Who is Barbara Graham, you ask? Well, read on.
Barbara Graham’s life reads like it dripped off the pages of a hard boiled crime fiction writer’s pen. A sexy, voluptuous, lethal femme fatale born bad to the bone. The newspaper media of the day even tagged Graham with the nickname “Bloody Babs.” Born Barbara Ford, she had a tough life right from the beginning. Born in Oakland, CA. out of wedlock to a teenage mother, who would herself be sent to reform school when Barbara was two years old, the child bounced around from one foster home to another. In her early teens Barbara would ironically be incarcerated in the same reform school her mother was in just a few years earlier. At 16, back in her hometown of Oakland, alone, pretty, with little education, Barbara made money by “dating” sailors. The dates did not always results in sex, sometimes they were just dates. She tried leading a straight life, went to school, married, had two kids, but the marriage soon failed as did two other marriages. She apparently turned to prostitution, petty crimes and drugs, her friends all crooks and low-life’s. Barbara would soon end up in jail after being found guilty of perjury when she foolishly attempted to protect two of her thug pals from the law. Continue reading
2013 was an intoxicating year in film. Filmmakers as diverse as Woody Allen, Steve McQueen, Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze and the Coen Brothers all releasing some of the best films of the year, and in some cases, the best of their careers. Admittedly, my list is limited to mostly films made in the U.S., not because I believe America has a hook on making the best movies, it is due more to my location, timing and release patterns.
My top ten list is actually a top five list. I have been wrestling back and forth, attempting to decide, in what order the remaining films would fall. Subsequently, since I did not want this post to be published in July, I just added them to my Honorable Mentions all which are in alphabecial order. Continue reading
Author Jim Thompson created some of the darkest of pulp crime fiction to ever land between the covers of a greasy paperback left in a two bit diner on a dark rain soaked night. He was a writer whose tales were filled with sleazy grifters and psychopaths. An alcoholic in real life, Thompson’s works featured characters that drank too much booze, like it was a life saving device or a device to run away from life.
Many of Thompson’s protagonists first appear to be dim blubs; working with one cylinder missing however, beneath the facade, there’s a psycho who is calculating, devious and most likely a killer. In 1955, Thompson published “After Dark, My Sweet.” Some thirty five years later, James Foley directed, and co-wrote with Robert Redlin, a screenplay, producing a near faithful adaption of Thompson’s hard-boiled novel. Having read the novel, I can verify the screenwriters used much of the original dialogue; it’s all pure, down and dirty. The movie is an uncompromising tale as any film noir from the golden age. Sadly, this film, when released in 1990, died at the box-office and is virtually forgotten even today. Continue reading
“Whiplash” is the kind of routine film that Warner Brothers pumped out weekly back in the 1930’s and 1940’s, the days before a television was standard in everyone’s home. Not saying this is as a bad thing or that “Whiplash” is a bad movie. It’s like the old saying goes, “They just don’t make’em like this anymore.” Now, no one is going to make the argument this is a great film but with that said, it does keep you interested despite its flaws, specifically a script that at times stretches the imagination in the believability department.
Dane Clark is a poor California artist named Mike Gordon who gets hooked on a tantalizing, mysterious woman named Laurie (Alexis Smith) who he met after finding out she bought one of his paintings. He convinces her to go out on a date and quicker than you can cook a three minute egg Gordon has fallen in love with the dame. Soon after, Laurie hastily, without a word, heads back to New York City only telling Mike they should not get involved. But Mike is already neck deep in love with her and follows his heart to the east coast. Continue reading
It’s time again for our annual Twenty Four Frames Top Ten List of Classic Films Watched… For The First Time. This is our fourth year presenting this list of the best films that I have finally managed to catch up with. As usual the films are in alphabetical order.
In 2013, the list was dominated by American films, unlike in 2012 when only three U.S. films made the list. There are two films from France and one film, a co-production, from the U.K. and India. The 1930’s and the 1950’s had the most films on the list with three each. Both the 1920’s and the 1980’s had tw0. There are 10 honorable mentions all of which are worthy works in and of themselves and deserve to be seen. For easy access, I have provided a link to all the films watched in 2013. http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/film-diary-2013/
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1931) Lewis Milestone
Classic anti-war film that still packs a punch on the horrors, the meaninglessness and evils of war along with the stupidity of those back home preaching the glories of dying for ones country with shallow patriotic slogans and rhetoric. The battle scenes are as graphic, and magnificently shot, as the war is shown to be senseless. A highlight is when Lew Ayres returns home and visits the classroom of a former teacher. The young teen students are all anxious and ready to go to war. Ayres tells them how it really is…”There’s no glory, we live in the trenches, we fight…we try not to be killed – that’s all!” This is Lewis Milestone’s masterpiece. While he made a few other good films, “The Racket,” “The Front Page,” and “Of Mice and Men” to name a few, he never came close again to making this fine and powerful a cinematic work. Continue reading
THE POSEIDEN ADVENTURE (1972) The New Year’s Eve party starts off great but then you get that sinking feeling…
Stereotypically cats have been called aloof, sneaky, and manipulative. In reality, felines are independent, mischievous and self-aware. They are also smart, loving, affectionate and without trying very hard do some of the oddest, funniest things at the most unexpected times. Nothing against dogs, they are loyal, obedient, loving and always happy to see you, jumping around excitedly whenever you arrive back home. On the other hand, cats may lift their head up as if to say, “oh it’s you.” That is unless it is time to eat and you are late coming home. Dogs are anxious to please while cats, well cats play it cool. Want to find the most comfortable chair in the house? Just check where the cat is sitting.
I never had a pet as a kid except for a parakeet that one summer my parents left with my grandmother while we went on vacation. One day my dear grandmother let the bird out of the cage to give it a little flying time. Unfortunately, she forgot one of her windows was open and well, it was bye, bye birdie! I never had a dog or cat, never wanted one. That said, many years later when I met the woman who would become my wife, I soon learned she had four cats, and like a woman with kids, it was a package deal. I quickly found myself living with four little furry felines that to not only my surprise, but to just about everyone who knew me, I fell in love with. I became an animal lover. I could tell you a lot more but I will only add that we still have cats today. This last statement will come as no surprise to anyone who has visited my John Greco Photography facebook page. Continue reading