RARA-AVIS: Roy Huggins, Miles Davis

From: Vince Keenan ( vpkeenan@yahoo.com)
Date: 22 Jul 2007

Richard Moore's comment about 77 Sunset Strip reminds me of an oddity I encountered at Noir City Seattle, a film festival programmed by Eddie Muller. Before series creator Roy Huggins became one of the giants of television he was a crime novelist and screenwriter. Two of his earliest films screened on a single night. Pushover is an underrated thriller about a crooked cop that marked Kim Novak's screen debut and a rare return to the dark side of the street for Fred MacMurray after Double Indemnity. I Love Trouble was based on Huggins's own novel, which Eddie called "an egregious Raymond Chandler rip-off." Franchot Tone makes a surprisingly effective Marlowe stand-in. The oddity is that he's playing Stuart Bailey, the P.I. character later made famous by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. on 77 Sunset Strip. A heads-up for any completists out there.

The Criterion DVD of Elevator to the Gallows includes footage of that memorable night when Miles scored the film as it unspooled before him. The movie itself is worth watching, too.

On a related note, I was recently blown away by the final installment of Jean-Claude Izzo's Marseilles Trilogy, Solea, which is named after a track from Miles's Sketches of Spain. Total Chaos, the first in the series, remains the strongest, but I've come to view all three books as a single epic novel, noir to its very core.

Vince Keenan

http://www.VinceKeenan.com Pop culture, past and present, high and low. One day at a time.

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