Friday, October 17, 2008
Jumpstart The New Economy Special-Tickets only $20!
The School of Night
In the late 16th Century, a young 29 year old playwright named Christopher Marlowe was brutally stabbed through the eye. Was it a mere pub brawl? Or was Marlowe attacked because he was a confessed atheist? Flagrant homosexual? Traitor? Sometime double-agent and spy? Or a member of the secret society of free thinkers, The School of Night?
In this gripping political thriller, everyone is a suspect - and everyone has a hidden agenda. Originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, The School of Night is directed by Bill Alexander, renowned former Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
We know you need a break!
"An immensely expert and intriguing whodunit." - International Herald Tribune
Over at BOOKGASM, Brian Winkeler gives us a hilarious list of 10 Completely lame superheroes. I have to agree with all of them, even though I kinda liked The Dazzler and still have the full run of her appearances.
Spider-Man and Batman? Cool as hell. Superman and the X-Men? Ditto. But just because you put on some costume and fight crime doesn’t mean you’re all that. Far from it. Whether it’s in the funny pages (as old people say) or on the screens big and small, there are plenty of superheroes through the ages who don’t cut the mustard. Here are 10.
As much as I always enjoyed Aquaman as a character (being a blonde, perhaps it was because he was the only high-profile blonde superhero), I’ve gotta admit that he’s pretty lame, although few others can pull off that orange/green combination. So to spare him any further indignity, I’ve decided to direct all that bad will toward his teen protégé, Aqualad.
I can just hear the editorial meeting now: “Hey, we’re getting Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man, back into monthly comics! Yeah! On a book starring a fresh, new, teenage superhero coping with his amazing powers! All right! And let’s name the character after a heroin/cocaine cocktail!”
Vibe, Vibe, Vibe. Poor, dead Vibe. Yet another attempt at cultural relevancy in comics – a smack-talkin’ Puerto Rican breakdancer with the coincidental ability to cause small tremors with his hands.
TO CHECK OUT THE COMPLETE LIST CLICK HERE
I’m English born and raised even, but after living in America since 1962, I’m apparently now only 75% Brit!
YOU ARE 75% BRITISH!
Are you British? Hell, you're more of a Brit than the queen is!
You're truly the dog's bollocks... And you know that's not an insult.
You're still obsessed with football and Monty Python, but at least you always remember your manners.
TO FIND OUT HOW BRITISH YOU ARE CLICK HERE
One of the best of the clones to hit the bookshelves in the wake of the success of Robert Parker’s Spenser novels was Washington D.C. private eye Leo Haggerty. Author/psychologist Benjamin Schutz threw together all the Parker/Spenser ingredients, yet through strong writing managed to give his series, starting with 1985’s Embrace the Wolf, it’s own edge.
Leo Haggerty, a jockish/renaissance-type hero obsessed with moral dilemmas, is slightly harder and more cynical than Spencer. Arnie Kendall has the Hawk role as the unstoppable, slightly psychotic, but loyal sidekick. And Samantha Clayton has the insufferable Susan Silverman part as the smart/sexy girlfriend who helps the hero understand himself. Schutz described the relationship between Leo and Arnie as imagining Lew Archer with Mike Hammer for a partner.
Embrace the Wolf has one of the most chilling opening scenes I have ever read as a father receives a phone call with the recording of the voices of his twin daughters – both of whom were kidnapped five years earlier when they were five years old, all efforts to find any trace of them ending in failure. After the brief tape is played of his daughters’ imploring voices, a male voice comes on the phone saying, “I still have them,” and hangs up.
When the father goes off on a rampage to find his daughter, the mother –who has long given up her daughters for dead – hires Haggerty to stop her husband before she loses him as well.
While the six novel in this series owe a debt to Parker/Spenser they are powerful and well written in their own right and eventually come to stand on their own.
Embrace the Wolf (1985)
All the Old Bargains (1985)
A Tax in Blood (1987)
The Things We Do For Love (1989)
A Fistful of Empty (1991)
Mexico Is Forever (1994)
Mary, Mary, Shut the Door (2005).
