Search Results for: hell is a city

The 10 essential films of Stanley Baker

Stanley Baker in Val Guest's 1960 thriller Hell Is a City.Welsh born actor Stanley Baker didn’t live to see his 50th birthday, but he left an impressive body of work. Like his friend Richard Burton, he escaped life as a coalminer for acting after a chance sighting in a school play by the casting director of Ealing Studios led to Baker’s first role in the 1943 war drama, Undercover. His rugged physique and hard grace meant he was most often cast as the tough guy in crime movies and spearheaded the evolution of the British film criminal from the gentlemen thief to more ruthless figures, often working-class, in films such Hell Drivers (1957), Joseph Losey’s The Criminal and Peter Yate’s 1967 heist film, Robbery.

Last weekend he would have been 88, were he still alive. To mark his career, I have a piece on the British Film Institute site looking at his 10 essential films. You can read it in full here.Read more

Warren Oates, Gloria Grahame & other subjects for fiction anthologies

OatesThe recent release of Crime Factory’s LEE, an anthology of crime fiction inspired by the life of iconic actor Lee Marvin, has got me thinking about who else would be a good subject for similar treatment.

There’s already been a bit of chatter on Twitter about other actors people would like to see as the subject of their own fictional anthology, and several authors have contacted me with ideas.

There are only two criteria involved I can think of in choosing a subject.

First, the subject concerned has got to be deceased, preferably passed a while ago. It’s just too complex, legally and other ways to do an anthology based on someone living.

Second, there’s got to be something about them. Not just an interesting body of cinematic work and an interesting life, but an ongoing cultural resonance or zeitgeist that sets them apart from other actors and allows crime writers discuss broader issues.

Here are my picks for actors I think would be good subjects. And I should stress, these are just my musings and in no way reflect what Crime Factory will do in the future.

That said, you never know….

Warren Oates

There’s already been a bit of social media chatter about the possibility of a Warren Oates inspired anthology.… Read more

DVD commentaries and booklet/video essays

Booklet essay: Where the action is: John Schlesinger’s Darling and the films of swinging London, Umbrella Film’s re-release of Darling (John Schlesinger, 1965)

Video essay: Mission Accomplished?: Womenworlds and Male Power, Vinegar Syndrome re-release of Sex Mission (Juliusz Machulski, 1984)

Booklet essay: The 1970s and the ‘Golden Age’ of the aeroplane hijack film, Umbrella Film’s re-release of Ransom (Casper Wreder, 1974)

Booklet essay: Fictional hijackers and a real life covert operative: Casper Wrede’s Ransom, Umbrella Film’s re-release of Ransom (Casper Wreder, 1974)

Commentary: Stir (Stephen Wallace, 1980), Severin Films

Booklet essay: “Flesh is a trap and magic sets us free”: Clive Barker’s Lord of illusions and private investigators and the occult on film, Umbrella Films release of Lord of Illusions (1995)

Commentary: Gang War in Milan (Umberto Lenzi, 1973), Radiance Films

Video essay: Hard to be a Hero: Piotr Szulkin’s Ga-Ga: Glory to the Heroes, Piotr Szulkin’s Apocalypse Tetralogy, Vinegar Syndrome

Booklet essay: Conspiracy of Silence: Leonardo Sciascia’s The Day of the Owl, Radiance Films release of The Day of the Owl (Damiano Damiani, 1968)

Video essay: From sea to shining sea – a look at the cross country car race film, Burt Reynolds Collector’s Edition, Umbrella Entertainment

Video essay: Welcome to violence – the evolution of the British gangster on screen, Umbrella Entertainment release of The Limey (Steven Soderbergh, 1991)

Video essay: She reached for evil: dissecting Kitten With a Whip, Imprint Films release of Kitten With a Whip (Douglas Heyes, 1964)

Booklet essay: The Hellfighter: John Wayne and America on fire in 1968, Powerhouse Films’ release of Hellfighters (Andrew V.… Read more

John le Carre, my 2020 and The Looking Glass War

It is fitting that my last post on this site for 2020 is a short tribute to the passing of a writer who has given me an enormous amount of pleasure during this difficult year, David John Moore Cornwell or as he is better known, John le Carré. Since his death on December 12, a sea of ink has been spilt on le Carré’s influence on the spy novel and his undoubted merits as a writer. I don’t intend to go over this territory again. Instead, I want to briefly discuss what it is about his George Smiley series I have found so fascinating. I also want to talk about one of the films based on his work that I believe does not get nearly enough praise, Frank R Pierson’s 1970 adaptation of le Carré’s 1965 novel, The Looking Glass War.

Melbourne, the city I live in, spent the better part of 2020 in hard lockdown in response to the Covid 19 virus. Reading was one of my many responses to suddenly finding myself with more free time. One very wet, cold Saturday morning at the outset of winter I picked up a paperback I bought ages ago – I can’t even remember when and where – the 1964 Penguin Crime edition of Call for the Dead.… Read more

Ghosts of Stories Past: Roachkiller Redux

I am very pleased to welcome back New York writer Richie Narvaez to Pulp Curry. Richie is a friend and he is also a hell of a writer, a fact I discovered when I read his first publishing effort, an anthology of noir stories entitled Roachkiller and Other Stories. It is a top notch anthology of noir stories, ranging from hardboiled crime pieces in the vein of Edwin Torres to dark dystopian tales. So when Richie told me recently that he had updated the anthology, I invited him to visit and talk about the process of revisiting old stories. Roachkiller is available at Amazon here. And while you are picking it up, can I suggest that you also get a copy of Hipster Death Rattle, he debut crime novel against the backdrop of the gentrification of Brooklyn, published by Down and Out Books. Both books are the perfect antidote to any lockdown spare time you may currently find yourself having.

Most of us, given a chance to go back in time to change something from our pasts, would do it. Besides obvious revisions to world history, we might save a loved one, reverse a career path, avoid that pub that one night. I recently had a time travel opportunity of sorts, although on a very mundane scale.… Read more