THE BIRTHDAY MURDER (1945) by Lange Lewis

Lewis_Birthday-Murders_perennialGreatly admired by Barzun and Taylor, this sharply observed and elegantly phrased whodunit is set in the Hollywood movie colony at the height of its Golden Age. Its protagonist is Victoria, a successful screenwriter and novelist (and soon-to-be playwright) whose new husband is poised to break into the big time by producing a screen adaptation of one of her books. As she prepares for her thirty-fifth birthday, various crises, major and minor, start to appear before a murder styled after one in her book hits very close to home …

I submit the following review for Bev’s 2014 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Challenge; and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Lange Lewis | 41 Comments

Top 20 Amnesia Mystery Movies

Whether it’s the intrigue of Jason Bourne adventures or the farcical escapades of the Hangover films, memory loss remains a popular narrative device in fiction in general and at the cinema in particular. Here is a guide to my top 20 favourite movies dealing with the theme of amnesia, real or feigned, medically sound or pure Hollywood moonshine. I’m not sure they are necessarily the best, but they are some of the most distinctive that I’ve seen over the last 40 years or so. So, in strict chronological order, we begin with  …

The following is offered as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his Sweet Freedom blog and you should head over there to see the many other fascinating titles that have been selected.

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Posted in 'Best of' lists, Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Billy Wilder, Boileau-Narcejac, Charlie Chan, England, Eric Ambler, France, Greece, Hammer Studios, James Hilton, Jimmy Sangster, John Frankenheimer, Len Deighton, London, Los Angeles, LP Davies, New York, Orson Welles, San Francisco, Spain, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 78 Comments

THE SAINT IN EUROPE (1953) by Leslie Charteris

Charteris-Saint-in-Europe-hodderI can’t quite believe it but this may in fact be the first Saint book I have read in about 35 years! I do remember picking up some of the tie-ins reprinted when Return of the Saint premiered on TV in 1978 but that was probably it – shocking! Hodder are reissuing all the books but as this collection of Simon Templar’s European adventures comes with a new intro by Mike Ripley, I couldn’t resist!

I submit this review for Bev’s 2014 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Challenge; Katie’s 2014 Book to Movie Challenge at Doing Dewey (for links, click here); and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog, today celebrating works from the 1950s.

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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Austria, Friday's Forgotten Book, Germany, Leslie Charteris, Mike Ripley, Paris, Rome, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands | Tagged | 58 Comments

Suture (1993) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

Suture-dvdThis complex mystery is in a literal, thematic and metaphorical sense, a true piece of black and white cinema. An experimental indie movie that riffs smartly on the Film Noir genre, this is a cleverly plotted murder mystery about amnesia and identity in which what we see as an audience is radically different from how the characters perceive the world they inhabit. We begin with two men, one white and one black, one stalking the other, seemingly about to kill each other. During this we listen to a lecture about amnesia. Just as a shotgun is poised to go off, we flash back to the beginning of our tale, and understand something truly disorienting  …

The following review is offered as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his Sweet Freedom blog and you should head over there to see the many other fascinating titles that have been selected.

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Posted in Film Noir, Los Angeles, Noir on Tuesday, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 33 Comments

THE THIRD MAN (1950) by Graham Greene

Greene_Third-Man_panPublished after the release of the popular film of the same name, this book by Graham Greene is slightly unusual – it is not a screenplay (and indeed it varies from the finished film in many ways) and it is not a novelisation either. It is a genuine novella that Greene wrote before embarking on his screenplay, though it was not originally intended for publication. It is a gripping thriller, superbly told, and in Harry Lime created an immortal anti-hero …

I submit this review for Bev’s 2014 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo; Katie’s 2014 Book to Movie Challenge at the Doing Dewey blog (for links, click here); and Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Film Noir, Five Star review, Graham Greene, Orson Welles, Vienna | 51 Comments

The Whole Truth (1958) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

The-Whole-Truth_poster_germanStewart Granger is the Hollywood producer accused of a murder he didn’t commit in this neat little thriller set on the Riviera. Shot with typical energy and flair by tyro director John Guillermin (The Blue MaxDeath on the Nile, The Towering Inferno), it was adapted by the great Jonathan Latimer from a play by Philip Mackie. We begin with a man on the run …

I submit this review for Bev’s 2014 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Challenge bingo; Katie’s 2014 Book to Movie Challenge at the Doing Dewey blog (for review links, click here); and Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at Sweet Freedom. Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, John Guillermin, Jonathan Latimer, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 46 Comments

MR CAMPION’S FAREWELL by Mike Ripley

Mr-Campions-Farewell I first got hooked on the world of Margery Allingham and her crime-solving adventurer Albert Campion by proxy, through the scripts written by Alan Plater for the criminally underrated Campion TV series starring Peter Davison. I mention this because what we have in the brand new Mr Campion’s Farewell is another great look at the same character, albeit many decades older, filtered though the eyes of another fine writer, in this case crime author, critic, editor and archaeologist Mike Ripley, easily one of the nicest men I have ever shared a drink with.

It is 1969 and Campion is visiting his niece, who lives in the apparently idyllic Suffolk village of Lindsey Carfax. But there is clearly  something wrong as the power of nine asserts itself …

Posted in Albert Campion, England, Margery Allingham, Mike Ripley | 28 Comments