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A Goth’s Month in Review: March 2013

by on 2013/03/31

Ah, film noir. How I love you.

You let me wander down dark alleys, meet shady, morally dubious characters, and frequent the sleaziest gin joints in the land, without leaving the comfort of my snug little home.

This is our third annual Noirch celebration on

The term – combining March and Noir – was precisely sliced and stitched by our resident word surgeon Hacker Renders way back in 2011. It has been a month-long celebration that I’ve look forward to every year. It is the one monthly theme that has endured on this site.

This month I went on a bit of a James Cagney bender. Since I first clapped eyes on “Cellar-Door” Cagney, I’ve loved his work. There’s much to recommend the man as well. He was raised up from the toughest neighbourhoods in New York and overcame childhood illness.

He is a good role model to us all. Cagney said of his own tough upbringing: “It was good for me. I feel sorry for the kid who has too cushy a time of it. Suddenly he has to come face-to-face with the realities of life without any mama or papa to do his thinking for him.”

Here’s to you Mr. Cagney. And here’s my favourite, surprise, disappointment, least-liked, and one chosen from my fellow flag-waving Canadian patriot and back-alley traveler.

boondock_saints_1999The Boondock Saints (1999) on 2013/03/24

* * * *

“Ecstatically violent, morally satisfying, wisely funny. This movie was like a brilliant mash-up of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s seedy bar scene with its ethically vacant denizens; the “today I settled all family business” great vengeance and furious anger of the Godfather II; and the assassin’s procedural of a Leon or The Mechanic.”

G_Men_1935G-Men (1935) on 2013/03/11

* * * *

“G-Men is a little like the real James Cagney story. He’s a kid, a self-described “gutter rat” who grew up on the mean streets with no hope for the future. But he gets a break from a local mob boss who sees something in him and bankrolls his trip to university for a law degree.

There’s a nice little complexity in this tale. James “Brick” Davis (James Cagney) isn’t your run-of-the-mill whitebread G-Man. There’s a lot of grey in this tale and in this hero. I think it makes you like him even more.”

city_for_conquest_1940City for Conquest (1940) on 2013/03/24

* * *

“City for Conquest is about dreams and New York City. It is how the great gaping maw of New York City loves the taste of sweet, sweet dreams.

James Cagney plays Danny Kenny, a boxer with a heart as big as the entire city. He loves a dancer, Peggy Nash played by Ann Sheridan. They could be somebodies. Danny’s got a talented bruddah, a guy who can really tickle them ivories, played by Arthur Kennedy (High Sierra) . He could be somebody too.”

house_of_bamboo_1955House of Bamboo (1955) on 2013/03/08

* *

“I’m not one to mince words, savvy? The House of Bamboo played me for a sap with its exotic-looking poster and promise of Japanese-based film noir.

The Unsolved Mysteries of Unsolved Mysteries is how exactly did they louse up this such a slick racket?

I so wish I could say, ‘ah so’ to that question.”

Show Me
Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Lucky Number Slevin (2006) on 2013/03/22

* * * *

“Above all else, the production feels like it was never-ending fun. Everyone projects the sense of having a good time. Nobody is ever too scared or stupid to serve up the banter. They deliver their hard-boiled dialogue with rapidfire glee. If unanimous mastery of fast-talking wordplay makes the characters all somewhat similar, then at least they share in intelligence, wit, and energy. Pop culture buffs will be in their element. If you long to hear David Mamet interpret Elmore Leonard, if you didn’t get enough from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, or you love references to Alfred Hitchcock and James Bond, Lucky Number Slevin is definitely your film.”

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