Includes all three Haggerty short stories, a new story featuring private eyes Sean and Matt Ellis, plus Schutz’s Marlowe pastiche, "The Black-Eyed Blonde"
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
CONTENTS OF AN E-MAIL FROM STEVE TYRELL:
It saddens me to inform you that my longtime friend and collaborator William Claxton died of complications from congestive heart failure in Los Angeles over this past weekend.
Bill photographed several of my albums covers and many of my recording sessions. I was so very lucky to have known and worked with this legendary photographer whose photographs are some of the most famous in history. He and his pictures have captured some of the greatest moments in music and like him, will live forever. I urge all of my fans to please check out this wonderful man and his work.
Sorrowfully, Steve Tyrell
Anyone who doubts the power of black-and-white photography must not have seen the work of William Claxton, the music and fashion photographer who died Saturday morning in Los Angeles. Claxton, who was 80 and died of complications from congestive heart failure, used settings, moods, light and shadows to tell stories that were both stark and sympathetic.
OBITUARY: WILLIAM CLAXTON
Perhaps the best tribute to the honesty of his photographs is that he was trusted by Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Steve McQueen, none of whom had any inherent love for the people who always wanted to take their pictures.
Claxton ultimately became friends with McQueen, drawing on their common love of things you could drive at a high rate of speed. Among his many pictures of McQueen, he leaves one of the most enduring: the star behind an open wheel in sunglasses, leaning back and looking up. He's a man alone, ready to go.
Claxton started listening to and collecting jazz in the 1930s, before he was a teenager, and within a few years he was starting to photograph musicians he admired.
PHOTOS: WILLIAM CLAXTON'S CLASSIC SHOTS
But where the average fan just wanted a picture of himself next to the famous person, Claxton saw someone like Charlie Parker in a setting, like a faux recording session. He surrounded Parker with people who may or may not have looked like musicians but who had the exotic feel and intense attitude Claxton heard in Parker's music.
Attitude was also what he found in Sinatra. His photographs from Sinatra's Capitol sessions show a man who runs the room, radiating confidence that however he dresses is right, however he sings will be right.
Over the years Claxton photographed most of the royalty of jazz, from Duke Ellington to Dizzy Gillespie. His genius was finding ordinary moments that conveyed something extraordinary, whether it was the connection to an instrument or a look that said the same thing as the music.
He used his friendship with Chet Baker to chronicle Baker's rise in the jazz world of the early 1950s, and even within a few years, Claxton's photos showed how the raw young man became a star with a full house of demons.
Claxton himself often referenced a famous picture where Baker has a tooth missing, the result of a fight that probably wasn't advisable for someone who made a living with his mouth.
With his eye for lighting and nuance, Claxton also was a natural to shoot fashion. He's probably still best known in that field for the series of then-shocking photos he took of his wife, model Peggy Moffitt, in a Rudy Gernreich collection that included the famous topless swimsuit.
Perhaps fittingly, one of Claxton's last photo subjects was Bob Dylan, another tough shoot. But by then, Claxton had long since stopped being a guy with a camera and become an artist.
Through his pictures, he helped preserve important parts of our cultural heritage, which is to say, he didn't let us forget who we are.
I really like Mentalist star Simon Baker and I was a big fan of his show The Guardian. I've watched two episodes now of The Mentalist and I still like Simon Baker, but the rest of the show is crap. Obviously, however, others disagree...
It didn't take a psychic, real or fake, to predict that CBS would give a full-season order to its new hit, "The Mentalist."
The network announced Wednesday (Oct. 15) that it's picking up the most-watched new series of the fall in a no-brainer of a decision. The order comes closely on the heels of CBS asking for six extra scripts -- which will now become part of the show's back nine episodes.
Starring Simon Baker as a debunked TV psychic-turned-highly observant consultant to the California Bureau of Investigation, "The Mentalist" is averaging about 16.1 million viewers a week this season. That puts it in the top 10 of all shows and several million viewers ahead of any of its fellow freshmen.
CBS Investigates More 'Mentalist' Scripts
CBS says the series is also the top newcomer in the adults 25-54 demographic, where it's drawing a 5.3 rating. It's also doing pretty well in the 18-49 demo; its 3.8 rating trails only FOX's "Fringe" (4.6) among new shows.
