Don Siegel’s The Killers

Wonders in the Dark

By J.D. Lafrance

The first feature-length adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “The Killers” was directed by Robert Siodmak in 1946 and featured a young Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner as the two leads. It was a simple tale of a man who had hit rock bottom so badly that he allowed two hitmen to kill him. The doomed man was the focus of Siodmark’s film while, on the surface, it may seem that Don Siegel’s 1964 film version is all about doomed race car driver Johnny North (John Cassavetes). He is given quite a bit of The Killers’ screen time through flashbacks by the people that knew and loved him. However, Siegel drops in subtle visual clues throughout to suggest that the film is actually about the two professional killers with an emphasis on the elder more experienced one played by Lee Marvin. It is interesting to note…

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Deneuve, Polanski, and Repulsion

repulsion-imageRepulsion, Roman Polanski’s first English-speaking film opens with an extreme closeup of Carol’s (Catherine Deneuve) eye and ends with a vintage family photo of Carol as a child. In the photograph, Carol is isolated from the rest of the family as Polanski’s camera slowly moves in on her same vacant looking eye. An absolute masterpiece of psychological horror, Repulsion ushered in, along with Hitchcock’s Psycho and Powell’s Peeping Tom the modern-day horror film. Polanski presents a nightmarish, hallucinogenic world full of dark expressionistic shadows with extreme close-ups and wide angles all edited to perfection.  The film is the first in an unofficial trilogy of “apartment films” with Rosemary’s Baby and The Tennant completing the threesome.  In all three films, Polanski conveys a disturbing unreceptive view of life in city dwellings. Continue reading

Twilight Zone Inspired Short Story

If you are a fan of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, you may want to check out my latest short story, Make it Write.  It’s a tale about a wannabe writer, George Jensen, who comes into possession of an amazing software program. The program is the author’s dream come true and his worst nightmare. Soon George has a novel on the New York Times bestseller list. George Jensen should be on top of the world instead, his life is spiraling out of control.

Available at Amazon for only 99 cents!

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New England Crime Time

John Greco Author/Photographer

I recently posted a list of some of my favorite and grittiest of New York City films from the 1970s. This time around I thought I select some crime films from the combined states that make up New England. As you may suspect Massachusetts, Boston in particular, makes up the majority of the films and the grittiest. Not all these films are gritty or from the 70’s but they are films with criminal elements.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle  (Massachusetts)

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Dolores Clairborne (Maine)

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Mystic River (Massachusetts)

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The Stranger (Connecticut)

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Gone, Baby, Gone  (Massachusetts)

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The Stepford Wives  (Connecticut)

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The Trouble With Harry  (Vermont)

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American Buffalo (Rhode Island)

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The Departed  (Massachusetts)

The Departed

To Die For (New Hampshire)

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The Boston Strangler(Massachusetts)

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Shutter Island (Massachusetts)

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Make it Write – New Short Story

If you are a fan of The Twilight Zone you may want to check out my new short story, MAKE IT WRITE.  It’s a slight departure from my usual tales tossing in a bit of Rod Serling fantasy along with the usual darker deadly deeds.  I hope you’ll like it.

“Another great story by John Greco. This one reads like a Twilight Zone episode. Every author can relate to this creepy story. And what a twisty ending.” Joseph Souza – Author of Pray for the Girl and The Neighbor.

MAKE IT WRITE is available as an ebook on Amazon for only .99 cents.

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My Gritty Dozen 1970’s NYC Crime Films

This list is a result of recently reading author David Gordon’s article on Crime Reads. Like David, I grew up and lived in New York during its grittiest down and dirty days.  It’s a bit ironic that during New York’s ugliest days some of the best films set in the city were made during that time. I was already a movie freak, and while I liked a wide variety of movies I found myself attracted to crime films at a very young age. Two of the earliest I remember seeing on the big screen were Al Capone and Baby Face Nelson. While most parents took their under ten years of age kids to only Disney films, my folks took me to more adult movies too including gangster films.

Without further ado, here are my favorite crimes films from the 1970’s.

 

The Panic in Needle Park (1971)

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Dog Day Afternoon (1975) 

Dog Day

Mean Streets (1973)

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Taxi Driver (1976)

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Klute (1971)

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Shaft (1971)

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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (!974) 

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The French Connection (1971)

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Serpico (1973)

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Across 110th Street (1972)

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Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)

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Death Wish (1974)

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Originally posted at John Greco Author. 

Inspiration

John Greco Author/Photographer

After recently watching James Cagney in the 1931 film, The Public Enemy, I was inspired to begin work on a new short story. It was one of the film’s most famous scenes and lines uttered by the actor that caught my attention. Badly shot after a shootout, Cagney as Tom Powers, comes out of a storefront carrying two guns. He staggers down a rainy dark street. Just before dying and falling to the ground, he mumbles his  famous line, “I ain’t so tough.”

My story deals with a small time local hood on the run from the cops, after catching his girlfriend in bed with another guy, and shooting them both.  At this point in time those famous last words are the title of my story, but that could change as the tales evolves. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Below is the famous scene from The Public Enemy.

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