Pulp Fiction: The Golden Age of Storytelling

This cheesy 2009 documentary offers a brief but fascinating overview of the writers who sweated out stories for the pulps from the 20s right through to the early 50s, across all genres, although it leans heavily towards sci-fi and fantasy -- in fact, its alternate title is "Pulp Fiction: The Golden Age of Sci Fi, Fantasy … Continue reading Pulp Fiction: The Golden Age of Storytelling

Pulp Fiction Art: Cheap Thrills & Painted Nightmares

This 2005 documentary by filmmaker Jamie McDonald is the first documentary I've heard of dedicated exclusively to the world of pulp art: those gloriously tawdry two-fisted illustrations of sneezing roscoes, hulking ghouls, granite-jawed dicks, slimy space monsters, scantily clad babes in distress and other wild and wonderful miscreants that graced the covers of the pulps … Continue reading Pulp Fiction Art: Cheap Thrills & Painted Nightmares

Harry Moseby

Created by Alan Sharp "Ain't it funny how the night moves/When you just don't seem to have that much to lose? Ain't it funny how the night moves/With autumn closing in?" -- Bob Seger, who says he'd never heard of the film when he wrote the song. (Yeah, right, Bob...) One of the great private eye … Continue reading Harry Moseby

Bill Crane

Created by Jonathan Latimer (1906-1983) Jonathan Latimer's first book, 1935's Headed For a Hearse, was one of the first hard-boiled screwball comedies, following closely on the heels of the previous year's The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. But where Hammett only toyed with the idea, contenting himself with cocktails and banter, Latimer went whole hog. … Continue reading Bill Crane

Tim “T.M.” Slade

Created by Raoul Whitfield In High Tide, a rarely seen but surprisingly enjoyable little 1947 B noir from Monogram, Lee Tracy plays gruff, crusading Los Angeles tabloid newspaper editor Hugh Fresney and Don Castle plays TIM "T.M." SLADE, a former reporter who's become a private eye. When Fresney, aiming to run a big exposé on … Continue reading Tim “T.M.” Slade

Nick and Nora Charles

Created by Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) Nora: "I read where you were shot five times in the tabloids." Nick: "Not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids." -- from The Thin Man (1934 film) The glitzy adventures of Dashiell Hammett's retired private eye NICK CHARLES and his rich, beautiful (and not quite as ditzy as … Continue reading Nick and Nora Charles

Harry Angel

Created by William Hjortsberg William Hjortsberg's 1978 novel Falling Angel is a strange one: a weird, um, cross between The Exorcist and The Maltese Falcon. It's also just one hell of a read; a pushy and head-spinning, shape-shifting romp through some of the most beloved clichés of hard-boiled crime fiction, laced with a healthy dollop … Continue reading Harry Angel

Velda Bellinghausen

Created by Ron Miller From the The New York Graphic, February 2, 1951: CHORUS GIRL TURNS SHAMUS "To the disappointment of her many admirers, Miss Velda Bellinghausen, one of the better-known of the leggy chorines of Slotnik's Famous Follies, has turned in her g-string. What does the retiring ecdysiast plan to do with her time? … Continue reading Velda Bellinghausen

Al Hickey & Frank Boggs (Hickey & Boggs)

Created by Walter Hill    At the time, circa 1998, my original entry on this much loved but definitely bleak cult film had a lot of fun suggesting it was rarely shown because it might contradict Bill Cosby's squeaky clean image as America's favourite TV dad. That was such a long time ago... Actors Robert … Continue reading Al Hickey & Frank Boggs (Hickey & Boggs)

The Neo-Noirs

Noir in the Nineties (Sometimes the Eyes Don't Have It) The private eye film seems to be an increasingly rare animal, but the nineties saw a major rebirth of the crime film. Some of these were small, cash-in-the-empties indie productions, barely appearing in theatres before rushing to video or cable, and others were big budget … Continue reading The Neo-Noirs