Film for a Friday: Possessed (1947) – K. A. Laity

Like so many films noir, Possessed begins after most things have happened then backtracks to find out how we got there. A surprisingly unglamorous and decidedly untethered Joan Crawford wanders down the empty roads of early morning Los Angeles. When a tram driver stops to let her on, she can only ask for David. She’s…

Overlooked Crime: Rebuilding Coventry – Sue Townsend by K. A. Laity

Best known for the Adrian Mole books, the late Sue Townsend wrote a variety of other interesting novels, memoirs and plays. I picked up this one after Beth Jellicoe mentioned it on her piece about Muriel Sparks’ Loitering with Intent, the latter certainly one of my faves amongst her many fine novels—and a book that…

Overlooked Noir: Crack-Up (1946) by K. A. Laity

No surprise that this one would appeal to me: Noir ambience? Check. Art and art forgery plot? Check. Mind manipulation? Check! Yeah, art and a sort of Hannibal connection, well – I’m sold. Never mind that Crack-Up stars Pat O’Brien, an unlikely everyman as its hero. It’s got Claire Trevor though, with a wild swathe…

Noir Classics: Those Who Walk Away – Patricia Highsmith by K. A. Laity

Don’t let the pull quote form Slavoj Zizek put you off. This too-little read classic by Highsmith is a cracking read. It’s suffused with an existential dread so thick you could cut it with a Derwatt paint knife. It starts in Rome and quickly moves to Venice, currently repopulated with swans and dolphins, which is…

Kiss Like a Fist by Graham Wynd

She had a mouth that could raise the dead. It had raised me plenty over the years, but I’d never been close enough to Rosaline’s orbit to do anything about it. Until tonight. I brought her a third martini and her tongue had loosened enough to share some sage advice with me as she leaned…

Hammett by K. A. Laity

Oh a whim (sorry) I decided I really needed to finally see Wim Wenders’ Hammett, which might also be Francis Ford Coppola’s Hammett. Or not. In any case, it’s not the film Wenders envisioned. In the 70s war-fatigue fueled the neo-noir revival that gave us films like Chinatown, Farewell My Lovely, and Altman’s The Long…

Noir Classics: Vera Caspery’s Bedelia (1946) by K. A. Laity

Having finally caught the film I knew I had to get around to the novel. A key change: the novel is set during 1913, when the writer herself had been in high school. Caspary must have decided the past was a better setting; there’s the practical matter of being truly snowbound in the last part…

Lavender by K. A. Laity

I smelled lavender again today.  Nigel would bring me lavender from his walks across the fields, throw his arms around my shoulders and smother me in a hug. Lavender: the scent that meant his absence, his return. He would never come back now. Instead the lavender’s perfume arrived, bidding me remember, remember.  I turned back…

Neglected Noir: Bedelia (1946) by K A Laity

I finally got around to watching this because I am still (again, always) obsessing about Hannibal and the presentation I’ll be giving on it in April. What’s the connection? Show runner Bryan Fuller named a new character after her, Bedelia du Maurier (obviously the Rebecca author for the other half of her name). The novel…