Darkness To Light...

Where Film Noir Lives...Too!

FNF NEWS: FOR JUNE...AUTHOR EDDIE MULLER PREPARE TO LOOK AT THE MEN WHO NOVELS INSPIRED... FILM NOIR ALL MONTH LONG IN JUNE ON TCM...[The Masters: Woolrich and Chandler...Cornell and Raymond.]

[Pictured TCM HOST ROBERT OSBORNE AND AUTHOR EDDIE MULLER]

Eddie Muller on Cornell Wool-rich

Alfred Hitchcock may be the "Master of Suspense," but in my book he shares the title with Cornell Woolrich. An astoundingly prolific writer, Woolrich (who often used the pen name William Irish) has probably had more stories adapted to film, in more languages, than any other author. The reason is simple: He created tales with inventive spine-tingling premises and predicaments and wrote them in a completely camera-ready style.

In the early 1940s Hollywood studios began buying almost everything Woolrich produced, principally the novels in his "Black" series: The Black Curtain, Black Alibi, Black Angel, The Black Path of Fear--which became Street of Chance (1942), The Leopard Man (1943), Black Angel (1946) and The Chase (1946). In addition, the forties' films noirs Phantom Lady (1944), Deadline at Dawn (1946), Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), and No Man of Her Own (1950) were all based on Woolrich novels. Not to mention a slew of dark Poverty Row potboilers such as The Guilty (1947), I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes (1948) and Fall Guy (1947).

All this success meant virtually nothing to the lonely, reclusive and repressed author, who lived most of his life in a Manhattan hotel suite he shared with his mother. Even as his stories were being adapted all over the globe by some of the world's greatest filmmakers, Woolrich continued to pound out pulp stories for the few remaining mystery magazines in the business, living the life of a reclusive hermit, rarely venturing out into a world he found utterly terrifying.

He and Hitchcock crossed paths, creatively not literally, only twice: Rear Window (1954) was based on Woolrich's short story "It Had to Be Murder, and "Four O'Clock," one of the few episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents directed by the Master himself, was also based on a Woolrich story. While Hitchcock undoubtedly deserves the mantle "Master of Suspense," he also had teams of writers and literally hundreds of creative collaborators helping bring his visions to life. Woolrich had nothing but a Remington portable typewriter and reams of paper from the local stationery store, on which he relentlessly banged out fear-soaked stories of innocent people trapped in life-and-death circumstances. That's all he needed to create some of the darkest and most nerve-wracking stories ever told.

Eddie Muller on Raymond Chandler


It's the rare writer whose depiction of a city, in prose, becomes the world's accepted vision of the place. That's how it is with Raymond Chandler and Los Angeles. His descriptions of the vast neon wasteland, as rendered in the dyspeptic dialogues of detective Philip Marlowe--are now considered the definitive mid-twentieth century vision of the city. In addition, Chandler has inspired more people to become crime fiction writers than any other author in the genre. Which is especially astounding when you consider that he didn't write particularly coherent or compelling plots, and that besides Marlowe himself there are few memorable characters in his books.

But as prose stylist, Chandler was unmatched. His gift for rendering mood and setting, without ever slackening the narrative pace, was extraordinary. And his flair for the colorful, sarcastic simile ("...as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food cake.") is what separated him from his colleagues--and put the hook in all those wanna-be crime writers.

Hollywood and Chandler were a poor pairing, even though some good films came from the tenuous alliance. A snooty, curmudgeonly alcoholic, Chandler never fit in, and despite earning an Oscar® nomination for his only original script, The Blue Dahlia (1946), he never really figured out how to write an effective screenplay. (His first draft of Lady in the Lake (1947), based on his novel, is an unwieldy mess, fit only for the eyes of Chandler aficionados--as MGM agreed, hiring Steve Fisher to wrangle it into shape.)

Despite all that, his contribution to the genre can't be overstated: He gave American crime fiction its most distinctive voice.



 

I have chosen to show: The Leopard Man (1943, novel), Deadline at Dawn (1946, novel).
I've chosen to show: Murder, My Sweet (1944, novel [Farewell, My Lovely]), The Big Sleep (1946, novel).

By Eddie Muller ~

Views: 187

Tags: authors, dashiell, david, eddie, goodis, guest, hammett, june, muller, novel, More…osborne, robert, tcm, writer

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Comment by Darkness To Light... on June 5, 2013 at 11:14pm
Comment by Darkness To Light... on June 2, 2013 at 3:51pm

Jayne Mansfield and Dan Duryea in The Burglar, being shown June 14 on TCM as part of Eddie Muller's tribute to writer David Goodis.

FNF prez Eddie Muller returns to Turner Classic Movies this June with a fistful of pulp. "The Czar of Noir" will be hosting TCM's "Friday Night Spotlight," presenting 16 movies over four nights, all highlighting the work of seminal or significant noir writers. Muller, who was TCM host Robert Osborne's guest this past January for "A Night in Noir City," was asked by the network to solo-host a monthly installment of its new "Spotlight" feature, in which a guest host both programs and presents thematically linked films. The segments were recorded in March at TCM headquarters in Atlanta—and it should be no surprise that Muller tilled his usual noir terrain, aiming his spotlight at writers Dashiell Hammett, David Goodis, James M. Cain, Jonathan Latimer, Raymond Chandler and Cornell Woolrich.

