Thursday, May 16, 2013


Starting today and continuing through Sunday is the 14th Annual Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival, at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs, California. Among the obscurities—and some over-familiar selections like Champion and The Asphalt Jungle—on this year’s schedule is the way-too-little-known 1950 effort Try and Get Me (aka The Sound of Fury).

It features Lloyd Bridges in a flashy role as a fast-talking, hyper-confident stick up man and the underrated Frank Lovejoy in a heartbreaking performance as an unemployed family man who, desperate for money, gets sucked into a kidnapping scheme. The director was Cyril “Cy” Endfield, just before he was blacklisted, and it’s not hard to see why the Red-baiters might have thought the guy was a Commie—for its first two-thirds, it’s an angrily anti-capitalist drama, then it shifts into a startling critique of how irresponsible journalism can lead to mob violence.

The story is based on the same California lynch-mob incident that inspired Fritz Lang’s 1936 American debut Fury, but it’s a better, more honest, less sentimental movie than Fury. In its final stretch (shot in downtown Phoenix) it becomes truly epic—amazingly so, considering its budget. It has the feel of something from the early Eisenstein. Despite the clumsiness with which the movie presents its high moral values—placing them in the mouth of a visiting Italian academic—I think it’s a neglected classic, and the Palm Springs festival is to be commended for showcasing it.

I wasn’t able to attend the Phoenix area screening of Star Trek—Into Darkness, and therefore the multitudes breathlessly awaiting my take on it will have to wait until I'm able to catch up with it. I was excited to learn, however, that the new Star Trek video game involves the Gorns, the reptilian race that Kirk encountered back in the original series episode “Arena.” So…

Monster-of-the-Week: …let’s recognize the Gorn Captain with which Kirk was forced into one-on-one combat in that episode…

“Arena” is my earliest memory of Star Trek, when I was five or six years old, and the Gorn—who politely offers to kill Kirk quickly and mercifully—remains my favorite Star Trek alien. Can’t wait to see what the game's version looks like, but I very much doubt it can rival the original in my affections. I even have this bobble-head…

…sitting on my desk. Anytime I need some validation, I just tap his head. Think I’ll do it right now: “Is this a good post, Gorn?”

Man, that’s a load off.

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