Love is a Grift: Official Music Video

‘LOVE IS A GRIFT’: Now there’s a music video for the theme song!

GRAHAM WYND’s Love is a Grift out from Fox Spirit Books.

Words & Music © 2019 K. A. Laity (Nicnevin Music / ASCAP)

Victoria Squid – Vocals
Julie Beman – Piano
Eric Bloomquist – Bass
Rich Germain – Drums
Brian Slattery – Trombone
Produced and arranged by Julie Beman and Eric Bloomquist
Engineered and mixed by Eric Bloomquist at Cool Ranch Studio

Artwork by S. L. Johnson

Video remix from ‘Sing, Sinner, Sing!’ (1933) by K. A. Laity (via Internet Archive)

Love is a Grift @foxspiritbooks

Here’s the official page at Fox Spirit: you can buy the ebook direct! The shiny print edition is out tomorrow…

And don’t forget the slinky theme song by Victoria Squid! Champagne and whisky…

AND you can get this sweet cover on a t-shirt thanks to artist S. L. Johnson.

#Noirvember Song for a Saturday: Ida Lupino – One for My Baby

Yeah, it’s all Ida this week. Impressing on my students the genius that she was. They watched this clip as an introduction. We discussed what they assumed to be going on in the scene based on their knowledge of noir now. They did pretty well. If you haven’t seen the film, it can be found in its entirety on the ‘tube.

‘She does more without a voice than anybody I’ve ever heard!’

How’s your #Noirvember going? Got a favourite noir tune?

#Noirvember: The Hitch-Hiker

Kicking off the month with the film my students will be watching and discussing next week. Directed by the legend Ida Lupino.

Film for a Friday: Elevator to the Gallows

There are a few holes in my film diary: an embarrassing one has now been remedied. Criterion has an absolutely mesmerising release of Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows with the radiant Jeanne Moreau. I swear there’s not a frame that doesn’t sing. Of course there’s the fine soundtrack by Miles but you probably already knew that. If you haven’t seen it — or haven’t seen it lately — it’s about time, don’t you think?

Film for a Friday: The Reckless Moment

The first filmed version of ‘grandmother of noir’ Elisabeth Sanxay Holding’s The Blank Wall. More recently there’s The Deep End. Both interesting in what they use and what they leave out. The novel is terrific. Teaching it again in the spring.

TOA/V: Hunted (1952)

This taut little thriller starts off going pell-mell and never really stops. The script by Jack Whittingham hasn’t got an ounce of fat and barely slows enough to breathe. Of course you expect Dirk Bogarde to turn in a compelling performance, but the real surprise for most folks is child star (later historian of art at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford) Jon Whiteley. It’s he who kicks things off, tearing through the streets and nearly getting run over by a Watney’s Red Barrel wagon, all the while trailing his teddy bear.

When little Robbie runs into Bogarde’s Chris Lloyd in an abandoned warehouse near the river with a dead body, it easy to assume the worst will happen. Like many films of its time, the rubble from the war gives the cityscape a suitably noir seediness as they both seek to elude the authorities and unravel the events that made them run.

We’re so accustomed to Spielberg’s cloying sentimentality: it’s so refreshing to see a child actor who’s not the least bit self-conscious and to enjoy a story that is touching without ever giving in to sentiment. The harsh journey north from London all the way to Scotland bonds them together in rough and unexpected ways.

Classic director Charles Crichton (if you don’t know him, remedy that at once) makes the most of the spare dialogue and his actors’ faces. The folk song and fairy tale scene alone would be enough to feel proud of for a whole career.

Check out all the overlooked gems at Todd’s blog.

FFB: Build My Gallows High

buildmygallowshigh-illusbyharrybarton-1BUILD MY GALLOWS HIGH
Geoffrey Homes (1946)

Probably best known as the text for Out of the Past, the classic noir film with Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas (and how much better a title is the book than that?), this novel written under a pseudonym by screenwriter Daniel Mainwaring, who also worked on the script for Invasion of the Body Snatchers and dozens of others, has much less cultural currency than the film it led to (I’d forgotten Against All Odds was a remake: I just cringe automatically on hearing in my head the Phil Collins theme song).

It’s a tight little book that feels very much like an adapted screenplay. There’s no wasted words in this slim volume though it fleshes out the backstory of the novel quite a bit more. The action pretty much hurls through the events non-stop. Nonetheless Homes/Mainwaring offers some moments worth lingering over, throwing in scraps of poetry (‘When I am dead and over me bright April shakes down her rain-drenched hair’) and some description that offers a bit of poetry of its own:

Lloyd Eels was a tall man who hadn’t come off the assembly line.Somebody had found some spare parts lying around and had put them together carelessly, not bothering to get the bolts tight so that they seemed almost ready to come apart. He had black, sad eyes and a black mustache like an untrimmed hedge. No amount of combing would help his shock of hair.

‘You’re getting fat,’ Red said. ‘It doesn’t become you.’
‘You come up here to tell me that?’
‘No, I hate to see a man let himself go. They’ll get you back in shape in Alcatraz.’
‘Always the jester,’ Whit said acidly.
‘But the cap is getting pretty shabby and the bells lose their merry tinkle.’

