In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_hunting_ground

The Hunting Ground

The Hunting Ground could have been a series of disturbing statistics and personal stories, but the directors know that it is the survivors who are…

Thumb_maps_to_the_stars_ver8

Maps to the Stars

David Cronenberg's film of Bruce Wagner's Hollywood satire-nightmare turns ludicrous situations into operatic tragedy.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Blog Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

I, the Fury: Mickey Spillane, R.I.P.

kmd.jpg

Mickey Spillane Strips Down to Naked Fury!

Mickey Spillane, the creator of hard-fisted private eye Mike Hammer, has died at the age of 88. Several of his kiss-kiss, bang-bang pulp novels -- including "I, the Jury," "The Long Wait" and "My Gun is Quick" -- were made into movies, and Spillane himself played Mike Hammer in the 1963 picture, "The Girl Hunters" ("Trapped in a Quicksand of Love...").

But the Spillane movie masterpiece is, of course, "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955), directed by Robert Aldrich and scripted by A.I. Bezzerides. It is considered one of the bookend landmarks of the age of full-blown film noir, beginning (roughly) with Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity" (1944), and one of the most florid examples of that post-war style.

Recently, we featured Kim Morgan's appreciation of the opening shot of "Kiss Me Deadly," which is worth re-visiting. As Kim describes this crazy Pandora's Box of a movie (the inspiration for the glowing MacGuffin/Great Whatzit suitcase in "Pulp Fiction"), it's filled to bursting with "stark, hard-boiled cruelty, paranoia, insanity and psycho-sexual angst." That's a great capsule description, not only of this particular film, but of the Spillane sensibility in general.

girlhunt.jpg

Likewise, Roger Ebert summed up essential qualities of the world created by Spillane and his chain-smoking, wise-cracking partners in crime in his brief "Guide to Film Noir":

Film noir is . . .

1. A French term meaning "black film," or film of the night, inspired by the Series Noir, a line of cheap paperbacks that translated hard-boiled American crime authors and found a popular audience in France.

2. A movie which at no time misleads you into thinking there is going to be a happy ending.

3. Locations that reek of the night, of shadows, of alleys, of the back doors of fancy places, of apartment buildings with a high turnover rate, of taxi drivers and bartenders who have seen it all....


Popular Blog Posts

Notes on watching "Aliens" for the first time again, with a bunch of kids

Captain's log: eight fifth graders, one adult, one James Cameron movie.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Now, "Voyager": in praise of the Trekkiest "Trek" of all

As we mourn Abrams’ macho Star Trek obliteration, it’s a good time to revisit that most Star Trek-ian of accomplishme...

The Unloved, Part Fifteen: "The Lone Ranger" & "Heaven's Gate"

This month's Unloved looks at two films deemed disasters: Michael Cimino's "Heaven's Gate" and Gore Verbinski's "The ...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus