Friday, June 14, 2013

David Goodis

Eddie Muller, who is presenting this month's TCM Friday Night Spotlight, on noir writers, has selected writer David Goodis for tonight's line-up. I have to admit that Goodis is a writer I hadn't heard of, although unsurprisingly I've seen some of his movies.

The night kicks off at 8:00 PM with Dark Passage, which I've mentioned multiple times for its gimmick of having everything in the first 45 minutes or so be from Humphrey Bogart's point of view. This is so they don't have to show his face, because his character is an escaped convict (wrongly, convicted, of course, and he's out trying to find his late wife's actual killer), and to conceal his identity, he gets plastic surgery. Not showing his face before the surgery allows the filmmakers to use Bogart's face in its natural state for the post-surgery visage that nobody is supposed to be able to recognize. Dark Passage is a good movie, although Bogart has certainly done better. Lauren Bacall plays the woman who helps Bogart evade the police, and with whom he falls in love.

That's followed at 10:00 PM by Nightfall, which I am happy to point out is now available on DVD courtesy of one of the Columbia Noir classics sets.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the new-to-me movies are on late at night. Dan Duryea plays the leader of a gang o robbers whose heist goes wrong in The Burglar, airing at 11:30 PM. The last of Muller's suggestions is François Truffaut's take on American pulp fiction, Shoot the Piano Player, overnight at 1:15 AM. This one isn't even on DVD, although it will be coming up again in July whne the Friday Night Spotlight is the films of Truffaut. Unfortunately, the July showing will be at 4:00 AM.

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