Posts tagged: crime
Romance Editor Chris takes a look at the bad boys of romance—“I’m talking about the seriously bad. The criminal.”
That’s a tough character choice. The writer has to make someone who already has already demonstrated that he has no respect for the law and by extension, public welfare, into the hero. That’s hard going. Thing is, when it works, it works really REALLY well.
Image via Existential Ennui
Old Crime Photos in a New Context
Marc Hermann superimposes historic NY Daily News crime photos onto contemporary photosof the same…
Nick and Nora
Step right up–Noir Carnival is now available for your reading pleasure! Nineteen stories–”a heady…
Unseen photos from Point Blank part 7
John Boorman’s 1967 thriller “Point Blank” is one of my favourite films, and I’ve managed to collect dozens and dozens of original contact sheets from the film. Over the next few weeks I intend to share the best of these (never before published) stills. —Jordan Krug, the edit room floor
Walter Hill just mentioned recently how much Point Blank screenplay by Alex Jacobs influenced him.
In an interview for Patrick McGilligan in Backstory 4, Walter Hill talked about the “revelation” of reading Alex Jacob’s script for John Boorman’s 1967 classic Point Blank. Hill had been laboring as a screenwriter, but was never comfortable with the template most Hollywood scripts required of him, which he said was “a sub-literary blueprint for shooting a picture and generally had no personal voice.” Hill admired Point Blank greatly, but on the page, Jacob’s work showed him a new way of writing: “Laconic, elliptical, suggestive rather than explicit, bold in the implied editorial style.” And from that example, Hill’s own writing—and later, directing—took on what he calls an almost “haiku-like” economy. At Hill’s best, his work as writer and director is as tight as a clenched fist, with not a word wasted in the dialogue and a simplicity of expression that extends from character development to the diamond-tight action sequences on which he built his reputation. —Walter Hill 101: The Auteur
“Alex Jacob’s script of Point Blank (1967) was a revelation. He was a friend (wonderful guy, looked like a pirate, funny and crazy). This revelation came about despite a character flaw of mine. I have always had difficulty being complimentary to people whose work I admire, when face-to-face with them. This is not the norm in Hollywood where effusiveness is generally a given. Anyway, a mutual friend told Alex how much I admired Point Blank and John Boorman. Alex then very graciously gave me a copy of the script. This was about the time he was doing The Seven-Ups (1973).
“Anyway, by now I’d been making a living as a screenwriter for maybe two or three years and had gotten to the point where I was dissatisfied with the standard form scripts were written in — they just all seemed to be a kind of subliterary blueprint for shooting a picture and generally had no personal voice. Mine were tighter and terser than the average, but I was still working with the industry template and not too happy about it. Alex’s script just knocked me out (not easy to do); it was both playable and literary. Written in a whole different way than standard format (laconic, elliptical, suggestive rather than explicit, bold in the implied editorial style), I thought Alex’s script was a perfect compliment to the material, hard, tough, and smart — my absolute ideals then. So much of the writing that was generally praised inside the business seemed to me soft and vastly overrated — vastly oversentimental. Then and now, I haven’t changed my opinions about that. But I have changed them about the presentational style.
“Anyway I resolved to try to go in that direction (that Alex had shown), and I worked out my own approach in the next few years. I tried to write in an extremely spare, almost haiku style, both stage directions and dialogue. Some of it was a bit pretentious — but at other times I thought it worked pretty well. I now realize a lot of this was being a young guy who wanted to throw rocks at windows.
“Hard Times was the first, and I think maybe the best. Alien (1979) — the first draft, then when David [Giler] and I rewrote it, we left it in that style. The Driver, which I think was the purest script that I ever wrote, and The Warriors. The clean narrative drive of the material and the splash-panel approach to the characters perfectly fit the design I was trying to make work. Of course all this depend on the nature of the material; I don’t think the style would’ve worked at all had I been writing romantic comedies.”
“My scripts have always been a bit terse, both in stage directions and dialogue. I think I’ve loosened up in the dialogue department, but I still try to keep the descriptions fairly minimal, and in some cases purposefully minimalist. I still punctuate to effect, rather than to the proper rules of grammar. I occasionally use onomatopoeias now, a luxury I would certainly never have allowed myself when I was younger. My favorite description of the dilemma of screenwriting comes from David Giler, “Your work is only read by the people who will destroy it.” —Walter Hill
Point Blank original screenplay by Alex Jacobs [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)
Summer Fun Time Reading ‘13
It’s hot and the air already feels like unset Jell-O, but you still have some time to prepare for…
Eli Wallach, his enormous ties and Christopher Walken in The Sentinel (1977)
Screen captures from The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933), directed by Fritz Lang, adapted from Norbert Jacques’ novels by Thea von Harbou.
This week Comics Editor Carol watches The Testament of Dr. Mabuse and thinks about Fredric Wertham and William Moulton Marston.
I had a strange flash of insight while watching The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933). I had intended to use the film with my article about comics’ new crime wave, but I was haunted by resonances, so many that once I started writing I had almost two articles worth of material. So his month I offer a strange mix of mad scientists imagined and real—a fictional psychoanalyst and real mental health professionals seeking to perfect or protect society: Dr. Mabuse on one side, Dr. William Moulton Marston on the other and Dr. Fredric Wertham right in the middle. All with manifestos they believe will change–or destroy–the world.