Originally finished in 1992, but not published until 2012, The Head of Athena, the second Cyrus Skeen detective novel, addresses in this chapter the issue of freedom of speech, in which a notorious atheist, Enoch Paige, attempts to deliver an address in San Francisco in May 1929. The scores of people who attend the event […]
Foreword by the Author It is October 1929. The Roaring Twenties will end near the end of the month with the stock market crash heard round the world. . The nation will absorb the consequences of the crash with great difficulty over the next decade, exacerbated by government fiscal policies. However, in the wake of […]
Director Robert Wise’s The Sound of Music for 20th Century Fox is an opulent and lavish production. The 1965 movie musical, written by Ernest Lehman, is melodic and cinematic. At the start of its nearly three hours, with sweeping aerial photography in famous opening shots, it falls and centers upon a solitary figure in harmony with nature. The […]
The 50th Anniversary edition movie soundtrack for Richard Rodgers’ and Oscar Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music (20th Century Fox’s 1965 winner for the Academy Award for Best Picture) is a rare, wonderful treat (click on the image to buy the CD or digital download). The songs, mostly European-driven waltzes, folk tunes and ballads, are memorable […]
“Nothing propinks like propinquity.” So remarked Felix Leiter to James Bond in Ian Fleming’s fourth Bond novel, Diamonds are Forever. It was propinquitous that someone at Pegasus Books thought that I’d reviewed another of Fleming’s books, For Your Eyes Only, a collection of five of Fleming’s short stories featuring Bond, and queried me about reviewing […]
Screened at the TCM Classic Film Festival 2015, one of Walt Disney’s most personal films, So Dear to My Heart, introduced by film and Disney historian Leonard Maltin, is utterly charming. The movie includes live action and a few brilliant scenes in poetically themed animation that align with and serve to enhance this wistful tale of a boy and his pet black […]
This film noir classic with a femme fatale played by Lizabeth Scott (who apparently hated the movie) is a shocking portrayal of a diabolical woman literally on the manhunt. The late Miss Scott, whom I recently discussed with Leonard Maltin and Robert Osborne, was an actress with range and talent, not just looks, and this is one of the roles for which […]
The words “…by any means necessary,” conclude Spike Lee’s racist propaganda piece, Malcolm X. This phrase asserting that the ends justify the means, a rationalization for tyranny throughout history, is the movie’s theme. Lee capably gives “by any means necessary”, which gained acceptance among black supremacists with the Black Panther movement during the rise of the New Left, and Black Panther founder Bobby […]
One of the greatest war movies and another reason besides Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz why 1939 is a legendary year in motion pictures, Gunga Din, played at Sid Grauman’s Egyptian Theater for TCM’s Classic Film Festival. It was introduced by Oscar winners Ben Burtt (Lincoln, Star Trek, Super 8) and Craig Barron (Hugo, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Captain America, Terminator: Salvation) […]
Elia Kazan’s Viva Zapata! (1952) starring Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn, is another of his brilliantly conceived and executed character studies, a penetrating movie with an excellent script by John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath). I had the pleasure of seeing it for the first time in the venue for which it was created—the movie theater—at the 2015 […]
Philip F. Gura’s Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel, traces the beginnings of the literary form in this country and discusses its largely religious nature and later anti-American nature.
Selma is a lost opportunity. A great movie about achieving 20th century progress for blacks in America has yet to be made. Selma is an example of how not to do it.
With a willingness to judge what is evil, marvel at what’s good and innocent, and indulge in great moviemaking, Cinderella powerfully depicts the classic tale as young lovers’ courtship which begins with taking stock of oneself.
An excerpt from Chapter 1 From Book One of Ed Cline’s epic series Sparrowhawk: A Novel of The American Revolution
A valued friend and crack newspaper reporter has been murdered at his desk. Skeen is investigating the crime with the police.
Melissa Manchester talks about her campaign to make an independent record, over 40 years in music and her artistic philosophy.
Melissa Manchester’s 20th album, You Gotta Love the Life, cashes in on 40 years in popular music.
Melissa Manchester’s self-made You Gotta Love the Life, combines a sense of triumph with grit.
A sampler of Rational Scrutiny: Paradoxes and Contradictions in Detective Fiction.
What are reviewed this turn around the block are some post-apocalyptic stories.
Sunk deep into the cushions of the chair, the woman listened as the ticking and the tapping composed a certain staccato rhythm, like the sound of several hammers driving nails into wood…
Why do modern artists continue to present artworks that seem to confess a madness or insanity that is in violent conflict with the norm of “common sense” or which clashes with everyone else’s sensory experience?
My name is Abelard. I was born—a birth some later called miraculous—of a dead mother. She was one of several who had died the day before, trying to flee over the Wall. I was left to die in my dead mother’s stomach; on the wet pavement; beneath coiled wire; paces from polished boots marching by. […]
Chapter 2: Nightmare on the “Morpheus” As Cody Hosk warmed up the bus’s engine and let it run for a few minutes, Rufus Lister welcomed the passengers and introduced himself and his partner, Harry Williams. Canty Lanier, the cook, also took a bow. Lister added, “We’ll be makin’ only one more stop on the way […]
Chapter 1: Stopover in Medford “Good mornin’, folks! We’ll be arriving on time in Medford in about fifteen minutes, where you can stretch your legs and refresh yourselves. We’ll pull into the Pickwick terminal where you can buy newspapers and snacks. There are telephones inside the terminal. And next door is the Grog and Grub […]