen Angle [Flash]
is a Noir
-influenced game inspired by Edwin Abbot's 1884 novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions [Previously]
. The streets in this scenario may not appear rain-drenched, but perceiving the Z-axis is a luxury few people in this city can afford...
posted by Smart Dalek
on Aug 19, 2013 -
"What is a cult film? A cult film is one that has a passionate following, but does not appeal to everyone. James Bond movies are not cult films, but chainsaw movies are. Just because a film has become a cult movie does not automatically guarantee quality. Some are very bad; others are very, very good. Some make an awful lot of money at the box office; others make no money at all. Some are considered quality films; others are exploitation movies. One thing cult movies do have in common is that they are all genre films - for example gangster films or westerns. They also have a tendency to slosh over from one genre into another, so that a science fiction film might also be a detective movie, or vice versa. They share common themes as well, themes that are found in all drama: love, murder and greed."
- of the British TV film slots accompanied by an introduction perhaps the most celebrated
, running between 1988 and 2000 and presented first by Repo Man director Alex Cox
and then film critic Mark Cousins
. [more inside]
posted by Artw
on Aug 3, 2012 -
The Big Sleep is a film I have found a very intense love for. The rotating cast of shadowy crooks and deceptive dames coupled with the roller-coaster plotting makes this classic movie endlessly entertaining. Bogart and Bacall are electrifying together and the supporting cast is equally captivating. Considering it’s over 60 years old,
The Big Sleep still works in a big bad way and feels fantastically modern. It’s as if the film is simply too fast and too entertaining to age. It was crafted by the hands of some of Hollywood’s finest artists at the time and oozes quality as a result. Most of all though, this movie is just pulpy, fearless, fun and really, really cool.
- Pictures and Noise [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Apr 7, 2012 -
After 25 years I revisited To Live and Die In L.A. (1985), William Friedkin's cynical, fatalistic, hardboiled and high-energy crime noir about corruption and survival in the city of no angels. The script is literate, the characters are believable, the performances are brutally honest, the unpredictable twists keep coming, the action never stops, and the car chase is shot for real without any fake process. (spoilers)
posted by Trurl
on Nov 4, 2011 -
[Arthur Penn's Night Moves
] does belong to a traditional, indeed obsolescent genre, but the distance it keeps from it (not an ironic or critical distance, just a distance) is such that genre-related expectations become irrelevant. Most of the time, the story line seems to meander aimlessly, taking in extraneous material, doubling back, going round in circles (the aimless is deceptive, a smoke screen obfuscating the complex, rigorous organization of an exceptionally well-structured script). The "mystery" aspect of the plot is dealt with in the most peculiar, topsy-turvy manner, withholding not the solution of the problem but the problem itself until the very end, when, in a dazzling visual tour de force, both are conjured up almost simultaneously.
- Jean Pierre Coursodon [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Oct 1, 2011 -
Thomas Pynchon’s latest novel Inherent Vice
, is causing quite a stir
, and not just because all his novels cause a stir. It seems the author of epic novels of giant adenoids and invisible clockwork ducks has written a-gasp
-detective novel, which weighs in at an astoundingly reasonable 384 pages. Some have noted confusion among Pynchon aficionados at the author’s choice to work in such a genre. One writer has used the opportunity
to examine why supposed “literary” writers have turned to the crime genre with varying degrees of success, and at least one critic seems genuinely put out
by Pynchon’s creative choice.
posted by dortmunder
on Aug 3, 2009 -
Editor Marty Halpern looks back at the career of George Alec Effinger (part 1
, part 2
, part 3
), a prolific author best known for his work set in the Budayeen
, a walled city in a future Islamic state, teeming with gangsters, hustlers and transsexual prostitutes, many of them habitual users of plug in personality modules. The noirish tone and exotic technology of the Marîd Audran
books (When Gravity Fails, A Fire In The Sun, The Exile Kiss) made Effinger one of the leading lights in the cyberpunk movie, and spawned a videogame
- a rare attempt at a graphical adventure from Infocom - and an RPG setting
. Sadly Effinger faded from prominence
after that, and he suffered from a number of health and financial setbacks before passing away
in 2002. His work has had somewhat of a resurgence in popularity of late, with the Marîd Audran books coming back into print in 2007, a long with a collection
containing The Wolves of Memory, Effinger's personal favourite amongst his novels.
posted by Artw
on Jun 9, 2009 -
"To make off with hubby's fortune, yea, I think I heard of that happenin' once or twice around L.A. And… you want me to do what exactly?" He found the paper bag he'd brought his supper home in and got busy pretending to scribble notes on it, because straight-chick uniform, makeup supposed to look like no makeup or whatever, here came that old well-known hard-on Shasta was always good for sooner or later. Does it ever end, he wondered. Of course it does. It did. Thomas Pynchon
's next novel, the 416-page Inherent Vice
, is described by Penguin Press
as "part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon — private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog." While we wait for its August 4 publication, we can read an essay on the dystopian musical he co-wrote at Cornell
or watch a clip of that movie they made of Gravity's Rainbow
. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Feb 6, 2009 -
"Officer Sean Devlin, Narcotics Strike Force, was working the morning shift. Undercover surveillance. The neighborhood? Tough as a threedollar steak. Devlin knew. Five years on the beat, nine months with the Strike Force. He’d made fifteen, twenty drug busts in the neighborhood." Dashiell Hammett? Raymond Chandler? Nope. Chief Justice John Roberts
posted by Knappster
on Nov 4, 2008 -
Real L.A. Noir.
(Video/audio auto-plays). Los Angeles Times
reporter Paul Lieberman has been chronicling the era of the LAPD Gangster Squad, a secret division of the department that tried to combat the mobs of Jack Dragna and Mickey Cohen in the 1940s and '50s. (Keep the cast of characters straight with this handy chart
posted by Bookhouse
on Nov 1, 2008 -
American audiences remember Akira Kurosawa
as the genius of the samurai epic, a past master who used the form both to revise and revive Western classics - Shakespeare with Ran
and Throne of Blood,
Dostoevsky with Red Beard
and The Idiot,
Gorky with The Lower Depths
- and to give splendid and ultimately immortal life to new archetypes, as in The Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo.
But Kurosawa also made films of his own time. His masterpiece,
in fact, was the quiet story of a gray Japanese bureaucrat dying in post-war Tokyo, and of his attempt to do something of lasting good before he leaves. The film is Ikiru
("To Live"; 1952). [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on Jan 29, 2008 -
"But, it's a post on film noir!"
I told her. She jerked away from me like a startled fawn might, if I had a startled fawn and it jerked away from me. I knew that caving into my desires meant I might lose her. But I didn't care. I went out to the kitchen to make coffee
-- yards of coffee. Rich, strong, bitter, boiling hot, ruthless, depraved. I knew she'd be back. [more inside]
posted by miss lynnster
on Jan 11, 2008 -
Some of you may have seen the feature film Brick
; I thought it one of the best of the year and among the better debuts I've seen in a long time. Writer-Director Rian Johnson offers up
the shooting script and original novella for free on his site. Fun for fans of noir, high school flicks, or MeFites gaggle of screenwriters.
posted by dobbs
on Oct 2, 2006 -
is no longer John Doe
. If you read the article noting every occurrence of the word "Madison" and how each differs from the others you'll see why I find this nifty. (I think they'll eventually decide it was suicide.)
posted by davy
on Oct 19, 2005 -