Friday, April 04, 2008

Miscellaneous: Stuff

A reminder to my vast SoCal readership: Noir City begins this weekend. Go.

Tonight, Turner Classic Movies salutes Richard Widmark. On April 20, the network will do the same for Jules Dassin.

: Screenwriter William Goldman recalls his one encounter with Widmark.

Having trouble selling books? You could always write erotica. It’s working for novelist Rupert Smith. Can I just say that titling a gay porn version of an Agatha Christie country house murder mystery The Back Passage is sheer genius? Hat tip to Arts & Letters Daily.

The L. A. Times considers James Ellroy and the movies.

Speaking of Ellroy, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has made their collection of kinescopes of The Mike Wallace Interview available. There are 65 programs from 1957 and ’58 online. They’re fascinating relics, with Wallace alternating between bullying his guests proto-cable news style and shilling Philip Morris cigarettes with their “man’s kind of mildness.”

Wallace talks to Frank Lloyd Wright, Salvador Dali, a panel of Nobel Prize winners. So who did I watch? Ellroy favorite Fred Otash, the Hollywood detective who dished dirt for Confidential magazine.

I also cued up the interview with stripper Lili St. Cyr. I had read that Lili had a “high pitched, Minnie Mouse-like voice,” and that’s certainly true. Lili talks about how show business is a “pantywaist profession” suitable for women only, and about her belief in UFOs, speculating on what men from Venus are like. Science has since supplanted Lili, as we now know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

Twice during the interview, Wallace quotes the stripper Sherry Britton. Who, coincidentally, passed away this week.