RARA-AVIS: Edward Wright

From: Frederick Zackel ( fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 08 Feb 2007

Brian Thornton said in post #900, that at the Noir panel at LCC,
"Edward Wright definitely has me curious about his own personal take on 1940s Los Angeles."

Having read "While I Disappear," and having gotten some mixed signals from it, I would like hearing what Wright had to say. I taught Detective Fiction last semester, and this semester I am teaching California Lit (with Spade, Marlowe & Gittes, of course, with some Archer thrown in for Landscape as Character.*)

The night before last I got a chance to watch the DVDs of The Black Dahlia and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang back to back, and I agree with Kevin when he says that

"That's the thing about the recent spate of "noir" films. They're all shallow style and slick self-conscious fetishism, and show little real understanding of what made the originals -- and the great novels they were based on -- tick. Or even what made them "noir."

My instant review of both flicks was:

"Don't noir-y. Be happy."

After I watched both flicks, the eleven o'clock news aired a video clip of an auto accident. Two SUVs smacked together in frozen Ohio here; paramedics were cutting out one trapped person. But the TV video showed that in deep background a paramedic was holding the trapped person's hand for comfort and solace. Two strangers holding hands in a tragic moment. The auto victim died before he got cut loose.

Five seconds of real life versus four hours of ...

And did I miss something in Dahlia? Was it Paul Leni's 1928 flick "The Man Who Laughs" what triggered the Dahlia's slaughter? Was I s'posed to buy that? I know the 1928 flick triggered Bob Kane to create the Joker as a foil to Batman, okay, but the identity of the Dahlia-murderer was off-putting and incredulously silly Grand Guignol. The gag reel for Kiss Kiss etc was more lucid.

A close buddy, who actually works as a PI for the Public Defender office in Northern California, a devote fan of Estleman, recommended both Brick and Hollywoodland. I guess now I will go try them.

Latest new arrivals here are Peter Temple's The Broken Shore and Robert Ellis' City of Fire. Any comments about these? I read Christine Falls and found it slow and plodding and old news.

Best to all,

Fred Zackel Cocaine & Blue Eyes Point Blank Press Now up to #539,503 at amazon.com.

(* Sorry, Terrill, I know you hate Landscape as Character, but my kids got to start somewhere. You can't quit your religion unless your parents taught you one.)

"The whores are dancin' tonight!" ~ Gaspar de PortolįŠ¼BR>

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