The shows air June 7th (Hammett), 14th (Goodis), 21st (Latimer and Cain) and 28th (Woolrich and Chandler). Check out the schedule on TCM.

One person who won't be watching TCM on June 14th is Muller himself—he'll be in Zagreb, Croatia, giving a talk on film noir and presenting three films (The Prowler, They Won't Believe Me, and Woman on the Run) as a special guest of the 3rd Annual Zagreb Noir Festival, hosted by the Croatian Film Association!

Comment by Darkness To Light... on June 2, 2013 at 3:50pm

NOIR CITY: Chicago Celebrates
5th Anniversary

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The latest edition of NOIR CITY: Chicago is coming to the Music Box Theatre August 23–29, offering another astounding lineup of classic films noir—including the three brand new 35mm restorations funded by the Film Noir Foundation, which joins forces each year with the Music Box to present this week-long extravanganza. As always, NOIR CITY features both celebrated classics and wonderful rarities, some freshly rescued from extinction and screened in glorious new film prints, others shown for the first time in gorgeous digital restorations. NOIR CITY: Chicago celebrates its 5th anniversary with the Windy City premieres of the FNF's latest preservation projects: Try and Get Me! (1950), Repeat Performance (1949) and High Tide (1948). The Film Noir Foundation news page will post a link to the complete program once the Music Box posts the schedule.

Comment by Darkness To Light... on June 2, 2013 at 3:49pm

Silent Hitch

San Franciscans will have a rare opportunity to see the British Film Institute's loving restoration of the master of suspense's earliest surviving films. The San Francisco Silent Film Festival will present The Hitchcock 9 June 14-16 at the historic Castro Theatre. Don't miss this chance to see the development of Hitchcock's directorial style from his first film, The Pleasure Garden (1925), to the one he considered "the first true Hitchcock picture", The Lodger (1926). Full program and ticket information is available on the SFSFF's website. The series will also play at the BAMcinematek at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, June 29-July 5 and at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles (dates to be announced). The touring festival is a joint venture of the BFI, Park Circus/ITV Studios, and Rialto Pictures/Studiocanal. The FNF is proud to be a promotional partner for the SFSFF screenings.

Comment by Darkness To Light... on June 2, 2013 at 3:49pm

NOIR CITY Annual #5:
A Good Read for a Great Cause

Need something to read between all those screenings at NOIR CITY: Chicago? NOIR CITY Annual #5 features the best articles from the Foundation's 2012 quarterly e-magazine NOIR CITY. Remarkable essays, interviews, profiles, tributes, and reviews of classic and modern noir films are packed into 264 pages, all exquisitely designed. Support the Film Noir Foundation's film reclamation and restoration efforts with your purchase. NOIR CITY Annual #5—your $25 investment toward a better library. Buy it on Amazon.com.

Want the quarterly NOIR CITY e-magazine delivered directly to your in-box? Once you've joined our mailing list (if you've received this email, you already have) just make a donation to the FNF of $20 or more. If you already are a donor, you'll receive the Summer 2013 issue automatically once it's released.

FOR MORE INFORMATION JUST FOLLOW THE LINK TO: NOIR CITY-EMAGAZINE

Comment by Darkness To Light... on June 2, 2013 at 3:46pm

Peggy Cummins Interview
with Eddie Muller

Following the opening night screening of Joseph H. Lewis' Gun Crazy at NOIR CITY 11, Eddie Muller sat down with star Peggy Cummins to discuss both the making of the film and the enduring enthusiasm audiences across the world have for this extraordinary film. Ms. Cummins also delves into how she won and lost the starring role of Forever Amber, the film that brought her to Hollywood. In addition, she discusses her acting career before and after Hollywood, including her inauspicious stage debut at Dublin's legendary Gate Theatre when she was still a child. Recorded at the historic Castro Theatre, San Francisco on January 25, 2013. Watch the video here.

Comment by Darkness To Light... on June 2, 2013 at 3:41pm

Jayne Mansfield and Dan Duryea in The Burglar, being shown June 14 on TCM as part of Eddie Muller's tribute to writer David Goodis.

FNF prez Eddie Muller returns to Turner Classic Movies this June with a fistful of pulp. "The Czar of Noir" will be hosting TCM's "Friday Night Spotlight," presenting 16 movies over four nights, all highlighting the work of seminal or significant noir writers. Muller, who was TCM host Robert Osborne's guest this past January for "A Night in Noir City," was asked by the network to solo-host a monthly installment of its new "Spotlight" feature, in which a guest host both programs and presents thematically linked films. The segments were recorded in March at TCM headquarters in Atlanta—and it should be no surprise that Muller tilled his usual noir terrain, aiming his spotlight at writers Dashiell Hammett, David Goodis, James M. Cain, Jonathan Latimer, Raymond Chandler and Cornell Woolrich.

The shows air June 7th (Hammett), 14th (Goodis), 21st (Latimer and Cain) and 28th (Woolrich and Chandler). Check out the schedule on TCM.

One person who won't be watching TCM on June 14th is Muller himself—he'll be in Zagreb, Croatia, giving a talk on film noir and presenting three films (The Prowler, They Won't Believe Me, and Woman on the Run) as a special guest of the 3rd Annual Zagreb Noir Festival, hosted by the Croatian Film Association!

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