Jim Caldwell’s eyes saw nothing in the drab domestic scene to wonder at, nothing to make him consider even momentarily the thought that people got old and people took each other for granted and presently there was no magic in the world. Jesus, she was beautiful standing under the hard, white light, her head tilted a little, her cheeks flushed, her dark eyes full of stars.

See all the overlooked books over at Patti’s blog.

Film for a Friday: Lady Gangster

Via the Internet Archive: 61 minutes, starring Faye Emerson, Julie Bishop, Frank Wilcox, and Roland Drew.

And the ‘pedia says:

Lady Gangster is a 1942 Warner Bros. B picture film noir directed by Robert Florey, credited as “Florian Roberts”. It is based on the play Gangstress, or Women in Prison by Dorothy Mackaye, who had spent ten months of a one-to-three-years sentence in San Quentin State Prison.[1][2] Lady Gangster is a remake of the pre-Code film, Ladies They Talk About (1933). Jackie Gleason plays a supporting role.

Film for a Friday: Case Osterberg

Thanks to Renato Bratkovič while attending Alibi-Fest.com I got to see writer Zoran Benčič and producer Tomi Matič present their new crime film, Psi Brezčasja / Case:Osterberg on Saturday night at Kino Slovenska Bistrica. Although my Slovenian is practically non-existent and there were no subtitles, I had no trouble following the story because the visual storytelling was so good. It’s the directorial debut for Matej Nahtigal, who teamed up with Benčič, the frontman of the seminal Slovenian rock’n’roll band Res Nullius, to adapt his 2012 novel with the same name. Nahtigal did so much with what was a ‘no budget’ film (many big name actors worked for nothing): the neo-noir style was spot on and it looked far more assured than you’d expect from a debut.

Vrhovec brings a dogged determination to Rok Osterberg as he stumbles down the dark alleys and grimy streets of the city. He can’t really trust anyone, of course — this is noir! — and violence breaks out at the drop of a hat, portrayed in all its wincing painfulness. There’s a switch of perspective about 2/3 of the way in: a tough thing to pull off and yet it’s done effortlessly. Fans of noir will not be disappointed. Indie filmmakers will be impressed: it raises the bar. If you can catch it on the circuit, do.

Synopsis: This is the story of Rok Osterberg (PRIMOŽ VRHOVEC), who returns to his hometown after years of living abroad to find out who had killed his brother and why. Rok’s personal investigation into his brother’s murder leads him through the underbelly of the city, where he has to face friends and enemies, old and new. He finds that Katarina (BREŽE), his ex girlfriend, is now the wife of the leading candidate for the town’s new major. The murder of Maks Osterberg is mystery to everyone, especially to the police and Rok realizes that the way to solving it stretches out of the dimly lit streets of the underworld up to the highest echelons of society.

Po knjižni predlogi/ inspired by novel:   Zoran Benčič, Psi Brezčasja
Režija/director  MATEJ NAHTIGAL
Zgodba /Story ZORAN BENČIČ
Izvršni producent/executive producer   TOMI MATIČ

IGRALCI/ actors:
Rok Osterberg   PRIMOŽ VRHOVEC
Katarina VIDA BREŽE
Inšpektor Kramer/inspector Kramer IVO GORŠIČ
Spaski IVO BARIŠIČ
Đango   PREDRAG PEĐA MITROVIĆ
Inšpektor Polak/inspector Polak   BLAŽ SETNIKAR
Kovač starejši/ Kovač senior RADKO POLIČ RAC
Aldo   AKIRA HASEGAWA
Pavel BORUT VESELKO
Roksana VALENTINA PLASKAN
Lili   ANDRIJANA BOŠKOŠKA BATIČ
Odvetnik Bernard Lam/lawyer Bernard Lam PRIMOŽ PIRNAT
Inšpektor Štajner/inspector Štajner   MARKO UJC
Inšpektor Holz/inspector Holz EMIL CERAR
Marcel Bach   VLADO G. REPNIK
Ivan DEJAN HERMANN
Polakova spremljevalka/Polak’s companion on bal: MARINA GREGOREC
Obritoglavec 1/skinhead 1   TOMI MATIČ
Obritoglavec 2/skinhead 2   LJUBISAV LJUBO ŠTICA
Taksist 1/ taxi driver 1 GORAN PETRAŠEVIČ

OSTALO:
Scenarij/ screenwriter’s: ZORAN BENČIČ & MATEJ NAHTIGAL
Supervizor montaže/supervisor editor: ANDRIJA ZAFRANOVIĆ
Asistetnt supervizije montaže/assistant editing supervisor : PETER BAN
Montaža/ editors: MATEJ NAHTIGAL & ZORAN BENČIČ
Direktor fotografije /director of photography: VLADAN JANKOVIĆ
Producentka/producer: ŽIVA ČONKAŠ
Asistentka režije/assistant director: NINA TRATNIK
Tajnik režije/director secretary: ŽAK DAKOTA LEKŠE
Mojster luči/gaffer: DRAGO JARIČ
Asistent osvetljave/best boy: JURIJ VIŽINTIN
Scenografija/production designer: URŠKA MAZEJ
Kostumografija/ costume designer: SANJA GRCIĆ
Vodja scene/ grip: IVO PETRETIČ
Filmska tehnika/film equipment: FS VIBA FILM, ARRI ALEXA XT
Tonska tehnika/sound equipment: FS VIBA FILM