Saturday, August 24, 2013


In exactly one week from today, I'm moving to Chicago. My infinitely superior half and I are loading up our books and our cat and setting out. Excitement all around. Except for one thing...

Noir City Chicago is happening THIS week. Sponsored by my buddies at the Film Noir Foundation, it's another blockbuster program with masterpieces like TRY AND GET ME! (THE SOUND OF FURY), SUNSET BLVD., NIGHT AND THE CITY, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN and more. I would be there every day if I lived in Chicago--which I will in one week.

So do me a favor. If you live anywhere close, go check out NOIR CITY this week. Great movies, and the proceeds go to support the Film Noir Foundation and its mission to rescue and restore America's Noir heritage. Eat a tub of popcorn for me.

Here's the full schedule.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I have a new piece over at Criminal Element that looks at the tragic Laird Cregar. In the early forties, he was well on his way to becoming one of the great character actors when he died quite unexpectedly in an ill-fated attempt to turn himself into a leading man. I look at his life, death, and career by focusing on his last, best, role as a tormented composer in HANGOVER SQUARE.

Friday, August 9, 2013

CAGED (1950)

By and large, the Women In Prison flick is thought of today as a camp genre. Naked broads wrestling in the shower, vindictive lesbian guards abusing virginal newbies, and so forth--the cliches abound. What this obscures, though, is that some really fascinating work has been done in this genre over the years.

John Cromwell's 1950 CAGED is a good case in point. This isn't just the best WIP flick ever made, it's one of the finest film noirs produced in the classic era. It features smart direction, strikingly beautiful cinematography, snappy writing and a host of terrific performances. It is a masterpiece. Alan K. Rode made this point in the pages of Noir City a few years ago, and Oren Shai argued the point over at Bright Lights Film Journal.

And yet this brilliant film is available today only as part of a "camp classics" set. Don't let the packaging fool you. This is a great film.

For my full review check out my essay over at Criminal Element.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


My review of Season One of Jenji Kohan's new Netflix series ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK is up at Criminal Element. Check it out here.

Monday, August 5, 2013


This week, I stopped by Every Read Thing to talk about crime fiction, Ozark religion, my love of Margaret Millar, and much more. Click here to read the interview.