NOIR CITY: CHICAGO

Poster for Noir City: Chicago August 28-31, 2017

I’ll be co-hosting NOIR CITY CHICAGO from 28-31August. Hope to see you there!


 

ONE WAY STREET

 

Comments and critique of film industry authors and writers

CURTIZ BIO PREORDER 30% DISCOUNT!

MICHAEL CURTIZ BIO NOW AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER!

Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film is available for preorder for 30% off the cover price through November 1, 2017!

Order online at www.kentuckypress.com or phone 800-537-5487 referencing discount code FS30.

Don’t miss this huge savings on the year’s most anticipated film biography!

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Final Round for Budd Schulberg

 

The timekeepers bell finally sounded for Budd Schulberg who died aged 95 today. Although he became one of the more astute chroniclers of Old Hollywood, his seminal writing including the novel What Makes Sammy Run? and screenplays for On the Waterfront, The Harder They Fall (Bogart's last film that ranks with The Setup as the best boxing movie ever made) and A Face in the Crowd will continue to enthrall future generations.

Here's a link to a New York Times interview with Schulberg from 2006. I enjoyed that he thought the best scene in On the Waterfront was also my favorite as well.

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Examining Film Noir... On Campus

 

For those who are interested in the historical study of film noir, a close friend and colleague - Chris D., ace programmmer at the American Cinematheque - will be teaching "Examining Film Noir" at the Academy of Art in San Francisco during the month of September. This course is available to EVERYONE and I wouldn't recommend something like this unless I knew it was worthwhile. Here is the additional detail:

Writer, filmmaker, musician and on-sabbatical American Cinematheque programmer Chris D. will be teaching a Film Noir history class (called EXAMINING FILM NOIR) in the Liberal Arts department at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, starting mid-September, 2009. The class runs 15 sessions (or modules as they call them in academic-speak) on Tuesday afternoons, 3:30 PM – 6:20 PM. Classes consist of lecture, film clips (clips from between 5 - 6 films each session discussed in context of each session’s theme) and a 1 page written assignment each week based on an assigned film watched at home. Session themes include What is Film Noir?, Outlaw Couples, Amor Fou (Self-Destructive & Doomed Love), Going Straight (Prison Life & the Plight of the Ex-Con), The Sociopathic Killer, The Heist, Cops & Hoods, Social Issue & Docu-Drama Style Noir, The Doomed Man (or Woman) & Their Impossible Quest, The Private Eye and Others, Suburbs Gone Haywire, Noir from Europe, Neo-Noir (1960-1979) and Neo-Noir (1980-2009).

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Bill Bowers

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, "....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 match for the obsessive motif of film noir with a distinguished and lengthy resume of dark films: The Web (1946), Larceny (1948), Criss Cross (1949), Convicted (1950), the wonderful Cry Danger (1951), Split Second (1953), Five Against the House (1955), Tight Spot (1955). Watching The Mob last night, I was struck that the most entertaining segments of the picture were several smart-assed exchanges between the tough-as-mails Brod Crawford playing an undercover copper and a basset-eyed Jay Adler as a lowly waterfront hotel clerk. These choice bits were always a Bowers specialty.

Born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1916, Bill attended the University of Missouri journalism school and got a day job with UPI. He wrote and produced a play based on his fraternity house, "Where Do We Go From Here" in California. When Oscar Hammerstein took the play to New York for pennies - some of the cast hitchhiked to New York - Bill became the only screenwriter signed by RKO who had a play running on Broadway.

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