"The Mentalist" is the third new show to be picked up for a full season, following "Fringe" and The CW's "90210."
The series also stars Robin Tunney, Amanda Righetti, Tim Kang and Owain Yeoman. Bruno Heller ("Rome") is the creator and executive producer.
According to VARIETY:
Brian Henson, whose helming credits include "Muppet Treasure Island" and "A Muppet Christmas Carol," will direct from a script by Todd Berger and based on a story created by Dee Robertson and Berger. Robertson's exec producing.
The pic will be populated by a mix of human characters and puppets in the Henson style of irreverence and parody. Story centers on a puppet detective forced to solve a string of murders around the Happytime Gang, the cast of a popular children's show.
On Sale October 21
BIG TIME PROPS TO WRITING BUDDY BOB RANDISI FOR MAKING THE PAGES OF VARIETY . . .
Hackett options first novel 'Everybody Kills'
The Rat Pack lives -- sort of.
In a move that features life and art imitating each other like a dog chasing its tail, Sandy Hackett has optioned Robert Randisi’s novel, “Everybody Kills Somebody Sometime,” the first of Randisi’s “Rat Pack Mysteries” featuring the eponymous Hollywood bad boys.
Hackett, son of late comedian Buddy Hackett, created “The Rat Pack Is Back” tribute revue at Las Vegas’ Plaza Hotel. He met Randisi when the author was researching the Pack in 2007, and the two struck a pact this summer.
“Everybody” is set in 1960 when the storied showbiz gang (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Bishop) was shooting “Ocean’s 11” during the day and headlining the Sands’ Copa Room at night.
The tale finds Randisi’s protagonist, pit-boss Eddie Gianelli, summoned to look into a series of death threats against Martin.
“The Rat Pack were drinking before there was alcoholism, smoking before cancer, and having sex before AIDS,” says Hackett. Still, he adds, “There is a romanticism about them.”
With Randisi set to deliver the screenplay —his first — by year’s end, Hackett, who also co-exec-produced the 2007 horror film “Portal,” hopes to roll cameras by the first quarter of 2010.
It’s not too early, however, for Randisi to muse on who might make a good bigscreen Sinatra: “If Michael Buble or Harry Connick Jr. read Variety, I’d like them to get in touch with me.”
FROM BLOG BUDDY AND COMIC CREATOR EXTRAORDINAIRE CHRIS MILLS:
Above is the title page of Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries issue #4, which after some unanticipated delays (on the creative end, unfortunately), is now completed and going off to the publisher in the next day or so.
Issue #3, which I thought would be out in August/early September, also suffered some unanticipated delays (not on the creative end) and is on the way, even if it's not on this week's Diamond Distributors shipping list. I know it's been printed and shipped to the distributor (my comp copies went out at the same time and I got them over a week ago), so I can only hope that it will be processed and in stores for the 22nd.
For those of you following the book, I apologize for the messed up scheduling. I really hoped that we wouldn't fall victim to the too-common indie comics problem of late books, but, well, things didn't work out exactly as planned.
Please try and pick it up anyway, #3 may be the strongest issue of the bunch.
The page above is from the final issue of this initial Femme Noir miniseries, and features a new character: Okona of Meteor Island. She's our homage to all the great jungle heroes – and heroines, obviously – of comic books and pulp fiction, complete with a backstory involving an island inhabited by giant, mutated monsters. Issue #4 also features the return of inker Mark Stegbauer (Issue #2), the debut of a new colorist, Michael Watkins, and an awesome variant cover pencilled by the late Mike Wieringo and inked by series artist Joe Staton.
I really think it will be worth the wait.
Acclaimed film and TV composer and big band trumpeter Neal Hefti has died at age 85. Hefti was regarded as a top name in jazz – working with Count Basie, Woody Herman, and many others –, but it was his work in film that gained him the most fame.
He composed the classic theme for the Batman TV show, which perfectly captured the pop culture aspect of the series. Another of Hefti's most enduring themes was for the 1968 hit film version of The Odd Couple. The theme was also used in the 1970s TV series.
