Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday Music Club: some more folk rock, with some jazz flavors

Pentangle: "Light Flight"

Judy Henske: "High-Flying Bird" (from Hootenanny(in the studio)

Fairport Convention: "Chelsea Morning; Sun Shade"

The Byrds: "You Ain't Going Nowhere; This Wheel's on Fire" (from Playboy After Dark)

(blurrier video, but fewer disruptions and perhaps slightly better sound)

Love: "You Set the Scene"

Joni Mitchell and The Band: "Coyote" (from The Last Waltz)

The Roches: "Second Family"

Pentangle: "Hunting Song"

The Byrds: "I See You"

Tune detective:
The Big 3: "The Banjo Song" (which puts new music to Stephen Foster lyrics)

Shocking Blue: "Venus"

Joni Mitchell and jazz-musician friends: Shadows and Light

Joni Mitchell - electric guitar, vocals
Pat Metheny - lead guitar
Jaco Pastorius - bass
Don Alias - drums
Lyle Mays - keyboards
Michael Brecker - saxophone
The Persuasions - backing vocals on "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" & "Shadows and Light"

Friday, May 30, 2014

FFB (or magazine in book format): NEW WORLD WRITING 16: Tillie Olsen, Thomas Pynchon, Anne Sexton, Kingsley Amis, et alia...edited by Stewart Richardson and Corlies M. Smith (LIppincott Keystone 1960)

New World Writing had been the New American Library's pioneering literary magazine in mass-market paperback book format for fifteen Mentor-imprint (smugly branded "good reading for the millions") volumes beginning in 1951, and then decamped for seven volumes to Lippincott and their somewhat more expensive paperback line, starting with this issue (and its amateurish cover) and folding in 1964.  And while the Mentor editions usually had longer tables of contents than the Lippincott anthologies, this first issue for the new decade has what could be fairly called a rather impressive line-up:

from WorldCat, augmented:
5 * Editor's Note / Richardson & Smith
11 * Tell me a riddle / Tillie Olsen --
58 * Lolita Lepidoptera / Diana Butler --
85 * Low-lands / Thomas Pynchon --
109 * Five poems / Irving Feldman --
115 * Three lonely men / Leslie Garrett (excerpt from The Faces of Hatred and Love...probably that which was published, with serious revision, as The Beasts)
135 * You that love England / Kingsley Amis --
146 * Dancing the jig / Anne Sexton --
154 * Martin the fisherman / John Knowles --
163 * A penny for the ferryman / John F. Gilgun --
188 * A season in paradise / E.N. Sargent --
223 * You have to draw a line somewhere / Judson Jerome --
231 * The law and Lady Chatterly / Harriet F. Pilpel and Nancy F. Wechsler --
241 * The credence table / Jack Richardson --
278 * Two poems / Jack Marshall --
282 * The listener / John Berry

...which thus includes, in their first publication, Olsen's most famous work of fiction, Butler's first published essay (a well-made case that Nabokov's most famous work of fiction is quite intentionally as much about his passion for butterflies as it is a study of pedophilia or a travelogue of the US), Pynchon's second published short story, Sexton's first published short story, and so on through Berry's brief recounting of a charming anecdote remade into not quite a fable.

I've not yet had the opportunity to read most of the second half of this issue yet, though am amused to see, for example, that John Knowles (best remembered for the novel A Separate Peace) was an editor at Holiday magazine, and wonder how well he got on with staff writer Alfred Bester (they might've even dated, for what little I know, if one dated per se in those still unfriendly times). The Olsen was a remarkable and for me rather painful read (as it's about a married couple, parents of adult children, facing their last years with little hope for happiness for either, and the protagonist being a woman who had never managed to live the life she had expected to, after early political adventure and imprisonment, only to find herself limited to a life in service to a husband she's not completely bitterly estranged from, though habituated to, and children she could never find complete fulfillment in raising nor feel comfortable actually interacting with as adults)(this is rather close to my own family situation in several ways at the moment)'s told also in a rather discursive and personalized style that has not been too widely imitated since, distinctive even in comparison to those other writers who've taken a similar tack with the form of their narrative.

