This post is a short addendum to this piece I did on this site back in 2015 on the 5 great roles of Roy Scheider. I revisit these films every now and again and am always on the lookout for films I haven’t seen starring Scheider. So, when someone told me to check out Silence of the Lamb’s director Jonathan Demme’s thriller, Last Embrace, I was on it.
Last Embrace appeared in 1979, the same year as Scheider did his jaw dropping turn as the womanising, drug taking, dance instructor, Joe Gideon, in Bob Fosse’s All the Jazz. And, frankly, the two films couldn’t be more different.
Last Embrace sees the tanned, sinewy actor playing a character called Harry Hann, an agent for some shadowy unspecified US government intelligence agency. The film begins with Hann getting out of a sanatorium where he has been recuperating after the murder of his wife by unnamed assassins (look closely and you’ll see one of the killers is the late, great, Joe Spinell) in an attack that was obviously targeting him.
He makes his way back to New York City – nearly killing a civilian waiting for a train in PTSD flashback – and once there, goes to a makeup counter at Macy’s Herald Square, which is where he receives his assignments.… Read more
Posted in 70s American crime films, 90s American crime films, Crime film, Neo Noir, Roy Scheider
Tagged All That Jazz (1979), Janet Margolin, Joe Spinell, Jonathan Demme, Last Embrace (1979), Miklos Rozsa, Morituri (1965), Neo Noir, Roy Scheider, Silence of the Lambs (1991), Tak Fujimoto, The Deer Hunter (1978)
Back in 2016, I contributed a story to an anthology of crime fiction published by Spineless Wonders, called Crime Scenes. The story, a piece of noir writing called ‘Postcard From Cambodia’, was set in Australia and Cambodia, and I have always thought it was one of my better short fiction efforts. An abridged version of ‘Postcard From Cambodia’ was performed live a couple of years back at a bar in Sydney and was broadcast a couple of days ago on community radio 2RPH as part of ‘Little Fictions On Air’ program along with a brief commentary. For those who are interested, you can listen to the story being read by the show’s presented, Kate Liston-Mills, here.
It is certainly an experience listening to one of your stories being performed on radio, but I’ll let you be the just of whether it works or not. If you do enjoy the story I would encourage you to pick up a copy of Crimes Scenes. It is available in hardcopy from the Spineless Wonders site, and for your Kindle here. It has some terrific Australian crime stories, including work from the late Peter Corris, Tony Birch, Leigh Redhead, Angela Savage and David Whish-Wilson, among others. … Read more
Posted in Asian noir, Australian crime fiction, Australian crime film, Australian noir, Crime fiction and film from Cambodia, David Whish-Wilson, Leigh Redhead, Peter Corris
Tagged Asian noir, crime fiction in Cambodia, David Whish-Wilson, Leigh Redhead, Little fictions, Peter Corris, Postcard from Cambodia, Short fiction, Tony Birch
Confession time. I have not been reading a lot of new crime fiction in 2020 and, for reasons that I am sure many of you share, have found it hard to concentrate on reading anything during the Covid-19 lockdown. What I find has been working for me is just picking up something at random from the large number of unread books I have on my shelves and seeing how far I get. Sometimes I don’t get more than 20 pages before turning my attention to something else. Other titles I can’t put down.
Ted Lewis’s 1971 book, Plender, was definitely in the
I didn’t come to Plender completely cold. As regular readers of this site will know, I am a major Lewis fan. I have written at length about Lewis’s 1970 novel, Jack’s Return Home a.k.a Get Carter, and I reviewed Nick Triplow’s biography of Lewis by Nick Triplow, Getting Carter: Ted Lewis and the Birth of Brit Noir on this site here. Triplow had also recommended Plender at some point in our online correspondence, saying, “It’s got dirt under its nails”. I duly ordered a copy and left it on my shelf where it sat for several years.
Plender was Lewis’s follow up novel to Jack’s Return Home.… Read more
Posted in British crime cinema, British pulp fiction, Crime fiction, Crime film, David Peace, Neo Noir, Noir fiction, Ted Lewis
Tagged All the Way Home and All the Night Through, Billy Rags, British gangster cinema, British noir, David Peace, GB84, GBH, Get Carter, Get Carter (1971), Getting Carter: Ted Lewis and the Birth of Brit Noir, Jack Carter, Jack's Return Home, John McVicar, Le Serpent (2006), Michael Joesph, Michael Klinger, Mike Hodges, Nick Triplow, Plender, Red Riding Quartet, Ted Lewis, The Likely Lads, The rabbit, The Zodiac Factor, Tom Barling
Here’s the cover for the upcoming book I have co-edited with my friend, Iain McIntyre for PM Press, Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction 1950-1985. It follows on from Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular fiction l950 to 1980, and Girl Gangs, Biker Boys and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fictions and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980. Dangerous Visions and New Worlds contains some terrific writing and a heap of great SF cover art. Some of the authors covered in the book you will know. Others, I hope, won’t be so familiar. The book will around mid-2021, by which time my main concern is that the fiction featured in it will not appear nearly as dystopian the real world around us. More information as I get it. … Read more
Posted in Book cover design, Book Reviews, Dystopian cinema, Pulp fiction, Pulp fiction in the 70s and 80s, Pulp fiction set in Asia, Pulp paperback cover art, Science fiction and fantasy
Tagged Dangerous Visions and New Worlds Radical Science Fiction 1950 to 1980, Iain McIntyre, PM Press, radical science fiction, science fiction
To the degree that I was familiar with the film career of director Roger Donaldson, it was probably because he made what I would argue is one of the best American thrillers of the eighties, No Way Out (1987).
Donaldson actually had a pretty lengthy and productive directorial career after he decamped to Hollywood in the early 1980s from his native New Zealand: The Bounty (1984), Marie (1985), Cocktail (1988 – a terrible but successful film which gets a pass from me only because it features another Antipodean who was making his way in the US film industry in the 1980s, Bryan Brown), the psychological thriller, White Sands (1992), the wonderful hot garbage that was his 1994 remake of Jim Thompson’s The Getaway, with Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, and the better than average action sci fi film, Species (1995).
But over the weekend I finally caught up with the two New Zealand films that Donaldson cut his teeth on as a director and which got him noticed internationally, Sleeping Dogs (1977) and Smash Palace (1981). I don’t want to go into too much detail but having finally watched them I wanted to write a little about them, because both of them are excellent.
Sleeping Dogs was Donaldson’s first film and tells the story of a loner, simply known as Smith (a very young Sam Neill), who is estranged from his family and living in a remote part of the country when he is reluctantly swept up in an underground revolutionary movement that is fighting against a right-wing dictatorial government that has taken over New Zealand.… Read more
Posted in 80s American crime films, 90s American crime films, Bryan Brown, Crime fiction and film from New Zealand, Dystopian cinema
Tagged Anna Maria Monticelli, Bruno Lawrence, Cocktail (1988), Greer Robson, Hunt For the Wilderpeople (2016), No Way Out (1987), Roger Donaldson, Sam Neill, Sleeping Dogs (1977), Smash Palace (1981), Taika Waititi, The Bounty (1984), The Getaway (1994), Warren Oates, White Sands (1992)