It was a joy and a thrill to join film scholar Kevin Heffernan and Mike White, host of the terrific Projection Booth podcast, for an episode of his show on what is probably my favourite film noir, Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955).
Kiss Me Deadly is one of those films I watch every year or so and always find something new to appreciate about it. Talking with my two co-podcasters, I discovered even more to like about it. Issues canvassed during this podcast include:
Mike Hammer (and Mickey Spillane) as the personification of the crisis in post WWII masculinity, and the women in the film as examples of females who are fighting against the confines of their role in American society in the 1950s.
The film’s popularity in France, particularly within surrealist circles for its depiction of the incoherence of everyday life and mass commercial culture.
The Cold War nuclear state, paranoia and surveillance.
THAT answering machine.
Ernest Laszlo’s sensational cinematography.
Los Angeles’ former Bunker Hill area as the 1940s/50s B-movie/noir outdoor film shooting location of choice.
The psychiatrist as an archetypal villain in 1940s/1950s American film.
Other fictional noir detective equivalents to Mike Hammer, including Harry Moseby in Arthur Penn’s 1975 film, Night Moves (okay that last part might of been just me).… Read more
Posted in 60s American crime films, 70s American crime films, Film Noir, Gene Hackman, Ian Fleming, Neo Noir, Pulp fiction
Tagged A. I. Bezzerides, Albert Dekker, Arthur Penn, Bunker Hill, Cloris Leachman, Ernest Laszlo, Film noir, French Surrealism, Gaby Rogers, Jack Elam, Jack Lambert, Kiss Me Deadly (1955), Marion Carr, Maxine Cooper, Mickey Spillane, Night Moves (1975), Ralph Meeker, Robert Aldrich, Strother Martin, The Projection Booth podcast
It’s always tempting to start a post about a movie like Dark of the Sun by saying they don’t make them like this any more. I say this about movies a lot, particularly movies from the 1960s and 1970s. But I’m not entirely sure they made many films like this all that often back then either.
Dark of the Sun (aka The Mercenaries) was directed by legendary British cinematographer, Jack Cardiff, and adapted from a 1965 adventure novel by the African-born British writer, Wilbur Smith, not really a regular fixture on my reading list but my late dad loved his books.
The movie stars Rod Taylor as Captain Bruce Curry – in what is commonly agreed to be his best role – as a cynical, tough as nails mercenary. Curry is paid by President Ubi (the wonderful Calvin Lockhart), the sleazy head of a teetering African state, and his fat Belgium mining company overlord, to lead a detachment of local soldiers on a steam train to a remote township and rescue the Europeans surrounded by rebels known as the Simbas.
Curry knows the real mission is to retrieve 50 million dollars in diamonds sitting in the township’s time-locked vault. Ubi needs the diamonds to weapons to fight the rebels. “I’m running out of time Captain,” Ubi tells to Curry.… Read more
Posted in Crime fiction and film from Africa, Heist films, Jim Brown
Tagged "Mad Mike" Hoare, Calvin Lockhart, Charles Taylor, Dark of the Sun (1968), Jack Cardiff, Jacques Loussier, Jim Brown, Kenneth Moore, Opening Wednesday at a Theatre or Drive In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American '70s, Peter Carsten, Rod Taylor, The Last Grenade (1970), The Mercenaries (1968), Wilbur Smith, Wild Geese (1978), Yvette Mimieux
A very quick heads up that pre-orders are now open for the re-released version of my novel, Gunshine State, which will be dropping from Down and Out Books on February 26.
It is available via this link here in e-book and paperback.
Gunshine State is a heist thriller set in Queensland, Melbourne and Thailand. Think Richard Stark’s Parker, Garry Disher’s Wyatt, and Wallace Stroby’s Crissa Stone. Add a touch of Surfers Paradise sleaze and a very dangerous stopover in Asia.
Gary Chance is a former Australian army driver, ex-bouncer and thief. His latest job sees him in Queensland working for Dennis Curry, an aging Surfers Paradise standover man. Curry runs off-site, non-casino poker games, and wants to rob one of his best customers, a high roller called Frederick ‘Freddie’ Gao. While the job may seem straightforward, Curry’s crew is anything but. Frank Dormer is a secretive former Australian soldier turned private security contractor. Sophia Lekakis is a highly-strung receptionist at the hotel where Gao stays when he visits Surfers. Amber is Curry’s female housemate and part of the lure for Gao. Chance knows he can’t trust anyone, but nothing prepares him for what unfolds when Curry’s plan goes wrong.
As part of the re-release the new book will include the first 5000 or so words of my follow up, Orphan Road.… Read more
Jack Waters is the latest book by the Brooklyn based crime author Scott Adlerberg. I make no bones about being a fan of Adlerberg’s work. One thing I particularly like is how, as an author, he is not content just to keep hitting the same note in his work.
His debut, Spiders and Flies, dealt with the predatory ambitions of a bored American fugitive on the lam in Martinque, towards a wealthy couple visiting their young daughter who is living on the island. It read like one of those exploitation crime films that were common in the eighties.
Graveyard Love switched gears completely, and delivered a giallo-style tale of a thirty five year old psychologically disturbed loner who lives with his highly strung artist mother, and his obsession with the mysterious red headed woman who regularly visits one of the crypts in the graveyard opposite their house.
In Jack Waters, Adlerberg continues his reinvention, penning an historical crime story about a rakish New Orleans schemer, the title character, whose one great passion in life is playing cards, and whose one major dislike is people who cheat. Water’s private code gets him into trouble when he kills a man for cheating, the son of a wealthy and influential Louisianan businessman.… Read more
Late last year the German culture website, CulturMag, asked me to nominate my top 10 reads for 2017. My list is now live (and in English), along with contributions from a number of other individuals and can be seen in full here.
As usual, it is a mix of old and new fiction, as well as some of the non-fiction books I enjoyed. What were your top crime reads of 2017?
Posted in Australian crime fiction, Crime fiction and film from Mexico, Neo Noir, Pulp fiction, Pulp fiction in the 70s and 80s, Pulp paperback cover art, Ted Lewis
Tagged Day In, Day Out, Getting Carter: Ted Lewis and the Birth of Brit Noir, Grady Hendrix, Hector Aguilar Camin, Iain Ryan, Julie Szego, Laura Elizabeth Woolett, Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of ‘70s and ‘80s Horror Fiction, Ted Lewis, The Jones Men, The Love of a Bad Man, The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Tales of Conspiracy Noir, The Student, The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama, Three Hours Past Midnight, Tony Knighton, Vern E Smith