The Pynchon is very funny, and if rather indicative of a young man's attempt to take in the estate of a middle-aged married couple, is still energetic and charming in a way that, say, John Kennedy Toole's rather contemporaneous A Confederacy of Dunces is usually credited with...this is how to do antic for adults correctly...Pynchon's affinity with another, somewhat older contemporary, R. A. Lafferty, becomes somewhat clearer than I've recalled previously, and there's yet another reason to be sorry it took Lafferty till middle-age to begin writing for the likes of New Mexico Quarterly and Science Fiction (the magazine of that title, also an important early market for the likes of Carol Emshwiller and peripherally for Edward Hoch)...

The Sexton is unsurprisingly almost a prose-poem, and Poetry magazine or American Poetry Review today might be willing to publish it as a poem in prose format...the unnamed protagonist is dancing at an otherwise dull dinner party, and a chair catches her eye, manages to remind her of her tense childhood and particularly of one dinner among many with a controlling mother and a distant, alcoholic father. (As Philip Larkin noted at about this time, "They fuck you up, your mum and dad./They may not mean to, but they do....")

And in the course of calling Brit expatriate writers (and presumably other artists) back home to fight the Gray Tories and other similar things, Kingsley Amis notes that he finds the totality of Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One false, even if every detail is true.  Well, it won't be the last time Amis is wrong, if he is.

I'll be finishing this and reporting on the balance. For more prompt and complete reviews, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Related posts:
FFB: THE AVON BOOK OF MODERN WRITING (1953) and No. 2 (1954) ed. William Phillips & Philip Rahv, among other "paperback magazines"/periodical books

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May's Underappreciated Music: the Links

The monthly assembly of undervalued and often nearly "lost" music, or simply music the blogger in question wants to remind you reader/listeners of....

Patti Abbott: Tuesday Night Music; Saturday Night Music; Theme Music

Brian Arnold: The Coasters

Jayme Lynn Blaschke: Friday Night Videos

Jim C.: Herbie Mann and Rufus Harley: The Wailing Dervishes

Sean Coleman: The Who Sell Out

Bill Crider: Forgotten Music; Song of the Day 

Elizabeth Foxwell: Lalo Schifrin; Maurice Jarre

Woody's Children 45th Anniversary Concert: the full audio recording of the radio series special, which will have a shorter-form PBS pledge special seen nationally beginning in August:

Pictured (L to R): Holly Near, Nora Guthrie, Christine Lavin, Noel Paul Stookey, host Bob Sherman, David Amram, Tom Paxton, Tom Chapin, Sandy O and Pat Humphries of emma's revolution.

Jeff Gemmill: Diane Birch: Bible Belt

Jerry House: The Zombies; Hymn Time; Herb Jeffries: "Flamingo" ; much else on a daily basis

Randy Johnson: Soil; Steel Panther; Little Caesar

George Kelley: Roy Orbison: Mystery Girl

Kate Laity: The Tonebanks; The Autumn Stones

Evan Lewis: The Outsiderz

Todd Mason: Memorial Day; music from my Mother; more Third Stream Music

Lawrence Person: Shoegazer Sunday

Charlie Ricci: The Dynamics: First Landing:  Ben Vaughn: The Desert Trailer Sessions; Arthur Alexander: Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter

Jeff Segal/Vivienne Chow: Maggie Cheung

The Byrds: Under Review (part 5, and a link to all that's online)--a nice actually live vocals clip of "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better"...followed by the whole Hullabaloo performance, below:

Diane Birch: "Fools"  

Tune detective time: 
Herb Jeffries with the Ellington Orchestra: "Flamingo" (1940)

Anita O'Day with the Krupa  Orchestra: "Skylark" (1941)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: day's delay edition with new links

A Chinese Ghost Story (2011)
Below, the (with apologies, delayed) links to this week's reviews and citations; As always, please let me know in comments when I've missed yours or someone else's...and, as always, thanks to all our contributors and to you readers...a few more might be added over the course of the day.

Anne Billson: Black Death

Bill Crider: Cold in July [trailer]

Brian Arnold: Captain America serial plus intermissions

B.V. Lawson: Media Murder

Charlie Ricci: Don't Touch My Records!

David Vineyard: The Curse of the Midas Cup

Ed Gorman: Derailed

Ed Lynskey: Chef (the recent film)

Elizabeth Foxwell: David Goodis...To a Pulp 

Evan Lewis: The Terror of Tiny Town

Fred Blosser: Viva Sabata!

George Kelley: Fading Gigolo; Gojira movies

Iba Dawson: Keep On Keepin' On; When the Garden Was Eden

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Johnny Guitar

Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: (and The CBS Radio Mystery Theater): "The Case of M.J.H." by Henry Slesar

Jackie Kashian: Julie Klausner

The Big Country
Jacqueline T. Lynch: Our Very Own

James Reasoner: Ace Drummond

Jason Bailey: 25 Underrated Films of 2000-2009

Jeff Flugel: The Big Country

Jerry House: The Case of the Frightened Lady; Lum and Abner: "The Pine Ridge Moving Picture Company"

John Charles: A Chinese Ghost Story (2011)

John Grant: Engagement; Douce Violence; Conflicted

Jonathan Lewis: The Heroes of Telemark; The Twilight Zone: "No Time Like the Past"; The Lineup (the film)

Laura: After Office Hours; They Were Expendable

Lucy Brown: Double Dynamite

Martin Edwards: Quirke; library events

Marshall Trimble: Tom Horn

Marty McKee: Hotline; Expect No Mercy

Mystery Dave: Roman Holiday

Patti Abbott: Kind Hearts and Coronets

Philip Schweier: Metropolis; John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy

Prashant Trikannad: Abwärts (aka Out of Order)

Randy Johnson: Cloudburst; 32 Caliber Killer (aka Killer Calibro 32)

Rick: Letters in movies; My Cousin Rachel

Rod Lott: Sightseers

Ron Scheer: Raw Edge

Sergio Angelini: Hammer Films

Stacia Jones: We Are the Best!; The Biggest Bundle of Them All

Stephen Bowie: Mannix

William Deeck: Dangerous Partners

Yvette Banek: Five Films That Should Be Available: Truly Madly Deeply; Five Came Back; Making Mr. RightThe Wrong BoxThe Blue Lagoon (1949)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Saturday Music Club on Memorial Day

The Kinks: "Some Mother's Son"

The Suspects: "Swords of the Fallen"

The Weavers: "Venga Jaleo"

Human Sexual Response: "Anne Frank Story"

Tom Lehrer: "Send the Marines"

Friday, May 23, 2014

FFB: The Best from IF, Volume III edited by James Baen; World's Best Science Fiction 1970 and 1971 volumes, edited by Donald Wollheim and Terry Carr

Time for a few more examples of how the twig was bent...three important anthologies to me as a young reader. My father brought all three into the house, in the early/mid '70s, the two Wollheim/Carr annuals in their Science Fiction Book Club hardcover editions with the bold typography, the If magazine best-of in its only edition I've seen, published by the paperback arm of the magazine's publisher at the time, Award Books. These were fascinating anthologies to me, diverse and exposing a 10yo to a wide range of approaches to sf (11yo when the If book was published and arrived in-house), and to the life and matters around sf (the Hoagland and Geis and Del Rey columns in the If volume particularly). They didn't sweep me up as thoroughly as the "Alfred Hitchcock"-attributed anthologies I was reading in the same year or so, and as many as I could find, and the similarly eclectic horror anthologies I was reading (and humor, and so much else) were at least as influential and as eagerly devoured, but as I look at what I was dipping into with these, as well as with the other anthologies and collections my father would bring around along with what I could find on my own in booksales and libraries and even the increasingly frequent visits to actual bookstores, it's easy to see why I've remained an enthusiastic reader of the fantastic, and have perhaps an excessively nostalgic attraction to best-of annuals, even when I might disagree with the editors in question about their choices from a given year or run of issues...what they choose, and as much as they choose to share about how they chose, is often fascinating...beyond the quality of the work in question...while Terry Carr and Donald Wollheim weren't as eclectic in their annual as was Judith Merril or Harry Harrison  (increasingly in partnership with Brian Aldiss) with theirs, nonetheless the two Ace editors (in at least two senses) attempted to provide as diverse a cross-section of "true" sf as they could...and even though I've never much liked Alexei Panshin's fiction and "Waterclap" was disappointingly minor Asimov (particularly as I was already torn, as were the competing camps in the story, between passions for astronomy and oceanography), much of the rest ranged from eye-opening, to say the least (the Le Guin, the Richard Wilson, the Ellison, the Tiptree) to very funny indeed (Wilson and perhaps even more the Silverberg) and now I'm reminded where I first read such folks as Neal Barrett, and R. A. Lafferty, and Alice "Racoona"/"James Tiptree, Jr." Sheldon...the If volume mourned the passage of its source magazine, folded despite the strong revival it had experienced in sales under its young editor James Baen, and further gave me a lot of my earliest understanding of the writer/fan community around sf, as well as handing me not a few interesting stories as well. Not least what was probably one of  my first Fritz Leibers (along with "Ship of Shadows")... (Robert Arthur and Harold Q. Masur, hiding behind Hitchcock, had already introduced me to Theodore Sturgeon; Henry Mazzeo and Edward Gorey had already introduced me to Robert Bloch, among so many others...).

My immersion in fiction magazines, that could feed such wonderful fiction to such volumes as these (and the Hitchcock and horror and other anthologies I'd read), or the Best Detective Stories volumes (where Anthony Boucher's volumes, for example, weren't afraid to draw as far afield as upon Fantastic for a Ron Goulart story, or the Borges collection Labyrinths for examples of his work, which Boucher had been the first to translate into English and see published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in the 1940s) and others I was just beginning to find, was all but inevitable. Haven't shaken it yet.

Indices courtesy of Homeville:

The Best from If, Volume III ed. James Baen (Award AD1544, 1976, $1.50, 220pp, pb)
  • 9 · Midnight by the Morphy Watch · Fritz Leiber · ss Worlds of If Jul/Aug ’74
  • 35 · Plaything · Larry Niven · ss Worlds of If Jul/Aug ’74
  • 43 · A Little Night Flying [“Dark Icarus”; Rob Hasson] · Bob Shaw · ss Science Fiction Monthly v1 #4 ’74; If Aug ’74
  • 61 · Half-Baked Publisher’s Delight · Jeffrey S. Hudson & Isaac Asimov · ss Worlds of If Jul/Aug ’74
  • 69 · Mephisto & the Ion Explorer · Colin Kapp · nv Worlds of If Sep/Oct ’74
  • 111 · Following Yonder Star · Richard C. Hoagland · ar Worlds of If Nov/Dec ’74
  • 131 · Gut in Peril · Arsen Darnay · ss Worlds of If Nov/Dec ’74
  • 141 · Time Deer · Craig Strete · ss Red Planet Earth #4 ’74 (and reprinted in If)
  • 149 · The Alien Viewpoint · Richard E. Geis · ar Worlds of If Sep/Oct ’74
  • 163 · The Descent of Man · Judith Ann Lawrence · ss Worlds of If Nov/Dec ’74
  • 177 · Angel Fix · Raccoona Sheldon · nv Worlds of If Jul/Aug ’74
  • 211 · Reading Room · Lester del Rey · br Worlds of If Nov/Dec ’74

The World’s Best Science Fiction: 1970 ed. Donald A. Wollheim & Terry Carr (Ace 91357, 1970, 95¢, 349pp, pb)

The World’s Best Science Fiction: 1971 ed. Donald A. Wollheim & Terry Carr (Ace, 1971, pb)
For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A night at the movies...

At the Jeffty Five Cineplex in Painesville, Ohio starting Friday...and simultaneously on Painseville's Channel 81 on your obsolete UHF dial (WAQZ, formerly an affiliate of no fewer than seven dead networks!):

Cartoon: "Jackie Kashian: Los Angeles Pet Owners" 

Cartoon: "April Richardson and Jimmy Pardo: Go Bayside!: The California Bandsaw Massacre"

Newsreel: The Onion Review for 12 May (despite preview image, still linked)

Serial:  The Maria Bamford Show

Short Western Film: The Tonto Woman (based on an Elmore Leonard short story)

Daniel Barber - Short Film - The Tonto Woman from Knucklehead on Vimeo.

Feature: Night of the Eagle (aka Burn, Witch, Burn!)--based on Fritz Leiber's first novel.

Second Feature: The City of the Dead (aka Horror Hotel

Anthology film: Three Cases of Murder (1st segmenthe most impressive, and no bones about it horror)

Very alternate feature: Siesta (now a dead link, an interesting though not completely successful variation on Carnival of Souls; a UCLA forum on ifeaturing director Mary Lambert, editor Glenn Morgan, and cast-members Ellen Barkin and Jodie Foster)...or Castaway (looking a bit soft in image, but difficult to pick up on the market otherwise of late...also not a perfect film, but an interesting one). Original choice here, Testament of Orpheus, didn't have any English subtitles option when I first posted this, but the current link does...for now!

Cartoon: "The Tell-Tale Heart" 

And my first film seen by myself in a cinema...a 1970 re-release of Kiss of the Vampire (1963)--rediscovered with indirect help from Jeff Segal, who guessed closely:

Organ Music: Rhoda Scott and Barbara Dennerlein
: "Yes or No"

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: more links

amnesia film The Ipcress File
Below, the links to this week's reviews and citations; As always, please let me know in comments when I've missed yours or someone else's...and, as always, thanks to all our contributors and to you readers...a few more might be added over the course of the day.

Anne Billson: Ten Places You Wouldn't Expect to See a Severed Head (a still from Re-Animator might upset some offices NSFWly) (insert discussion of severed heads Yes/bare breasts No here)
Where's Poppa?

Bill Crider: Where's Poppa?  [trailer]

Brian Arnold: the 2013-14 television season

BV Lawson: Media Murder

David Vineyard: Welcome to the Punch

Ed Gorman: Crime Wave

Ed Lynskey: Locke

Elizabeth Foxwell: Hell is a City

Evan Lewis: Tarzan of the Apes (1918 film)

George Kelley: The Wild Wild West (the tv series)

How Did This Get Made?: Ernest Goes to Jail

Iba Dawson: Love and Engineering; The Battered Bastards of Baseball

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: High Pressure; Flight from Glory; Lightning Strikes Twice; The Bachelor PartyJohnny Cool

Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "The Right Kind of Medicine"

Jackie Kashian: Myq Kaplan

Jacqueline T. Lynch: A Women's Vengeance

Jake Hinkson:  Leigh Brackett, screenwriter; Carl Dreyer

James Reasoner: Clutch Cargo

The Musketeers of Pig Alley
Jerry House: The Musketeers of Pig Alley

John Charles: The Terror Within; Dead Space

John Grant: Candellight in Algeria; Blood

Jonathan Lewis: The Abominable Snowman

Laura: Command Decision; Hit the Deck

Lucy Brown: Hobson's Choice

Kate Laity: Blitz

Martin Edwards:  Crimefest 2014; Happy Valley; Hinterland 

Marty McKee: Pier 5, Havana; Tarzan Goes to India 

Mystery Dave: Knights of Badassdom

Patti Abbott: Me, Natalie
Me, Natalie

Randy Johnson: The Deadly Mantis; Reptilicus; Tequila Joe (aka E venne il tempo di uccidere); Harlan Ellison's Watching

Rick: Robert Vaughn

Rod Lott: Evilspeak

Ron Scheer: The Gunfight at Dodge City

Sergio Angelini: The Top 20 Amnesia Mystery Movies

Stacia Jones: The Rose and the Jackal; Pennies from Heaven (the 1981 film) 

A New Leaf
Stephen Bowie: Amy Aquino

Walter Albert: Broncho Billy and the Baby

Yvette Banek: A New Leaf

Friday, May 16, 2014

FFB: BEST OF THE BEST DETECTIVE STORIES: Fifteen Years of Prize Stories edited by David C. Cooke (Dutton 1960)--1950s CF Week

David C. Cooke revived the U.S. annual series of best-of-the-years in short crime fiction (after a long interregnum after Carolyn Wells's two successive volumes in the 1930s) with E. P. Dutton in 1946...and in 1960, offered this extra volume as a culling from the first fifteen years of the series, including the most distinctive stories from each volume surveying the years 1945-59.  So, one prominent editor's core sampling of the latter '40s and '50s in the US, with allowances made not solely for personal taste but also balance (and while it's less likely he was too worried about this particularly for this retrospective, the representation of the range of magazines featuring crime fiction in this period is pretty good). 

The selection, of course, also tells us a bit about Cooke's predilections...

Contents from WorldCat:
Best of the best detective stories.
Author: David C Cooke
Publisher: New York, Dutton, 1960. 279 p.

Body in the barn / Margaret Manners -- from Argosy, 1945
The perfectionist / Margaret St. Clair -- Mystery Book, 1946

Revenge / Samuel Blas -- Collier's, 1947
Being a murderer myself / Arthur Williams -- Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 1948
Blackmail / Allan Vaughan Elston -- The American Magazine, 1949
A boy's will / Q. Patrick -- EQMM, 1950
The kiss-off / John P. Foran -- Male Magazine, 1951
For value received / Richard Deming -- EQMM, 1952
The killer is loose / John and Ward Hawkins -- The Saturday Evening Post, 1953
Chinese puzzle / Richard Marsten -- Manhunt Magazine, 1954
First offense / Evan Hunter -- Manhunt, 1955
Three wives too many / Kenneth Fearing -- Michael Shayne Mystery Magazine, 1956
The day of the execution / Henry Slesar -- Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, 1957
Over there--darkness / William O'Farrell -- Sleuth, 1958
Bottle of death / Gilbert Ralston -- SEP, 1959

Two stories, and the only two of the fifteen, by women lead off the book, the Manners from the slick-paper format, no-longer pulp (and not yet quite a men's magazine) Argosy, the St. Clair from the first version of Mystery Book, a digest-sized attempt to give EQMM a run for the literate crime-fiction buff's patronage; the title folded rather quickly and was purchased or revived for a shortlived if rather handsome pulp magazine from the Thrilling Group.  The Blas story, his first, appeared in the general-interest "slick" magazine Collier's and was famously adapted for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents: television series. The Williams, apparently published under a pseudonym which was not used again, was rather widely anthologized (it is one of the two stories I'd read before in later anthologies, the other being the Deming); first of three EQMM stories. The Elston is from a Collier's stablemate, the more "family-oriented" The American Magazine, which was nonetheless a solid market for un-cozy crime fiction.  The Foran story is a good example of hardboiled caper fiction, first published in the men's sweat magazine Male, one of the several published by Martin Goodman (of Archie Comics notoriety...more for his business practices than for the comics' content) and featuring on staff the likes of Bruce Jay Friedman and Mario Puzo; for whatever reason, Male was mined a few times by Cooke over the years while no stories I've seen so far were taken from any of its competitors, which would soon include Argosy. The Hawkinses' story is the first of two from the more durable Collier's competitor, the SatEvePost; the next two, the two examples from hardboiled 1950s trendsetter Manhunt,  are both by the same writer, born Salvatore Lombino and best known in crime fiction as Ed McBain, legally by then Evan Hunter. The fine Fearing story is from the early issues of what would soon tweak its title to Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine; founded, as was Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, in 1956. AHMM would soon be joined, briefly, by a stablemate magazine project co-sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America, Sleuth.

Cooke can be seen here as drawn to stories which take commonly-employed formula plots and tweak them (usually) cleverly; and while there are a number of gulled fool men in the stories assembled here, the women come off a bit worse, on balance.  "Body in the Barn" and "Over There--Darkness" both deal with manipulative old women who won't let the facts get in the way of their intrigues in the lives of others; "Blackmail" outlines a pretty elaborate double-bottomed scheme on the part of younger, no less self-involved woman. Other women characters are too often simply condescended to in ways we as readers are supposed to endorse, though happily there are counter-examples, as well; the Foran story turns out to be memorable in this regard, if peripherally, while at least the villainess at the heart of the Fearing story can be seen to be behaving rationally and with motive, if insufficient motive drawn from rather evil premises, in dealing with her polygynous husband (shades of Charles Kurault); Cooke compares this story favorably to The Big Clock, and he might not be wrong. Collected here are the two best Evan Hunter short stories I've read so far, while still being essentially the weakest in the volume; instead of the usual glaring stupidity at the heart of, or at least offered as an important detail in, every other Hunter fiction I've read, the "Marsten" story is slight and excessively flip about the murder of a young woman, while "First Offense" is a not-bad but utterly unsurprising story which reads for all the world like a rendering in prose of a typical script from the CBS Radio series The Lineup (it made a jump to television after several seasons, but I haven't seen the latter version, nor the film spin-off Don Siegel wonders if the Hunter story was pitched to the series before or after publication in Manhunt).  The degree to which "Q. Patrick" wishes to avoid stating that his protagonist is a gay man, while portraying a self-indulgent "nelly" stereotype to a fault (and making of him as anti-empathic a twit as anyone else in the book) is almost comic in and of itself when read today; nonetheless, QP knows what he's about here. The wit and deftness employed by St. Clair, Henry Slesar, and Elston help elevate their stories, even if the Slesar suffers a bit by being too much like the Blas; the attention to fine quotidian detail also enlivens the Elston,  the Deming, "The Killer is Loose" and "Bottle of Death" as well as "The Kiss-Off."  I think subsequent series editors Anthony Boucher, Allen J. Hubin, and Edward Hoch did a better job in their volumes (the two from Brett Halliday...well, I've read only his first so far, and it was hobbled by no stories from EQMM at all, for reasons I can only guess at), but this gives a good sense of what some of the better work in short form was like in this decade and a half. 

Hubin, editing the series at the point it celebrated 25 years (New York, Dutton, 1971), consciously chose other stories to represent the first fifteen as well as subsequent ten years:

The man who lost his head, by B. Fischer.--
The wine glass, by A. A. Milne.--
The adventure of the President's half disme, by E. Queen.--
Murder in one scene, by Q. Patrick.--
The million-to-one chance, by R. Vickers.--
The orderly world of Mr. Appleby, by S. Ellin.--
Total recall, by J. Helvick.--
The dusty drawer, by H. Muheim.--
The attacker, by M. Wolson.--
The choice, by R. Deming.--
The conscience of the cop, by W. Fay.--
The last spin, by E. Hunter.--
Secret recipe, by C. Mergendahl.--
The day the children vanished, by H. Pentecost.--
Murder method, by T. Powell.--
For all the rude people, by J. Ritchie.--
My sister Annabelle, by De Forbes.--
The cattywampus, by B. Deal.--
Routine investigation, by R. Twohy.--
The locked house, by S. Barr.--
The yellow brick road, by G. Williams.--
The road to Damascus, by M. Gilbert.--
The sooey pill, by E. Slater.--
The lord of Central Park, by A. Davidson.--
A quarter century of the best: a checklist (p. 371-380)

--I haven't received my copy of this one yet, but judging by the stories I have read, I suspect the Hubin retrospective to be better, on balance, as well.

For more of the 1950s Crime Fiction week selections, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

July 1949

June 1951
May, 1947

And the actual issue featuring the St. Clair 
story,  May, 1946
Argosy for January, 1945
(Magazine cover images courtesy of Galactic Central.)

First of two issues, 1958; features the O'Farrell story. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: the links

Up the Down Staircase
Below, the links to this week's reviews and citations; As always, please let me know in comments when I've missed yours or someone else's...and, as always, thanks to all our contributors and to you readers...a few more might be added over the course of the day.

Anne Billson: Kidnapped! Women in Action Films

Bill Crider: Up the Down Staircase  [trailer]

The Phantom Toolbooth
Brian Arnold: The Phantom Toolbooth

Brian Busby: A Bullet for Joey

B.V. Lawson: Media Murder

Dan Stumpf: Tiger in the Smoke

Ed Lynskey: Crime, Inc.

Elizabeth Foxwell: No Hands on the Clock
Hill Street Blues

Evan Lewis: The Gracie Allen Murder Case

George Kelley: Hill Street Blues

Iba Dawson: Beneath the Harvest Sky; Art and Craft

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Holiday (1938 film)

Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "Keep Me Company" (by Henry Slesar)

Jackie Kashian: Erin Foley and the Sklar Brothers on sports and sports telecasting

Jacqueline T. Lynch: Swell Guy (1946 film)

James Reasoner: Quick Draw McGraw

Jeff Flugel: Legend of the Lost

Jerry House: Leptirica

John Charles: Satanis: the Devil's Mass; Sinthia, the Devil's Doll

John Grant: The Banker; The Arsenal Stadium Mystery

Jonathan Lewis: Return of the Vampire; Last Train from Gun Hill; The Man Who Cheated Himself

Kate Laity: Giger Museum

Kliph Nesteroff: Jean Shepherd's Eulogy for Lenny Bruce
Border Incident

Laura: The Duel at Silver Creek; Sinbad the Sailor (1947 film); Lorna Doone (1951 film)

Lucy Brown: Suspicion (1941 film)

Marty McKee: Border Incident; Rage (1995 film)

Mystery Dave: Beyond the Time Barrier

Neer: Götterdämmerung

Patti Abbott: Judd for the Defense

Prashant Trikannad: Tommy Lee Jones

Randy Johnson: Hide-Out (1934 film); Last of the Badmen (aka Il tempo degli avvoltoi) 
Judd for the Defense

Rick: Lucy Gallant; Driftwood

Rod Lott: Grand Piano (2013 film); Final Exam

Ron Scheer: Border River

Sergio Angelini: Suture;  The Third Man and Fallen Idol

Stacia Jones: The Last of Mrs. Cheney; Stage Fright; As High as the Sky 

Legend of the Lost

Stephen Bowie: Television's New Classics

Yvette Banek: In and Out