Monthly Summary (November 2014)

Books read during last month:

  • A Gun for Sale (Vintage Digital, 2010) First published in Great Britain in 1936 by Graham Greene (B)
  • A Delicate Truth (Penguin Books, 2014) First published by Viking in 2013 by John le Carré (A)
  • Stumped (280 Steps, 2014) by Rob Kitchin (A)
  • Deadly Weapon (Prologue Books, 2012) First published in 1946 by Wade Miller (C)

Pick of the Month: 

A Delicate Truth by John le Carré, a great read and highly entertaining novel.  

Books Bought Last Month:

  • God Save the Mark by Donald E. Westlake
  • Deadly Weapon by Wade Miller
  • The Front Seat Passenger by Pascal Garnier (trans. by Jane Aitken)
  • The Dying Place by Luca Veste
  • Entry Island by Peter May
  • An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P. D. James
  • Borderline by Liza Marklund (trans. by Neil Smith)
  • Currently Reading

    • The Hunting Dogs by Jørn Lier Horst

  • Film Noir term Film Noir was coined by French film critics (first by Nino Frank in 1946) who noticed the trend of how ‘dark’, downbeat and black the looks and themes were of many American crime and detective films released in France to theatres following the war, such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), Murder, My Sweet (1944),  Double Indemnity (1944), The Woman in the Window (1944), and Laura (1944). A wide range of films reflected the resultant tensions and insecurities of the time period, and counter-balanced the optimism of Hollywood’s musicals and comedies. Fear, mistrust, bleakness, loss of innocence, despair and paranoia are readily evident in noir, reflecting the ‘chilly’ Cold War period when the threat of nuclear annihilation was ever-present. The criminal, violent, misogynistic, hard-boiled, or greedy perspectives of anti-heroes in film noir were a metaphoric symptom of society’s evils, with a strong undercurrent of moral conflict, purposelessness and sense of injustice. There were rarely happy or optimistic endings in noirs.

    Classic film noir developed during and after World War II, taking advantage of the post-war ambience of anxiety, pessimism, and suspicion. It was a style of black and white American films that first evolved in the 1940s, became prominent in the post-war era, and lasted in a classic “Golden Age” period until about 1960 (marked by the ‘last’ film of the classic film noir era, Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958)).

    Important Note: Strictly speaking, ‘film noir’ is not a genre, but rather the mood, style, point-of-view, or tone of a film. It is also helpful to realize that ‘film noir’ usually refers to a distinct historical period of film history – the decade of film-making after World War II, similar to the German Expressionism or the French New Wave periods. However, it was labeled as such only after the classic period – early noir film-makers didn’t even use the film designation (as they would the labels “western” or “musical”), and were not conscious that their films would be labeled noirs.

    Read more HERE (Picture: Out of the Past (1947) directed by Jacques Tourneur)

    Film Notes: The Killers (1946) directed by Robert Siodmak

    Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

    This entry is a contribution to November crime fiction of the year meme hosted by Rich Westwood over at his blog Past Offences. The year chosen for November was #1946.

    USA / 97 minutes/ BW / Universal Pictures Dir: Robert Siodmak Pro: Mark Hellinger Scr: Anthony Veiller Story: taken from a short story by Ernest Hemingway Cine: Woody Bredell Mus: Miklos Rozsa Cast: Burt Lancaster (Swede), Ava Gardner (Kitty Collins), Edmond O’Brien (Riordan), Albert Dekker (Colfax), Sam Levene (Lubinsky), Jack Lambert (Dum Dum), John Miljan (Jake), Charles McGraw (Al), William Conrad (Max). Release Date: 28 August 1946 (USA) Killers is a 1946 American film noir directed by Robert Siodmak and based in part on the short story of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. The film stars Burt Lancaster in his film debut, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, and Sam Levene. The film also features William Conrad in his first credited role, as one of the titular killers. An uncredited John Huston and Richard Brooks co-wrote the screenplay, which was credited to Anthony Veiller. In 2008, The Killers was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant“.(from Wikipedia)

    Plot summary: A pair of contract killers arrive to a small town looking for a man known as “the Swede” (Burt Lancaster). The Swede’s co-worker warns him but he just makes a laconic remark about having done one bad thing in the past. And, strangely enough, he makes no attempt to escape. They kill him. An insurance detective Jim Reardon (Edmond O’Brien) is assigned to the case. He’s determined to reconstruct the life of the Swede, interviewing many of those who had known him. It turns out that he was a broken-down boxer who fell into crime and became involved in a major robbery.

    The film structure is reminiscent of Citizen Kane. The story is told through flashbacks where those who had known “the Swede”, give their side of the story to an insurance detective. Despite some flaws in the plot, the story is very powerful thanks to an excellent film directing and an effective interpretation. Highly recommended.

    Read more about The Killers at Filmsite Movie Review

    Notas de cine: Forajidos (1946), dirigida por Robert Siodmak

    The Killers (Forajidos) es una película estadounidense de 1946 dirigida por Robert Siodmak y basada en parte en el cuento de Ernest Hemingway del mismo título. La película está protagonizada Burt Lancaster en su debut cinematográfico, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, y Sam Levene. La película también cuenta con la participación de William Conrad en su primer papel como uno de los asesinos a sueldo. John Huston y Richard Brooks participaron en el guión aunque no figuran en los títulos de la película en donde sólo se menciona como guionista a Anthony Veiller. En el 2008, The Killers fue seleccionada para su conservación en el Registro Nacional Cinematográfico de los Estados Unidos por la Biblioteca del Congreso por su importancia cultural, histórica o estética. (De Wikipedia)

    Argumento: Un par de asesinos a sueldo llegan a un pequeño pueblo en busca de un hombre conocido como “el sueco” (Burt Lancaster). Su compañero de trabajo le advierte pero él sólo hace un lacónico comentario de haber hecho una cosa mal en su pasado. Y, por extraño que parezca, no tiene intención alguna de escapar. Lo matan. Un detective de seguros Jim Reardon (Edmond O’Brien) es asignado al caso. Reardon está decidido a reconstruir la vida del sueco, entrevistando a muchos de los que lo habían conocido. Resulta que era un boxeador acabado que cayó en la delincuencia y se vio envuelto en un importante robo.

    La estructura de la película recuerda a Ciudadano Kane. La historia está narrada a través de flashbacks donde los que habían conocido a “el sueco”, dan su versión de los hechos a un detective de seguros. A pesar de algunos defectos en la trama, la historia es muy potente gracias a una excelente dirección cinematográfica y a una interpretación eficaz. Muy recomendable.

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