NOIR CITY 15 is coming!


Alan's sporadic takes on Film Noir and other aspects of pop culture

  As the actors who became personal touchstones during my youth continue to depart this mortal coil due to the inevitability of time, I usually attempt to place their passings into a philosophical perspective (unless I knew them personally) despite the pangs of inner pain and regret. Sometimes the departure of a familiar face affects me more than others. A case-in-point was the death of veteran character actor, Dabbs Greer last evening. Dabbs was 90 years old and had been an working actor for seven decades. Greer was everywhere on television when I grew up: The Adventures of Superman, The Rifleman, The Andy Griffith Show, Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, etc. He appeared in nearly 600 television programs and over 100 films. Greer was an actor's actor who was equally at home on a horse, a rocket ship, pumping gas or behind a grocery counter. There was always an earnest believability...
©Alan K. Rode
  Peggy Webber's part in The Wrong Man (1956) was a brief, but important scene as an insurance company clerk who wrongly identifies Henry Fonda as an armed robber. Her erroneous conclusion provided the impetus that propels an innocent Fonda into the bowels of injustice hell. I had to cajole Miss Webber just a bit to join me at the screening on Saturday night, "It's such a small part...", but thankfully she attended and her presence made for a delightful evening. The Wrong Man was an interesting disappointment. Hitchcock's solitary voyage into literal docudrama (he had apparently watched The Bicycle Thief and experienced a spasm of neo-realism with an actual miscarriage of justice story featured in Life Magazine) was simply too sterile to elicit rapt interest. For openers, I simply couldn't buy a 51 year old Hank Fonda as a 38 year old Italian jazz musician thumping a bass fiddle nights...
wrong man
©Alann K. Rode

Posted by on in Authors and Writers
  Effective screenplay writing is a distinctly different skill than the craft required to compose novels and stories. No one understood this better than the late William (Bill) Bowers, who was among the elite screenwriters and script polishers in Hollywood for many years. According to Bill, in a 1980 interview with Jean W. Ross, heralded novelists including F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner, never could write good screenplays on their own because of an inability to, " visualize things, to imagine how it was going to play". He added, "They never had to confront that in writing novels." Bowers' work has been on display at the 8th Annual Festival of Film Noir with the epochal Pitfall (1948), last evening with The Mob (1951) and closing the festival next Wednesday with Abandoned (1949). Bill's best work was characterized by witty, biting and often dyspeptic dialogue. His prose proved to be a perfect...
©Alan K. Rode

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