Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Raymond Burr: Noir's Face of Evil

above: Burr throws a scare into Liz Scott and Dick Powell in PITFALL

As I point out in a new Goon Squad piece over at Criminal Element, it would be interesting to know if a hundred years from now the world will remember Raymond Burr's performance as Perry Mason on television. I have a suspicion that it won't. This theory is built on my gut instinct that people won't care about a TV show from the late fifties.

And yet I also suspect that there will be a small group of cinema geeks who still love film noir (I mean, people are still reading Sophocles...). If this suspicion proves true, then at least that small group of people will know and love Raymond Burr.

At this late date, most non-noir geeks still don't know that Raymond Burr was pretty much THE face of evil in the most important film genre of the 1950s. He played masterminds, henchmen, and stone-cold psychos. The one element of all of them? That stare that contained contempt for lesser beings. Everyone around him seemed to insult his intelligence.

Check out my piece at Criminal Element to find out more about the secret life and noir career of the pre-Perry Raymond Burr.

1 comment:

EA said...

Hi Jake, I love Raymod Burr's work and his voice is still as clear in my head as if the TV was actually playing him. Love that voice. Thanks for the memories.