From: kip.stratton@ni.com
Date: 03 May 2000

I've been reading Stephen Hunter's collected nonfiction, VIOLENT SCREEN. Most of the pieces are reviews of neo-noir/hardboiled/violent movies that Hunter wrote for the WASHINGTON POST (PULP FICTION, ONE FALSE MOVE, RESERVOIR DOGS, BLOOD SIMPLE, etc.). While the pieces relate directly to film, the broader topics Hunter discusses certainly would be of interest to this group. Here is his take on the original pulp hard-boiled writers: "The writers were hacks and could grind out three or four per year, year after year after year, fueled by loneliness, self-loathing and lots of black coffee. They seem to have been men with squalid backgrounds, usually washed out of the newspaper trade and, having failed at screenwriting and PR, almost all with drinking problems and personal lives like unwatched soap operas...The books were their last stop on the road to hell -- " Pretty good, huh?

Because I don't read the POST, these short pieces are delighting the hell out of me. (I'd read Hunter's DIRTY WHITE BOYS and liked it a lot -- having grown up among the same sort of Oklahoma trailer trash who populate that novel -- but I never could get into any of his other novels.) Has anyone else read VIOLENT SCREEN? What's your opinion?

Also, in one of the pieces, Hunter mentions a 1972 essay written by Paul Schrader in which he breaks down noir into three phases, the last being the
"manic" phase. Unfortunately, Hunter doesn't mention where Schrader's essay was published. Does anyone know? Has it been collected in book form?


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