Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Film on author Lloyd Alexander.

Jared Crossley, the director of Lloyd Alexander, has dropped the price of the DVD of his film on the noted American fantasy author (best known for the Chronicles of Prydain) in honor of what would have been Alexander's 90th birthday in 2014. The DVD is now $10.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stolen (2006).

Stolen, a documentary by Rebecca Dreyfus, delves into the 1990 heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, with special attention to the role of art detective Harold Smith.

Monday, February 24, 2014

New Clues CFP: Patricia Highsmith.

Le cri du hibou (The Cry of the Owl),
dir. Claude Chabrol (1987, based on
the novel by Patricia Highsmith)
A Call for Papers has been posted for the Clues 2015 issue "Re-Evaluating Patricia Highsmith," guest edited by Fiona Peters (Bath Spa University, UK). Proposals for articles are due by May 1.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

TLS on the model for a Buchan villain.

David Warner as
Appleton in
The 39 Steps (1978)
The Times Literary Supplement's Michael Caines discusses a new book on Sir Edgar Speyer, considered a model for a villain in John Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Huston's Three Strangers (1946).

In Three Strangers, a lottery ticket spells trouble for Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Geraldine Fitzgerald. Story by John Huston, with a screenplay by Huston and Howard Koch.

Monday, February 17, 2014

August Derleth: Best mysteries of 1969.

Essential Solitude: The Letters of
H. P. Lovecraft and August Derleth

Hippocampus P
In the Dec. 6, 1969, issue of the Capital [WI] Times, August Derleth (creator of the Holmes-like Solar Pons) listed his selections for the best fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books of 1969. Mysteries and sci-fi appeared under the subtitle "Entertainments" rather than the "Fiction" category. It may have been ethically questionable that he listed H. P. Lovecraft et al.'s Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos—which was issued by Arkham House, the publishing firm he cofounded.

The Godfather by Mario Puzo and Daphne du Maurier's The House on the Strand were two of his fiction selections, whereas two of his sci-fi picks were Fritz Leiber's A Spectre Is Haunting Texas and Douglas Warner's Death on a Warm Wind. His mystery selections included:

Allingham, Margery. The Allingham Casebook. Campion and Charlie Luke short stories
Bernkopf, Jean F., ed. Boucher's Choicest. Some of Anthony Boucher's picks for best mystery short stories
Carr, John Dickson. The Ghosts' High Noon.
Carter, Philip Youngman. Mr. Campion's Farthing. Carter was Allingham's widower
Christie, Agatha. By the Pricking of My Thumbs.
Davies, L. P. Stranger to Town.
Fish, Robert L. The Murder League.
Gardner, John. A Complete State of Death.
Kahn, Joan, ed. Hanging by a Thread.
Marric, J. J [John Creasey]. Gideon's Power.
Marsh, Ngaio. Clutch of Constables.
Queen, Ellery, ed. Queen's Minimysteries.
Simenon, Georges. Maigret in Vichy (aka Maigret Takes the Waters)
Stout, Rex. Death of a Dude.
Whitney, Phyllis A. The Winter People.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Clues' Brooks Hefner on S. S. Van Dine,
With Good Reason radio.

On the February 15 episode of the radio program With Good Reason, James Madison University's Brooks Hefner discusses the heretofore unknown pseudonym he uncovered of Philo Vance creator S. S. Van Dine (featured in his Clues article), Van Dine's alter ego of Willard Huntington Wright, and Wright's work in the context of highbrow/lowbrow debates of his time. The same program features Longwood University's Christopher McGee talking about the Hardy Boys series.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Finger of Guilt (aka The Intimate Stranger, 1956).

In Finger of Guilt, film studio honcho Richard Basehart receives threatening letters from someone who says she is his mistress, although he claims no knowledge of her. Roger Livesey and Constance Cummings costar. The film was directed by the blacklisted Joseph Losey (as Joseph Walton), with a screenplay by blacklisted screenwriter Howard Koch (as Peter Howard).

Monday, February 10, 2014

Anthony Mann films in Berkeley.

Claire Trevor in Raw Deal (1948)
Envy lucky San Francisco residents, because they can see the crime films of Anthony Mann (1906–67) at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley this month. These include Border Incident (1949), Desperate (1947), He Walked by Night (1948), Raw Deal (1948), Side Street (1949), and T-Men (1947). There's a new book about this aspect of the director's work: The Crime Films of Anthony Mann by Max Alvarez.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

"Dutch" redux: Radio doc on Elmore Leonard.

The Trespassers, previously
unpublished by Elmore Leonard
On the KPFA radio program Bookwaves, Richard Wolinsky (known for various collaborations with mystery-science fiction author Richard A. Lupoff) hosts a documentary on Elmore Leonard that includes archival interviews. Two audio versions are available: a 36-min. edited version and a version as heard on KPFA.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Podcasts on mystery films, Warner Archive.

The latest episode of the Warner Archive Collection podcast discusses the release of Bill Elliott Detective Mysteries (1955–57), a DVD of films with Elliott as a detective working in the LA sheriff's office:

Calling Homicide (a police officer's death is connected to the murder of a head of a modeling school)

Chain of Evidence (man with amnesia faces murder charges)

Dial Red-O (disturbed veteran is accused of killing his wife)

Footsteps in the Night (Elliott on the trail of a strangler)

Sudden Danger (son seeks his father's murderer)

Other podcast episodes include:
  • Episode on Terror on a Train (1953, with Glenn Ford) and The Decks Ran Red (1958, with James Mason and Dorothy Dandridge)
  • Episode on The Mask of Dimitrios (1944, from the novel by Eric Ambler), A Dangerous Profession (1949), Duffy of San Quentin (1954), The Fall Guy (1947, from Cornell Woolrich's "Cocaine"/"C-Jag"), FBI Code 98 (1963), and Loophole (1954)
  • Episode on the Hildegarde Withers Mystery Collection that features the spinster detective created by Stuart Palmer and popularized by Edna May Oliver

Monday, February 03, 2014

Jill Paton Walsh on Lord Peter Wimsey.

Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter
Wimsey in "Clouds of Witness"
On the BBC Radio 4 program Open Book, Jill Paton Walshwho completed Dorothy L. Sayers's Thrones, Dominations—discusses why readers remain devoted to Sayers's sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. Walsh considers Wimsey an early feminist.