Saturday, August 26, 2017

There goes the bride: A Bouchercon 2009 chase scene

I'm preparing for my two panels at Bouchercon 2017 in Toronto. In the meantime, here's a post about an odd spectacle from Bouchercon 2009 in Indianapolis.
(Photos courtesy of Anita Thompson)

Our small gang had set out for a late lunch and agent's party at Bouchercon when we met what appeared to be a body of vestal virgins delivering pizza.

"Have you seen a bride?" one of them asked me.

Alas, I had not.

I don't know if they ever found what they were looking for, but Bridesmaid #1 seemed determined to lead the satin-swathed entourage through every park and monument in downtown Indianapolis if she had to.

Later we saw a banquet setting up at the restaurant where we'd gone for the lunch/agent's shindig — a wedding reception, perhaps? — but no bridal party.

Sounds like a mystery to me.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Bouchercon panels are up!

Panel schedules for Bouchercon 2017 have been posted, and I'll take part in two sessions, including my first as a panelist rather than a moderator.

On Thursday, Oct. 12, at 11:30 a.m., Sarah Weinman will lead me, Margaret Cannon, Martin Edwards, Alex Gray, and David A. Poulsen in a session called "History of the Genre: Covering decades of good mysteries and its subgenres." Sarah is the North American Martin Edwards, and Martin is the British Sarah Weinman. No sharper and more knowledgeable crime fiction minds exist on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Margaret is crime fiction critic for the Toronto Globe and Mail, and Alex and David are two authors new to me, which is one of the pleasures of Bouchercon panels.

On Friday at 5 p.m., I resume the moderator's role, talking crime fiction in Norway, Thailand, Cambodia, Iceland, Ecuador, and Italy, Thomas Enger, Christopher G. Moore, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Leonardo Wild, and Timothy Williams. The panel is called "Across the Ponds," I've already begun assembling my questions,  and I'll see you there.
Follow these links for the Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday schedules.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"We're in a Jam!": My first look at They Live By Night

The Wikipedia article on They Live By Night, Nicholas Ray's 1948 movie based on Edward Anderson's 1937 novel Thieves Like Us, offers interesting observations, and I have some of my own. First, Wikipedia:

Bosley Crowther's review of They Live By Night, included the following, according to the Wikipedia entry:
"Although it ... is misguided in its sympathies for a youthful crook, this crime-and-compassion melodrama has the virtues of vigor and restraint ... They Live by Night has the failing of waxing sentimental over crime, but it manages to generate interest with its crisp dramatic movement and clear-cut types."
 Those italicized bits are likely to raise eyebrows today, and, not knowing much about Crowther except his name, I have to wonder if he really hated noir as much as the first boldface bit makes it appear. I give Crowther a possible pass on the second highlighted portion. Though it seems almost as stridently moralistic as the first portion, many of the early film noirs were indeed sentimental, or at least melodramatic. Many American movies that came to be called film noir were, in fact, once referred to as melodramas.

The Wiki article credits They Live By Night with being the first movie to include action scenes shot from a helicopter and, indeed, its opening sequence is stunning, a gorgeous and compelling in medias res opening. A later shot from above, of fleeing crooks, seems heavy-handed, however, a telegraphing that the crooks are being observed and will be caught and come to a bad end. Here the technique has not dated well, probably no fault of Nicholas Ray's or cinematographer George E. Diskant. We're all so much more visually sophisticated than we were 70 years ago.

I'll save my own comments for later; this post grows long. The comments will likely revolved men and the city, women and the country, and the encounters between the first and the second in American crime novels and movies from the middle of the twentieth century. 

© Peter Rozovsky 2017

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Philadelphia noir

© Peter Rozovsky 2017

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New York noir in color II

© Peter Rozovsky 2017

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New York noir in color

© Peter Rozovsky 2017

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