Wednesday 29 February 2012

Thinking Man's Noir


 It was as close as i ever got to cleanliness and freedom, as far as i ever got from all the people. They had jerry-built the beaches from San Diego to the Golden Gate, bulldozed super-highways through the mountains, cut down a thousand years of Redwood growth and built an urban wilderness in the desert. They couldn't touch the ocean. They poured their sewage into it but it couldn't be tainted.

Drowning Pool
Ross MacDonald

Tuesday 28 February 2012

A One-Armed Stranger

          Spencer Tracy's only foray into anything with a Noirish feel and the theme of an unwelcome one-armed stranger arriving in a remote desert town where the townsfolk are covering a dark secret works well for fans of Noir and also the modern Western.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Chester Himes

           They were standing around the kitchen table. The window looked out on 142nd street. Snow was falling on the ice-locked piles of garbage stretching like levees along the gutters as far as the eye could see.
                                                         ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~                                
           Imabelle was Jackson's woman. She was a cushion-lipped , hot bodied , banana skin chick with the speckled brown eyes of a teaser and the high arched, ball-bearing hips of a natural born amante. Jackson was crazy for her as a moose for doe.

A Rage in Harlem
Chester Himes

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Missing Person

      It's a while since we have seen a better portrayal of an alcoholic private detective than by Michael Shannon in Noah Buschel's 2009 washed-out Noir. For me it's a shade Coenesque and even hints occasionally at Willeford humour. Amy Ryan is also great in an understated background role and as IMDB reviewer Grady Harp says there's a missing person in most of us.       

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Black Coffee

                                I'm feelin mighty lonesome
                                I haven't slept a wink
                                I walk the floor from nine to four
                                In between i drink
                                Black coffee
                                Love's a hand me down brew
                                I'll never know a sunday
                                In this weekday room

Black Coffee
Peggy Lee 
(Burke/ Webster)

Monday 13 February 2012

Mex Noir

A 1974 mixture of modern day western from Peckinpah's original background and the pulp Noir we all love. Some reckon it is Warren Oates' best acting performance as he seeks to bring back a piece of the guy who raped the Mexican feudal lord's young daughter.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Wanted Man

I got sidetracked in El Paso
Stopped to get myself a map
Went the wrong way in Juarez with Juanita on my lap

Went to sleep in Shreveport
Woke up in Abilene
Wonderin' why i'm wanted at some town half way between

Wanted man in Albuquerque
Wanted man in Syracuse
Wanted man in Tallahassee
Wanted man in Baton Rouge

Wanted Man
Bob Dylan

Friday 10 February 2012

Best Laid Plans

         A small town 1999 Noir shot around Bakersfield CA and still relatively obscure despite it's strong performances and echoes of classic Thompson/Cain style and plot. An old college buddy, a supposed rape and a dead end job lead in an inevitable direction.