Paul McGoran's Blog – July 2008 Archive (4)

Not at His Best in SERENADE, Cain Was Still Able

Serenade James M. Cain (1937)

As Serenade opens, protagonist Jack Sharp is banished from Paradise, subsisting in Mexico as a kind of operatic stumblebum. He lost both his golden voice and his European Eden when he deserted his muse over the sin of homosexuality. The agent of his temptation and fall was rich, charming Winston Hawes, his maestro and mentor in Paris.

In his Mexico hell, Jack nevertheless finds his Eve, a three-peso whore named Juana Montes, who… Continue

Added by Paul McGoran on July 24, 2008 at 4:00pm — No Comments

A Case of Movie Trumps Novel

Deadlier Than the Male (1942) by James Gunn.

James Gunn (no relation to the sci-fi writer) was a 21-year old senior at Stanford when he wrote Deadlier Than the Male as a creative writing assignment. It was his only novel. He spent the next twenty-some years in Hollywood as a writer for movies and television before dying in 1966.

Gunn’s pulp thriller caused quite a stir in 1942. But there is so much wrong with it – plotting by coincidence, impossible dialog,… Continue

Added by Paul McGoran on July 21, 2008 at 8:30am — No Comments

The Most Riveting Movie Moment Ever

I heard someone speak of this as the scene in The Great Dictator where Chaplin as Hitler makes sport with the globe of the world. And I’m sure you have an opinion, which I’m anxious to hear about. Mind you, I’m not looking for movie quotes like “Make my day” or “We’re in for a bumpy night.” What I’m after are those moments of cinematic action that seem to symbolize and say so much more than the constituent elements of the scene.

So what’s my candidate for the most riveting… Continue

Added by Paul McGoran on July 14, 2008 at 10:14am — No Comments

Five Noir Essentials

What Is Noir, Anyway?

You know the drill - crime fiction comes in lots of flavors. Stuff like ‘cozy,’ ‘police procedural,’ ‘hardboiled,’ and ‘noir.’ Each of these sub-genres adheres to certain conventions in the presentation of character and subject matter. What follows is my take on the ‘noir’ tradition, including my personal interpretation of this small, but influential slice of the whole.

With the rise of crime as a popular subject for fiction in the nineteenth century,… Continue

Added by Paul McGoran on July 2, 2008 at 6:00pm — 6 Comments

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