Category Archives: Los Angeles

HARDBOILED, NOIR AND GOLD MEDALS by Rick Ollerman

Bringing together new essays with material published over the last decade, this new volume in the Stark House Reference range more than lives up to its subtitle: Essays on Crime Fiction Writers from the ’50s through to the 90s. Part of … Continue reading

Posted in Charles Williams, Donald Westlake, Ed Gorman, Friday's Forgotten Book, Harlan Ellison, Hollywood, Los Angeles, New York, Noir, Stark House Press, Wade Miller | 17 Comments

ANGEL’S FLIGHT (1960) by Lou Cameron

This dynamic piece of jazz noir was the debut novel of Lou Cameron (1924–2010), an author who would later establish himself as the ultra prolific authors of hundreds of Westerns. First published as a Gold Medal original, it spins the … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Los Angeles, New York, Stark House Press | 30 Comments

The romance of Brian De Palma

The following revisit of a favourite film and director is offered for the Brian De Palma Blogathon being hosted by Ratnakar Sadasyula at his site, Seetimaar – Diary of a Movie Lover from 11 to 21 September to celebrate the great filmmaker’s birthday … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Brian de Palma, Chicago, Cuba, Florida, France, Germany, Hollywood, Italy, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Vietnam, Washington DC | 37 Comments

1950s Hitchcock – vote for the best

This was the decade when Hitchcock truly became a superstar – along with a string of critically acclaimed and commercially successful films he became the host of his own TV shows Alfred Hitchcock Presents (and later, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour), … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Boileau-Narcejac, California, Canada, Cornell Woolrich, Edmund Crispin, Espionage, Film Noir, Film Poll, France, London, Los Angeles, New England, New York, Noir, Patricia Highsmith, Ray Milland, San Francisco, Screwball, Spy movies | 65 Comments

Hitchcock in the 1940s – vote now!

With the success of The Lady Vanishes, Hitchcock got a contract with producer David O Selznick and headed to Hollywood to make the Oscar-winning Rebecca – and never looked back. This period saw the director blossom as he got to … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Anthony Berkeley, Australia, California, Cold War, Courtroom, Daphne Du Maurier, England, Espionage, Film Poll, Francis Beeding, London, Los Angeles, New York, Noir, Patrick Hamilton, Philip MacDonald, Screwball, Spy movies, The Netherlands, World War II | 59 Comments

Top 25 TV Detectives

Well, I have been watching the BBC’s new police drama River starring Stellan Skarsgård and Nicola Walker. Whether it will be a one-off or continue I don’t know but I think it is as good as Cracker ever was and … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Agatha Christie, Albert Campion, Columbo, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ellery Queen, Inspector Morse, Inspector Wexford, London, Lord Peter Wimsey, Los Angeles, Margery Allingham, Miss Marple, Nero Wolfe, New York, Oxford, Paris, Poirot, Rex Stout, Ruth Rendell, San Francisco, Sherlock Holmes, TV Cops | 162 Comments

THE LITTLE SISTER (1949) by Raymond Chandler

This is one of my favourite Raymond Chandler novels but I’m probably in a minority on this. In fact, even the author professed to dislike it! I loved this book when I first read it as a kid but wondered … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime | 76 Comments

SLEEP WITH SLANDER (1960) by Dolores Hitchens

This was the second, and last, of the novels featuring private detective Jim Sader published under her ‘Dolores Hitchens’ byline by Julia Clara Catharine Dolores Birk Olsen Hitchens (1907–1973), who also wrote as D. B. Olsen, Dolan Birkley and Noel Burke. … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Bill Pronzini, Los Angeles, Private Eye, Ross Macdonald | Tagged | 25 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 … Continue reading

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 | 87 Comments

Suture (1993) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

This 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 … Continue reading

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

THE CASE OF THE LUCKY LEGS (1934) by Erle Stanley Gardner

The third in the Perry Mason series is set in the world of crooked beauty pageants and hails from back when the character was a pretty hardboiled lawyer who spent most of time racing around outside the courtroom. “I always take risks. … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Erle Stanley Gardner, Friday's Forgotten Book, Los Angeles, Perry Mason, San Francisco | 43 Comments

The Passion of Brian De Palma

Well, there is a slight change to our usual schedule today as it’s my birthday, which means I am officially in my mid forties … good grief! So I could commemorate this august moment just by joining a gym (of … Continue reading

Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Brian de Palma, Chicago, England, Film Noir, France, Germany, Hollywood, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Washington DC | 35 Comments

Top 12 Mystery Movie Remakes

As the movie summer starts to wind down, the sheer number of sequels, remakes and ‘reboots’ certainly can make for a dispiriting summing up. But it is worth remembering that, at least in our genre, there are a great many great … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...', Chicago, Ernest Hemingway, Film Noir, James M. Cain, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Mexico, Miami, Michael Curtiz, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Parker, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Richard Stark, San Francisco, Texas, Top 10, Washington DC | 52 Comments

SOMEONE IS BLEEDING (1953) by Richard Matheson

Like so many writers of his generation, Richard Matheson – who turned 87 last month – was shaped by his experiences in World War Two. Though this produced only one directly autobiographical book, The Beardless Warriors, postwar malaise and unease … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Friday's Forgotten Book, Los Angeles, Richard Matheson, Scene of the crime | 45 Comments

A GRAVEYARD FOR LUNATICS (1990) by Ray Bradbury

Hollywood, 1954 and the unnamed protagonist of Ray Bradbury’s Death is a Lonely Business (which I reviewed here) is back. When we saw him last he was a struggling pulp writer living in Venice (California) – since then has moved … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Private Eye, Ray Bradbury, Scene of the crime | 18 Comments

