Julieta – film & book review

Julieta-posterThe great Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar has adapted part of Runaway, the 2004 book by the great Canadian author Alice Munro, as Julieta. The  results are really intriguing, providing a movie experience that is full of mystery and both very faithful to the author and tonally often completely at odds with her approach. But then, Hitchcock is as big an influence as Munro, one might argue …

The following review is offered, a tad cheekily as the film hasn’t even been released in cinemas in much of the world yet, as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his unmissable Sweet Freedom blog.

Continue reading

Posted in Canada, Film Noir, Spain, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 22 Comments

MISCHIEF (1993) by Ed McBain

McBain_MISCHIEF_pbThe Deaf Man, that arch nemesis of the 87th Precinct and in particular thorn in the side of detective Steve Carella, is back again for a Springtime caper, here passing himself as Sanson, one of his many daft and transparent pseudonyms. But this is just one of a multitude of storylines that include a rap concert in the park, the murder of several graffiti artists, pro-choice demonstrators, a hostage negotiation that goes hideously wrong, maltreatment of seniors, rising racial tensions and an unexpected link-up to a previous book from this series originally published in the late 1970s,

I submit this review for  Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.
Continue reading

Posted in 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 28 Comments

Scream and Scream Again (1969) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Scream-and-Scream-AgainThe big selling point for this movie was the presence of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, though in fact the three never appear on-screen at the same time. And despite the title it’s not much of a horror film either, so some fans may have felt somewhat gypped! While admittedly disjointed, this is an entertaining Cold War thriller with tinges of sci-fi. What is the connection between the murder of a politician in an unnamed eastern Bloc nation, the apparent heart attack of an Englishman and the brutal murder of a young woman?

The following is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at his Sweet Freedom blog.

Continue reading

Posted in Amicus, Christopher Lee, England, London, Peter Cushing, Science Fiction, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 32 Comments

HOUSE OF EVIL (1954) by Clayre and Michael Lipman

Stark-House_Lion-anthologyDespite sporting a generic title that makes it sound like a Gothic horror, don’t be put off as this is a terrific little mystery with a strong psychological slant. This reprint comes courtesy of Stark House Press supremo Greg Shepard, who has brought together three little known thrillers in this anthology to celebrate and represent the range and diversity of the titles published by Lion Books during the paperback original explosion of the 1950s. All three are pretty obscure and hitherto not that easy to get hold of. Out of the three in this volume, today I’m focusing on what may be the least known of them all, a piece of dark psychological suspense set in San Francisco from the husband and wife team of Clayre and Michael Lipman.

I submit this review for Bev’s 2016 Vintage Golden Age Mystery Scavenger Hunt; Patti’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Patinase blog; and Rich Westwood’s Crimes of the Century meme over at his Past Offences blog, which this month celebrates all things from 1954.

Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Friday's Forgotten Book, San Francisco, Stark House Press | 19 Comments

The Pearl of Death (1944)

220px-The_Pearl_of_Death_-_1944_-_PosterAfter the rousing success of The Scarlet Claw, could Universal’s Holmes and Watson series continue at the same fever pitch? Well, no, not quite, but this breezy thriller, kicking off the next trio of Holmesian adventures for Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, remains none the less extremely entertaining. It is also one of the most faithful to its original Conan Doyle source, in this case The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, in which Lestrade calls on the detective to investigate a series of odd crimes perpetrated by a an ape-like man.

The following is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.
Continue reading

Posted in Arthur Conan Doyle, London, Sherlock Holmes, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 30 Comments

THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL (1983) by John le Carré

LeCarre_LITTLE-DRUMMER-GIRL_panJohn le Carré remains a true perennial and an astonishing success story. Some 55 years from his debut, he is still a best-selling author and adaptations of his work, like the BBC mini-series of The Night Manager, are big ratings winners and critical favourites too. This spurred me and a friend of mine (lets call him ‘Giles Ladd’) to search through the le Carré back catalogue for one of his books that neither of us had read. We came up with Little Drummer Girl, which is set in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

I offer this review for Bev’s 2016 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt and Patti Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme at her fab Pattinase blog.

Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, England, Espionage, Germany, Greece, John le Carre, Middle East, Switzerland | 30 Comments

What Have You Done to Solange? (1972) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Solange_posterIn the 1960s two film companies made a long series of films using the Edgar Wallace byline – the UK thrillers were made for Anglo Amalgamated (my microsite devoted to these is here), while Rialto filmed their own in Germany, though often set in England. Solange is very loosely based on the Wallace novel The Clue of the New Pin but along with this bit of heritage it offers  a fascinating example of pop culture cross-pollination as an Italo-German co-production filmed largely in London that acts effectively as a sort of giallo-krimi cross-over.

The following is for Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason at his fab Sweet Freedom blog

Continue reading

Posted in Edgar Wallace, Giallo, London, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 28 Comments