Monday, January 15, 2007
A.I. Bezzerides, 1908-2007 R.I.P.
One of the great Hollywood screenwriters, of some of the best films by such auteurist gods as Nicholas Ray (They Drive By Night, On Dangerous Ground), Jules Dassin (Thieves' Highway), and Robert Aldrich, whose greatest work provides the image you see above: Kiss Me Deadly (1955), a major formative film experience for me. This film took the term noir more literally than any other I can think of. The backward credits ("Deadly Kiss Me"); the off-the-wall apocalyptic plot; Ralph Meeker's brutal cynicism; the oddball gallery of characters who made more of an impression in a minute of screen time than many others made in entire films; Cloris Leachman in a trench coat and nothing else ... they truly don't make 'em like that anymore.