Hefti's other film scores include Barefoot in the Park, Duel at Diablo and Harlow.
FOR MORE ON HEFTI’S CAREER CLICK HERE
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
It’s a story of fifteen young sailors... six months of intense training... one chance at the brass ring. This exciting True-Life documentary tells the inspiring story of a group of intrepid and determined young men and women, on the cusp of adulthood, as they embark on life’s first great adventure. Racing a high-performance 52-foot sloop in the TRANSPAC, the most revered of open-ocean sailing competitions, the crew of "Morning Light" matches wits and skills in a dramatic 2300 mile showdown against top professionals.
From their earliest training sessions in Hawaii conducted by world-class teachers through their test of endurance on the high seas, they form an unbreakable bond in the process of becoming a singular team that is greater than the sum of its parts. Edited by one of the key filmmakers responsible for the acclaimed 2004 surfing documentary, "Riding Giants," written and directed by the team of filmmakers behind the recent rock documentary "Amazing Journey : The Story of the Who," and the critically acclaimed "Once in a Lifetime ; The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos," "Morning Light" will appeal to the sense of adventure in everyone.
Roy E. Disney, co-produced “Morning Light” with long-time partner and award-winning film maker Leslie DeMeuse. Disney has competed in the Transpac since 1975 (aboard the yawl, Shamrock), setting elapsed-time records in 1977 and 1999. He is best known for his four Pyewackets, named after the witch’s (played by Kim Novak) cat in the movie Bell Book and Candle. Passionate about the sport, Disney says the Transpac is by far his favorite race.
The Jules Verne Festival takes you to an Extraordinary Journey through films and special events for people of all ages. This is where Science meets Fiction in the tradition of Jules Verne, the man who wrote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and From The Earth to the Moon.
Documentaries to explore our planet join Adventure and Sci Fi movies to broaden your imagination. You can become a pioneer again.
For me, Stuart Woods is a workman-like storyteller with occasional flashes of brilliance – his novel Chiefs is still one of my all-time favorite police procedurals, inspiring one of my all time favorite television mini-series (I still often repeat the dialogue from the opening scenes of the segment starring Billy Dee Williams – if you don’t know what I’m talking about add Chiefs to your Netflicks queue immediately).
Any book by Woods is generally readable, but I don’t often pick up his titles as there is just too much more exciting stuff out there. Occasionally, however, I give Woods another try as I did with his first Rick Barron novel, The Prince of Beverly Hills. While this wasn’t exactly a riveting read, I really quite enjoyed it as a comfort read. Set in the pre-war 1940s across a backdrop of Hollywood moviemaking, the book hit all the right notes for me and I looked forward to a sequel.
Finally, it arrived in the form of Beverly Hills Dead, picking up its movie making motif several years after the end of WWII. While most of the Amazon reader reviews say this book sucked, I again found myself enjoying the characters and the storyline – the effect of the House on Un-American Activities Committee’s (HUAC) investigation on Hollywood blacklisting.
Beverly Hills Dead is not much of a mystery – what most of Woods’ fans expect – but it is a good novel. Woods clearly shows how HUAC was insidious in its actions and how both good and bad people were affected by its actions.
On the strength of both The Prince of Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills Dead, I’ll be picking up another of Woods’ Rick Barron novels should he chose to write another entry in the series.
From the EURO CRIME BLOG:
Spiral, the excellent French crime series, was shown a couple of times on BBC4. There are rumours the second series will be on in the autumn (though it's autumn now, so...). In the meantime, the BBC have released a 2 disc box set of the first series. The going rate is £22.99.
Aimed at 9-12 year olds, The Dragon Tattoo appears to be the first in a series of Baker Street Mysteries, written by Tim Pigott-Smith. The Dragon Tattoo was published in August by Hodder.
Sherlock Holmes has disappeared. Billy Chizzell dreams of hitting the headlines: YOUNG HERO LOCATES MASTER DETECTIVE! Billy's search takes him to Limehouse and an encounter with evil. Rescued by Sam Wiggins, Billy agrees to help Sam stop the plans of the infamous Dragon Clan of Shanghai to spread their criminal activities to London.
TO CHECK IT OUT AT AMAZON U.K. CLICK HERE
The George W. Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages. The Library will include the following:
The "Hurricane Katrina Room," which is still under construction.
The "Weapons of Mass Destruction Room," which no one has yet been able to find.
The "National Debt Room" which is huge and has no ceiling.
The "Tax Cut Room" with entry only to the wealthy.
The "Economy Room" which is in the toilet.
The "Iraq War Room." Another toilet. After you complete your first visit you find yourself going go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes a fifth time.
The "Dick Cheney Room," in an undisclosed location, complete with shotgun shooting gallery.
The "Environmental Conservation Room," still empty.
The "Supreme Court Gift Shop," where you can buy an election.
The "Airport Men's Room," where you can meet some of your favorite Republican Senators.
The "Decision Room" complete with dart board, Magic 8-ball, Ouija axis-of-evil board, dice, coins, and straws.
The museum will also come equipped with electron microscopes to help you locate the President's accomplishments.
While he is my least favorite James Bond, Roger Moore – 81 today – will always be the one and only Saint in my heart. As a person, he is charming and much beloved, never letting ego get the better of him. His charitable work is widely-known, and his co-stars invariably adore him.
In the end, being a better person may be more important than being criticized for portraying a goofy James Bond.
Many happy returns of the day, Sir Roger!
A tip of the fedora to DEBORAH LIPP for the reminder
This week, Spywise.net is proud to announce four new articles for your reading pleasure.
In the Spies on Television and Radio section, two new interviews include:
HAVING A BURN NOTICE JONES THIS WEEK? TOD GOLDBERG HAS THE FIX FOR YOU
Fans of Burn Notice might think they have to wait until January for their next adventure featuring Michael, Fi, Sam, and the quirky Westen family. But not
So – Novelist Tod Goldberg’s first novel based on the show is out. It’s earning great reviews and is but the first in a series of extended Burn Notice
stories. Want an insider’s view into Burn Notice: The Fix? We have it at Spywise.net.
FROM F TROOP TO GET SMART: THE MANY VOICES OF LARRY STORCH
We admit, many espionage buffs might raise an eyebrow hearing the name of Larry Storch, most famous for his loveable character as Corporal Agarn on F-Troop. Not so fast – Larry has a resume that ranges from voice work (as in Mr. Whoopee on Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales) to being the Groovy Guru on Get Smart.
When we had a chance to sit down and interview Larry at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity! Expect some surprises and revelations from this very lively and personable veteran of stage, screen, and TV.
ON A MORE LITERARY NOTE
New contributor Mark T. Hooker has some insightful book reviews in the Spies in History and Literature section:
AN EMERGING TREND IN SPY FICTION: RETIRED JAMES BONDS BECOME IAN FLEMINGS
This is actually a mega-review in which Mark talks about four recent titles and if they indicate a new trend in spy fiction? Check out Mark’s very thoughtful analysis.
SPY FICTION À LA CANADIENNE: THE NOVELS OF ADRIAN LE HOOG
In his second review for Spywise.net, Mark examines the fiction of Canadian spy writer Adrian de Hoog. Mark focuses on two novels, The Berlin Assignment (2006) and Borderless Deceit (2007) in a very balanced exploration into the characters, plot, style, and historical relevance of the books.
Later this month, Spywise.net has even more new features for you. We’ll keep you posted! Until then, we hope you enjoy this Octoberfest of spy stories!
TO CHECK IT ALL OUT VISIT WWW.SPYWISE.NET
With all the turmoil in the market today and the collapse of Lehman Bros and acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America this might be some good advice. For all of you with any money left, be aware of the next expected mergers so that you can get in on the ground floor and make some BIG bucks.
Watch for these consolidations in later this year:
1.) Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W. R. Grace Co. Will merge and become: HALE, MARY, FULLER, GRACE
2.) Polygram Records, Warner Bros., and Zesta Crackers join forces and become: POLY, WARNER CRACKER
3.) 3M will merge with Goodyear and become: MMMGOOD
4. Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining will merge and become: ZIPAUDIDODA
5. FedEx is expected to join its competitor, UPS, and become: FEDUP.
6. Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers will become: FAIRWELL HONEYCHILD.
