The Long Goodbye (Raymond Chandler)

The Long Goodbye is widely considered Raymond Chandler’s swan song to arguably literature’s greatest detective. Often cited as the gold standard in crime fiction, this one snapped up the Edgar Award for best novel in 1955, is listed on countless “best of” compilations, and has influenced a generation of mystery and crime writers. It’s been noted that a few of the characters in the novel were used as a way for Chandler to clear his mind. He used them to express his innermost thoughts on the state of society, his frustrations as a writer and his internal struggle with whether or not he should commit suicide. [Read more…]

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Slayground (Richard Stark)

This is the fourteenth entry in Richard Stark’s (the writer’s real name Was Donald E Westlake) excellent series about Parker, the amoral criminal whose carefully-laid plans almost always come undone because of some unforeseen accident or because of an act of carelessness by one of the other crooks involved in the plan. In this case, it’s the getaway driver who screws everything up. This is not the driver that Parker would have preferred, but it’s the driver that Parker had to settle for. And it’s Parker who will now have to pay the price. [Read more…]

The Killing (1956 USA)

killingThis film is not only Stanley Kubrick’s first acclaimed picture, but it is also credited with inventing the concept of non-linear story telling for the film industry. More recent flicks that have used this technique are Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects. A lot of noirs from the 50’s can be extremely slow and, to be frank, boring. But this didn’t bore me for a second. In Kubrick’s later films he tends to pad out the narrative, but here he keeps it economical. [Read more…]

CHINATOWN (1974 United States)

faye“You’ve seen it all years ago”, my ex-wife liked to say. “Why would you wanna see it again?” Like many of you, I feel like I have seen too much, but what the hell. If this blog is my second wife then I have to heed her call to “fill me up!” You, the voters, need something new to read, right? Never mind the spoilers, here’s the review… [Read more…]

ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS (1957/8 France)

5110f1ab49e57_267051bAs I type these words I feel like Prince Charles’ fingertips. Or where ever his brain is located. Is this story an answer to his question “whatever love means?” If this is love, then it makes everyone thoroughly miserable. They are fighting back the tears, digging their nails into the palm of their hand or turning their face toward a rain-soaked wall. But as an Anglo-Saxon what do I know? Maybe this is normal. [Read more…]

SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950 United States)

tumblr_lsx24srsMH1qacnpio1_1280Oh the heart-ache, the love, the tragedy, the ambition! Sunset Boulevard is one of the most interesting tales to have ever been on-screen. The seamy, unclean underside of “Hollywood” is given flesh and blood by William Holden in his calculating manipulation, and Gloria Swanson, by her cold, grasping desperation. [Read more…]

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