As we dive into the Yuletide season, this is just a quick reminder that Ted Kotcheff’s 1971 film Wake In Fright definitely qualifies as a Christmas film.
I recently took part in a discussion on Kotcheff’s amazing film for the Journey’s Into Darkness film discussion group in the US. I talked about what Wake In Fright says about Australia in 1971 and now, conceptions of masculinity, and urban Australians uneasy relationship with the outback and our bloody colonial past. We also discussed how the film functions as a crime film, and outback noir and an Australian folk horror. You can watch the talk in full on Youtube here.
For your Noirvember listening pleasure, the latest episode of Projection Booth Podcast is on the 1947 film noir, Nightmare Alley. I join Projection Booth host Mike White & film critic Samm Deighan to talk about the film, the William Lindsay Gresham book it is based on, and the 2021 reboot. We also discuss carnival noir & clairvoyants in noir film & I did a particular shout out to Bryan Forbes’s Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964). We also talked a fair bit about sex: how much sex Stanton Carlisle gets in the 1947 film version (because no one else ever seems to) and how sexy that version is generally, especially compared to the 2021 reboot.
Is there anything new left to say about the period of American film production from the late 1960s to the early 1980s?
This is the period that began with the so-called ‘New Hollywood’ and continued with its collapse under the weight of its own cinematic hubris and excess, bumped along considerably by the 1977 release of Star Wars, after which the blockbuster franchise, with its lucrative pre-sold merchandising deals, evolved into the majority of what now passes for the American film industry. Of course, this is just one facet of the story. Influencing this trajectory was Vietnam, the rise and fall of the counterculture, the election of Ronald Reagan and the rise of neoliberalism.
To say something different about all of this is a tough task. But it is is precisely the aim of We are the Mutants: The Battle for Hollywood from Rosemary’s Baby to Lethal Weapon. That the book largely succeeds in its mission is due to a quality I initially found hard to define until I hit on a way to do so by way of a comparison. The book reminds me of the work of British documentary maker Adam Curtis, particularly his most recent effort, I Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World.… Read more
If you missed the recent launch of my monograph Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction and the Rise of the Australian Paperback, organised by the Australian National University’s Centre for Australian Literary Cultures, the video of the event is now on Youtube for your viewing pleasure. The book, published in hardback by Anthem Publications, is price for higher education institutions at present, but a cheaper paperback version will be available mid-2023.
Those of you who have been following my site for a while now may have seen me post about NoirCon previously. A celebration of all things noir in film, literature, art and anything else you care to mention, NoirCon was previously held as a face-to-face gathering in Philadelphia, but has been cancelled for the last few years, due to Covid and other problems.
Well, now it is back, this year as an online gathering.
NoirCon will take place Friday-Saturday, October 21-23, EST. Virtual NoirCon 2022 will be held on the Accelevents platform. An all-access pass covering the entire conference is $36. Registration includes access to the Accelevents platform for 30 days after the event, so attendees can re-watch events or catch up on panels they missed.