7. Grey Poupon and Docker Pants are expected to become: POUPONPANTS.
8. Knotts Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women will become: KNOTT NOW!
And finally . . .
Wait for it . . .
9. Victoria 's Secret and Smith &Wesson will merge under the new name:
TITTY TITTY BANG BANG
Monday, October 13, 2008
Here’s a new movie that should be embraced by every married and planning to be married couple. Make the effort to seek it out at a theater near you and open your mind and your heart.
This is quite possible the most marriage affirming movie ever made. A small film, a bit schmaltzy perhaps, but carrying a powerful message. If you’ve ever wondered how to make your marriage stronger, overcome the many bumps in the marital road, and continue to love your spouse then Fireproof will show you the way.
TO CHECK OUT THE MOVIE WEBSITE CLICK HERE
At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter's adage: Never leave your partner behind. At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules.
Growing up, Catherine Holt always dreamed of marrying a loving, brave firefighter...just like her daddy. Now, after seven years of marriage, Catherine wonders when she stopped being "good enough" for her husband.
Regular arguments over jobs, finances, housework, and outside interests have readied them both to move on to something with more sparks.
As the couple prepares to enter divorce proceedings, Caleb's father challenges his son to commit to a 40-day experiment: "The Love Dare." Wondering if it's even worth the effort, Caleb agrees-for his father's sake more than for his marriage. When Caleb discovers the book's daily challenges are tied into his parents' newfound faith, his already limited interest is further dampened.
While trying to stay true to his promise, Caleb becomes frustrated time and again. He finally asks his father, "How am I supposed to show love to somebody who constantly rejects me?"
When his father explains that this is the love Christ shows to us, Caleb makes a life-changing commitment to love God. And ‘with God's help’ he begins to understand what it means to truly love his wife.
But is it too late to fireproof his marriage? His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt is ready to face his toughest job ever...rescuing his wife's heart.
FIREPROOF YOUR MARRIAGE
Meridian Magazine recently ran a great article on the Fireproof movie by intimacy educator Laura M. Brotherson…
It's not everyday that you find a movie that is dedicated to strengthening marriages. Fireproof is just that. It's got action and drama, love and humor, and intense emotion. It's awesome. Yet it sends a message that is rarely seen on the big screen, that your marriage is worth fighting for, and that the best way to go about it is by including God in the process.
Kirk Cameron, 1980's teen idol in the hit TV show “Growing Pains,” stars as Caleb Holt, a fireman on the brink of divorce. He gets caught up in the snare of selfishness to which many couples fall prey in marriage. Self-preoccupation rears it's ugly head as both Caleb and his wife express mutual hostility, blaming, and putting other people and things ahead of each other.
In training a rookie firefighter, Caleb is adamant that he never leave his partner behind, especially in the midst of a fire. Unfortunately Caleb cannot see that he is disregarding his own advice in his personal life. Thankfully he has a fellow firefighter and friend who is able to help him see the light.
Caleb also has a loving father who is able to share something from his own marital journey in the form of a "Love Dare." This journal contains 40 days of suggested readings and practices for Caleb to do to restore the love and his faith in his marriage.
What I love about the "Love Dare" concept is that it highlights the fact that it really only takes one person to dramatically change a marriage. The problem is that it isn't always easy to do. This is made painfully obvious throughout Caleb's efforts to win back his wife's heart.
TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE CLICK HERE
Miss Jane Russell Sings
TO DOWNLOAD CLICK HERE
Like Chuck Palahniuk of Fight Club noteriety, Craig Davidson is a visceral writer with a capital V. Rust and Bone, his short story collection published in 2005, portrayed eight very different men all bound by their addiction to action. The reader needed a strong stomach, an open mind, and a macabre sense of humor to navigate the tales and to find their essential meaning.
In the title story, a boxer mournfully chants the names of the 27 bones that make up the human hand, all of which he has broken in the course of a career that now sees him fighting in ever-seedier venues. He sees the beauty of boxing even as he admits that his fights are a matter of survival and atonement for past sins.
Now comes Davidson’s first novel, The Fighter, and a return to the seedier side of the boxing world he so ably depicted in Rust and Bone.
Paul Harris leads a sheltered existence. The son of a Niagara winery owner, his suits and cars are paid for, his career in the family business assured. He is insulated from the rough realities of life—until a vicious barroom beating sets him down a new path.
Rob Tully also feels that his life is on a set course. A born boxer with natural talent, Rob trains with his father, Reuben, and his uncle Tommy, both of whom believe that a gift like his can change their lives.
Rob and Paul's fathers want so much more for their sons than they ever had themselves, but both sons are determined to find their own way. While Paul descends into the world of hardcore bodybuilders and boxing gyms, Rob struggles under the expectations set upon his young shoulders.
Their disparate paths lead to The Barn, an underground fight venue where vicious and hopeless men brawl for cold hard cash. No rules, no limits, no brakes. And when two fighters step into a ring where anything goes, sometimes only one walks out.
Set in the violent world of illegal bare-knuckle boxing, The Fighter is the electrifying story of one man trying to escape his fate and one man hurtling towards it. It captures the bleak, bloody world of underground boxing, the difficult relationships between fathers and their sons, the lengths to which these men are driven for self-knowledge, and the depths they will plumb in order to answer the ultimate question of how a modern man makes his way in today's society.
I’ve long been a fan of both R.D. Wingfield’s Inspector Frost novels and the televison series they spawned starring David Jason. I’ve just ordered the latest and unfortunately the last – due to the author’s untimely death – Frost novel a Killing Frost. I’m looking forward to curling up with it by the fire later this year when the temperatures drop appropriately.
I’ve also just come across emminent author and mystery critic Mike Ripley’s appreciation of Wingfield and his character published in the Shot’s Ezine.
I had, of course, no idea at that time of the story behind the creation of Inspector Frost, I just assumed that this slovenly, rude, put-upon, bumbling detective – who was at heart intensely human, shrewd and brave – had sprung, fully-formed from the author’s typewriter, perhaps as a reaction to the more cerebral sleuths such as Morse and Dalgliesh. I had certainly never come across a fictional detective like him before. Here was a policeman who had to juggle several cases at once (not just a murder and the traditional sub-plot), who was not above fiddling his mileage claims and the overtime statistics, who didn’t quote poetry or claim any esoteric specialist knowledge and who used the blackest of humour when confronted with the gruesome realities of his job.
Jack Frost seemed remarkably like many of the real CID detectives in West London I knew at the time, or at least a middle-age version of them. Here was a policeman you might not like, but it was a character anyone (other than those readers wearing Golden Age tinted spectacles) could recognise as an ordinary bloke doing a particularly unpleasant job.
TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE
CINEMA RETRO has posted a great excerpt from Stephen B. Armstrong’s new book, Pictures About Extremes: The Films of John Frankenheimer, assessing the underrated sequel French Connection II . . .
In 1971, 20th Century-Fox scored a huge commercial and critical hit with The French Connection, a hard-boiled thriller about the largest heroin bust in New York City’s history. Directed by William Friedkin and starring Gene Hackman as Det. Eddie “Popeye” Doyle, the picture presented a gritty, but idealized portrait of the police at work. In 1972, wanting to capitalize on the picture’s success, Fox decided to produce a sequel, a continuation of Doyle’s pursuit of Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey), the French drug lord who eludes capture at the end of Friedkin’s film. The studio decided to have the picture shot in Marseilles, a port city in the south of France where heroin production thrived in the early Seventies. Friedkin, however, was uninterested in working on a sequel and so the chiefs at Fox approached John Frankenheimer, who had lived in France and spoke the language fluently. Although Frankenheimer had enjoyed a great deal of success in the Sixties with pictures like The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May and Grand Prix, nearly a decade had passed since he’d scored a box office hit. The opportunity to work on a high-budget picture of this sort aroused his interest and he accepted the offer.
TO READ THE COMPLETE POST CLICK HERE
FOR THE ANSWERS CLICK ON THE COMMENTS BOX BELOW
A tip of the fedora to MISS CELLANIA