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James Ellroy on TCM

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by jake_fink, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. jake_fink

    jake_fink Call Me a Cab

    Did anyone else see the four films James Ellroy programmed for his day as guest programmer? They were:

    Stakeout on Dope Street (1958)
    Murder by Contract (1958)
    The Line Up (1958)
    Armored Car Robbery (1950)

    The first is about a lost stash of Heroin and the boys who find it. It was directed by Irvin Kirshner who directed Empire Strikes Back almost 25 years later. Everything that was mildly interesting about the earlier film - use of real locations, talky, theatrical scenes of two or three characters in a room, one nice shot of a really big fist about to connect with a sweaty little face and a smash cut to a bowling ball coming up the chute - was left out of the later film.

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    Murder by Contract, Ellroy tried to argue, was about social/class climbers and ambitious yuppies. Maybe.

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    The Line Up was the real stuff. Directed by Don Seigel and featuring Emile Meyer, Eli Wallach (his debut) and Robert Keith (Brian's dad) it had everything a good noir needs, a pshychotic killer, his creepy right hand and their strange relationship, plodding though relentless cops, an organized criminal conspiracy, innocent victims caught up in events beyond their control, an interesting use of real (San Francisco) locations, a climactic car chase, and a Tommy Udo moment. This is a hard one to see as only bootleg dvds exist. Worth it.

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    The last film brings Narrow Margin's director and star together. Charles McGraw is after the slimy William Talman (the prosecutor in Perry Mason, but also the hitch-hiker in The Hitch-Hiker) for a robbery during which McGraw's parnter was killed. It's a good film, and, come on... Charles McGraw.

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    Ellroy on the TCM website
     
  2. Ellroy picked some great films. I'm glad that I saw "The Line Up". That film ought to be officially released-it's a crime I tell ya! What a fast paced violent and gritty little tale and great to see those familiar-and some not so (long gone Sutro)-San Francisco locations. "What were his last words?" :eusa_clap
     
  3. What a bummer... I only got to see Murder by Contract.
     
  4. jake_fink

    jake_fink Call Me a Cab

    It was interesting, I think, that a writer chose four films that all contained the line (or a slight variation of the line), "I never write things down."
     
  5. It would be great if instead of showing so many Lassie films they would just repeat some of these guest programmer segments. Film noir is just the right kind of thing for those long nights of insomnia...
     
  6. jake_fink

    jake_fink Call Me a Cab


    It is often the cause of those long nights of insomnia.
     
  7. ba-dappBOOM! (rim-shot sound-effect):rolleyes:
     
  8. I've been an ARMORED CAR ROBBERY fan since I first saw it eight years or so ago on TCM. A great little programmer with enough "Los Angeles as it was" scenery for five films! William Talman was great, as was Adele Jergens as the "Berlee-cue" queen. A fantastic film, and I hope it got a few more fans after this latest showing.
     
  9. Noindex

    Noindex New in Town

    I recently read James Ellroy's autobiography "My Dark Places"......a very revealing and interesting book. Sometimes maybe a bit too much personal information. But that's how he is...he's never afraid to hold back.
     
  10. Noindex

    Noindex New in Town

    correctrion........he's never ONE to hold back.
     

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