Telefon (1977)

This adaptation of the 1975 spy novel by Walter Wager has a great central gimmick and features the unlikely pairing of granite-faced action hero Charles Bronson and high-class beauty Lee Remick under the take-no-prisoners direction of Don Siegel. It often … Continue reading

Posted in Amnesia, Cold War, Espionage, Los Angeles, Moscow, Scene of the crime, Spy movies, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 36 Comments

THE ZEBRA-STRIPED HEARSE (1962) by Ross Macdonald

This review is my final contribution to Kerrie’s 2012 Alphabet of Crime community meme for her Mysteries in Paradise blog, which this week reaches the letter Z. It’s been an amazing ride for six months and I am pleased as … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Los Angeles, Mexico, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Scene of the crime, William Goldman | 51 Comments

THE WENCH IS DEAD (1955) by Fredric Brown

This unconventional mystery by cult author Fredric Brown has unfortunately become a little bit scarce, its absentee status probably not helped by the fact that the title, taken from Christopher Marlowe, has been used for several other novels too. The … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, 2012 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, Amnesia, Campus Crime, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Fredric Brown, Friday's Forgotten Book, Los Angeles, Scene of the crime | 37 Comments

I Spy (1965-68)

In 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson bravely intoned, “We shall overcome” and enacted legislation finally enfranchising black American voters, knowing full-well that he was handing the South to the Republicans for decades to come. Within a month the Watts riots … Continue reading

Posted in Espionage, Greece, Hong Kong, Japan, Los Angeles, Mexico, Robert Culp, Rome, Scene of the crime | 38 Comments

K is for … Stuart Kaminsky

The prolific mystery writer and academic Stuart Melvin Kaminsky was born in Chicago in 1934 and spent most of his career as a professor of film. Eventually he would spend 16 years teaching at Northwestern University before becoming a Professor … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Alfred Hitchcock, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Friday's Forgotten Book, George Baxt, Los Angeles, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Stephen J Cannell, Stuart Kaminsky | 17 Comments

J is for … Jonathan Latimer

Kerrie’s 2012 Alphabet of Crime community meme over at her Mysteries in Paradise blog continues this week and has reached the letter J. As part of my contribution, I offer a look at the work of Jonathan Latimer, one of … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Columbo, Cornell Woolrich, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner, Film Noir, Jonathan Latimer, Los Angeles, Perry Mason, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Screwball, The Thin Man | 21 Comments

Hickey and Boggs (1972) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

A train arrives and a woman in sunglasses gets off and quickly walks away. She passes through LA’s Union Station, still looking largely as it did since it opened in 1939. We dissolve to a street scene – it is … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, Five Star review, Los Angeles, Noir on Tuesday, Private Eye, Robert Culp, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 56 Comments

G is for … William Goldman

What do The Princess Bride, All the President’s Men (1976), Marathon Man, the cinema adaptations of Maverick (1994), Misery (1990) and The Stepford Wives (1975) as well as that great counter-culture Western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, all have in common? … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Los Angeles, Private Eye, Ross Macdonald, Scene of the crime, William Goldman | 21 Comments

DEATH IS A LONELY BUSINESS (1985) by Ray Bradbury

I delayed reading this book for the best part of thirty years but finally made the leap last week. I was thirty pages in when I heard the news: Ray Bradbury had died at the age of 91. The following, … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Dashiell Hammett, Friday's Forgotten Book, Leigh Brackett, Los Angeles, Private Eye, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Scene of the crime | 21 Comments

Dead Bang (1989)

I saw this movie at a sparsely attended screening in Berkeley, California in the Spring of 1989 but it has stuck with me as a superior manhunt thriller that deserved a better commercial fate. It has a compelling subject – … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, John Frankenheimer, Los Angeles, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 27 Comments

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982)

Imagine a 40s Hollywood movie shot in gorgeous black and white, backed by a swelling Miklos Rozsa score and costumed by Edith Head. Add a dream cast featuring Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, James Cagney, Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Lana Turner, … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, James M. Cain, Los Angeles, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 44 Comments

THE SCARF (1947 / 1966) by Robert Bloch

“I have the heart of a young boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk” Robert Bloch was the prolific author of novels, short stories and screenplays in the horror, science fiction and mystery genres. He also possessed … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, Amnesia, Chicago, Friday's Forgotten Book, Los Angeles, New York, Psycho, Robert Bloch, Scene of the crime | 37 Comments

Twilight (1998) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

Originally shot under the title ‘Magic Hour’, this low-key murder mystery has probably received extra attention since the release of the Stephenie Meyer books. If so, some may have been a tad disappointed by the lack of teenage supernatural activity … Continue reading

Posted in DVD Review, Film Noir, Los Angeles, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, TV Cops | 28 Comments

Touch of Evil (1958) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

For many, Orson Welles’ 1958 film Touch of Evil marks the end of classic Film Noir. It certainly marked the end of Welles’ Hollywood directing career, though it had to wait some forty years before it could finally be seen … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, Los Angeles, Mexico, Noir on Tuesday, Orson Welles, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Wade Miller, Whit Masterson | 21 Comments

Tequila Sunrise (1988) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

Is it possible for a big budget Hollywood movie to be too thought-provoking or even too original? Aren’t mainstream movies, by definition, positioned to reinforce rather than question viewer expectations? Odd as it may seem when discussing a glamorous 80s … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, Los Angeles, Police procedural, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments