literature


"Spade by means of his grip on the Levantine's lapels turned him slowly and pushed him back until he was standing close in front of the chair he had lately occupied.  A puzzled look replaced the look of pain in the lead-colored face.  Then Spade smiled."  (p 46)

“Spade by means of his grip on the Levantine’s lapels turned him slowly and pushed him back until he was standing close in front of the chair he had lately occupied. A puzzled look replaced the look of pain in the lead-colored face. Then Spade smiled.” (p 46)

My Top 10:

  1. The Maltese Falcon
  2. The Little Foxes
  3. Here Comes Mr. Jordan
  4. The Devil and Daniel Webster
  5. High Sierra
  6. How Green Was My Valley
  7. Hold Back the Dawn
  8. Meet John Doe
  9. Suspicion
  10. Pépé le Moko

Note:  I have a Top 10, but unlike 1940, my list doesn’t go any further than that. (more…)

The 1st Edition cover of the brilliant spy novel.

The 1st Edition cover of the brilliant spy novel.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

  • Author:  John Le Carré
  • Published:  1974
  • Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
  • Pages:  317  (Pan paperback)
  • First Line:  “The truth is, if old Major Dover hadn’t dropped dead at Taunton races Jim would never have come to Thursgood’s at all.”
  • Last Line:  “The gun, Bill Roach, had finally convinced himself, was after all a dream.”
  • Film:  1979 TV series  (****), 2011  (**** – dir. Tomas Alfredson)
  • First Read:  December 2011

(more…)

Still one of the best scenes in all of film history.

Still one of the best scenes in all of film history.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing 8 in each category, namely because that’s how many **** films there are, but only the top 5 actually earn nominations and in many categories there aren’t even 8 on my list.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. On the Waterfront  **
  2. Rear Window  *
  3. Forbidden Games
  4. A Star is Born
  5. Sabrina
  6. Gate of Hell  *
  7. Hobson’s Choice  *
  8. The Country Girl  *

Analysis:  There are many who would pick Rear Window but to me On the Waterfront is the easy winner here.  Gate of Hell is a close 6th place, but then there is a couple of points drop to Hobson and another couple to Country Girl.  Because I weight the BAFTA and Oscars the same, there is a glut of films tied for 5th place in the Consensus thanks to their BAFTA nom, including Rear Window, Gate of Hell and Hobson’s Choice. (more…)

Joad got out and stood beside the cab window.  The vertical exhaust pipe puttered up its barely visible blue smoke.  Joad leaned toward the driver.  'Homicide,' he said quickly."

“Joad got out and stood beside the cab window. The vertical exhaust pipe puttered up its barely visible blue smoke. Joad leaned toward the driver. ‘Homicide,’ he said quickly.”

My Top 10:

  1. The Grapes of Wrath
  2. The Philadelphia Story
  3. His Girl Friday
  4. Rebecca
  5. Pinocchio
  6. The Letter
  7. The Shop Around the Corner
  8. La Bête Humaine
  9. The Baker’s Wife
  10. Pride and Prejudice

Note:  I finally have, not only a full slate of 10, but films that I consider for my list and don’t make it, though that film is discussed below because it was nominated for the Oscar (The Long Voyage Home).  This is the best group of 10 to date, hands down.  The Letter is much better than any #6 so far except for Bride of Frankenstein.  Shop and Humaine, at the #7 and 8 spots would be in the Top 5 of any year to this date except 1935. (more…)

The Little Brown edition that matches my other Waugh, but is not the edition I have (see below).

The Little, Brown edition that matches my other Waugh, but is not the edition I have (see below).

Scoop: A Novel About Journalists

  • Author:  Evelyn Waugh  (1903 – 1966)
  • Published:  1938
  • Publisher:  Chapman and Hall
  • Pages:  222  (Penguin Books)
  • First Line:  “While still a young man, John Courteney Boot had, as his publisher proclaimed, ‘achieved an assured and enviable position in contemporary letters.’”
  • Last Line:  “Outside the owls hunted maternal rodents and their furry brood.”
  • Film:  1972 BBC serial, 1987 TV movie
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 English-Language Novels of the 20th Century #75; The Observer’s Top 100 Novels of All-Time
  • First Read:  Spring 1993

(more…)

Sociology, history and a thrilling real crime all wrapped together with pure Crichton entertainment.

Sociology, history and a thrilling real crime all wrapped together with pure Crichton entertainment.

The Great Train Robbery

  • Author:  Michael Crichton  (1942 – 2008)
  • Published:  1975
  • Publisher:  Knopf
  • Pages:  281
  • First Line:  “Forty minutes out of London, passing through the rolling green fields and cherry orchards of Kent, the morning train of the South Eastern Railway attained its maximum speed of fifty-four miles an hour.”
  • Last Line:  “The money from The Great Train Robbery was never recovered.”
  • Film:  1979  (*** – dir. Michael Crichton)
  • First Read:  Spring 1993

(more…)

The Penguin Classics edition of the novel that first got me to read it.

The Penguin Classics edition of the novel that first got me to read it.

La Bête humaine

  • Author:  Émile Zola
  • Published:  1890
  • Publisher:  Charpentier
  • Pages:  366
  • First Line:  “Roubaud came into the room and put the pound loaf, pâté and bottle of white wine on the table.”
  • Last Line:  “With no human hand to guide it through the night, it roared on and on, a blind and deaf beast let loose amid death and destruction, laden with cannon-fodder, these soldiers already silly with fatigue, drunk and bawling.”
  • Film Version:  1920 (possibly lost), 1938 (**** – dir. Jean Renoir), 1954 (***.5 – dir. Fritz Lang), 1957
  • First Read:  2010

(more…)

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