Thursday, December 22, 2022

There’s Only One Hitch—Or Is There?

Just in time to plan your holiday viewing—and for the paperback release of the latest Renee Patrick novel Idle Gossip next week—comes my story at CrimeReads considering eighty years of Hitchcock movies not directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The list has fifteen entries, but I namecheck plenty more, and had to refrain from tossing in additional titles. It was plenty of fun to write, so why not check it out? (Photo from Last Embrace, the 1979 Jonathan Demme film featuring a finale at a famous landmark that Hitch himself would have admired.) 


Friday, September 16, 2022

Noir City Two Directors for the Price of One Edition

Is it unseemly for me to say that this is best issue of Noir City yet?
Very well then I am unseemly.
(I am the editor, I contain multitudes.)
(Also, sorry, Uncle Walt.)

The latest edition of the magazine published by the Film Noir Foundation is now available in your choice of digital or print—or what the hell, why not both? I guarantee you’re going to want in on this.

Let’s start with the cover story. Back when FNF honcho Eddie Muller and I cooked up the Modern Noir Master award, we drafted a list of dream recipients. One of the first names we both mentioned was John Dahl, who merits a place in the neo-noir pantheon for two movies alone: Red Rock West (1993) and The Last Seduction (1994).

(Fun fact: I attended one of the earliest screenings of Seduction, at the Seattle International Film Festival. When the movie ended, I joined the silent, dumbstruck line for the restroom. Finally, the guy in front of me blurted out, “Men are so stupid!” We unanimously agreed with him.)

Sam Moore interviews Dahl at length, about those movies, other gems like Rounders (1998) and Joy Ride (2001), and his work on noir-inflected TV shows including Breaking Bad, Justified, and Ray Donovan.

But wait, there’s another director! Nick Kolakowski talks to Michael Mann and his Heat 2 coauthor Meg Gardiner about moving the world of his 1995 magnum opus to print, and pushing the story into both the past and the future. Also in this issue—

Nora Fiore, the Nitrate Diva, on the many uses of lipstick in film noir. I have to say this piece is among my favorites to appear in the magazine on my watch: a brilliant concept by Nora, written evocatively, and brought to vivid life on the page by ace designer Michael Kronenberg.

A one-of-a-kind memoir by Chris D., front man for the Flesh Eaters turned film scholar, on the surprising overlap between his two passions: punk rock and film noir.

A deep dive from John Wranovics on Harry Popkin, the onetime fight promoter who produced a series of noir titles that pulled no punches.

Noir City stalwart Jake Hinkson on noir’s dark vision of academia.

Joseph Moncure March’s epic poem The Set-Up already spawned the 1949 cinematic adaptation regarded as a classic of both noir and boxing films. Now it’s been turned into a graphic novel, and Nathalie Atkinson talks to artist Erik Kriek about it.

Plus more goodies, including my usual cocktail recipe.

Donate to the Film Noir Foundation, and in addition to supporting our restoration efforts you’ll receive a subscription to Noir City. You can also purchase the print edition exclusively at Amazon. Then settle in, because you’ll want to read this bad boy cover to cover.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Noir City “The Man That Got Away” Edition

Who’s the anguished cover boy on the latest edition of Noir City magazine, published by the Film Noir Foundation and edited by yours truly? None other than William Holden. Despite his presence in some landmark noir films, he’s not an actor synonymous with the form. I sometimes think of him as noir’s man that got away; James Ellroy once said that his dream cast for L.A. Confidential would have included “the craven, self-loathing, handsome William Holden of Sunset Boulevard” as Ed Exley, the Guy Pearce role. But as Rachel Walther points out in her terrific story, Holden brought a “brooding restlessness” to every role he played, carrying noir’s shadows forever with him. With a sidebar on Holden’s rivalry, on and offscreen, with Humphrey Bogart. Also in this issue—

Imogen Sara Smith surveys the dark world of film noir from Argentina;

Ray Banks on the heist films of Stanley Baker;

Bob Sassone considers the invaluable contributions the Saturday Evening Post made to noir;

Steve Kronenberg makes the case for character actor J.T. Walsh as neo-noir's best bad guy;

Sharon Knolle looks at horror films from noir directors;

And more.

I’ve got my column along with a review of a new book about Holden’s favorite director, Billy Wilder. My favorite contribution is a conversation with Tony Award-nominated actress and singer Melissa Errico about her new album Out of the Dark: The Film Noir Project. Melissa knows her noir, the album is a pleasure, and our chat was loads of fun.

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to getting Noir City. You can make a contribution of twenty dollars or more to the FNF, the money going directly to our mission of preserving, restoring, and exhibiting classic noir films. That nets you a digital subscription to the magazine. Or you can purchase a print edition of our latest issue exclusively through Amazon, with our cut of the proceeds going to that same mission. Either way, pick up a copy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Probably Should’ve Mentioned This Earlier ...

... but Idle Gossip, the latest Lillian Frost & Edith Head mystery that I wrote with Rosemarie under our house pseudonym Renee Patrick, is now out. People seem to like it. Let Renee tell you all about it.


Monday, January 17, 2022

Noir City On The Midway Edition

At the Film Noir Foundation, we couldn’t think of a better way to show 2021 the door—and welcome in 2022—than sending the latest digital issue of Noir City magazine to all FNF donors on New Year’s Eve. The print edition, available exclusively at Amazon, followed a week later. I’m only getting around to posting about it now. 2022 is already that kind of year, kids.

The centerpiece of the issue is an exclusive interview with Guillermo Del Toro and Kim Morgan about their bold new reimagining of Nightmare Alley, currently in theaters. FNF honcho, TCM host, and man about town Eddie Muller weighs in on the film. And we also have a feature on the long, twisted history of carnivals in film noir.

Next up, a dazzler of a conversation between Eddie and his favorite living author, Paul Auster. Pour yourself a drink and pull up a chair to listen in as they go long on noir, art, and life.

Also in this issue—

Imogen Sara Smith considers the doppelganger in film noir, with a special focus on Joseph Losey’s harrowing masterpiece Mr. Klein (1976).

Get behind the wheel with the cabdrivers of noir, courtesy of Jake Hinkson.

Danilo Castro sizes up the “frontier trilogy” of Taylor Sheridan—Sicario, Hell or High Water, Wind River—that maps the territory where noir meets the west.

Actor Brent Spiner is best known for playing Lt. Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. His new book Fan Fiction is a wildly inventive “mem-noir” about his time on the show, blending autobiography with a crime plot. He kindly agreed to drop by and name his five favorite classic noir films.

I talk to writer/musician Willy Vlautin, whose The Night Always Comes is hands down my favorite novel of 2021. Compassionate and chilling, this noir odyssey is the book for our political moment. Read the interview, but more importantly read Willy’s book.

Plus my column, my review of what could easily end up my favorite book of 2022—Isaac Butler’s ambitious and compelling The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to Act—and so much more, all of it spectacularly laid out by ace designer Michael Kronenberg. I mean, just look at that cover.

You can buy the print edition at Amazon, or contribute at least twenty dollars to the FNF’s campaign to preserve and restore classic film noir to receive the bells-and-whistles digital version. You want my advice? Do both. You won’t regret it.