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« Who Will Stop the Madman – A Gogol's Prophecy [by Lera Auerbach] | Main | toujours meilleur en francais »

March 04, 2022


Love that poem - it conveys that wonderful appreciation of "guilty pleasures" that even a C+ noir can provide (or a flawed book in this case). As a kid, I loved "A Walk in the Sun," so became a Dana Andrews fan early on. Noir would not be the same without the Andrews films, and what David Thomson called "the unease, shiftiness, and rancor that his good looks concealed." And now, thanks to you, David, I'll watch "Double Indemnity" for the umpteenth time.

Funny, I thought I had an intense dislike of Dana Andrews except for, I suppose, The Best Years of Our Lives and Laura, where he's fine, though I can think of actors today who could surpass those performances. But I just realized he starred in Night of the Demon. Wow. That was a great movie -- haven't seen it for a long time, but I don't remember not liking any performance in that one. Now I want to see it again.
I think it might've been "Where the Sidewalk Ends" that turned me against Andrews, that plus one other -- where he just struck a phoney bravado stance and barked out every line with the same intonation, not an interesting or surprising moment anywhere, just front. Nothin' but front. However...
I'm going to re-visit him.
Maybe I'll switch out my dislike of Dana Andrews for a dislike of this guy--whoever he is -- who wrote that Double Indemnity failed because Stanwyck and MacMurray lack sex appeal. Gawd, is that ever dumb. True, I never woulda imagined Fred MacMurray could have sex appeal, and maybe after that movie he never did again, but... It comes through in Double Indemnity -- with both of them. With these characters, this writing, there's a palpable force in both actors, an edge, a presence--some call it "star quality." When they're together we can glimpse the potential for violence. The casting's superb, and fortuitous -- that guy's a dunderhead.

Thank you, Suzanne. "Where the Sidewalk Ends" is as bleak a noir as you'll find. First-rate.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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