Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dark Passage (1947)

Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
Genre: Mystery-Suspense
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Delmer Daves
Language: English
Official Website: N/A
Theatrical Release: N/A
Home Video Release: N/A
Cast: Agnes MooreheadHumphrey BogartLauren Bacall
Published ID: 1288
UPC: 012569584228, 012569676824, 
Plot: Robert Montgomery's 1946 film Lady in the Lake attempted to tell the entire story with a subjective camera: shooting the film from the point of view of the main character, with the camera acting as his eyes. The first hour or so ofDark Passage does the same thing--and the results are far more successful than anything seen in Montgomery's film. Humphrey Bogart heads the cast as an escaped convict, wrongly accused of his wife's murder. After being forced to beat up a man (Clifton Young) from whom he's hitched a ride, Bogart hides out in the apartment of Lauren Bacall, while recovering from plastic surgery, and tries to set about locating the actual murderer. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


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Saturday, January 23, 2010


2010 Memorial and Tour

"From the nearby Delaware a cold wind came lancing in, telling all alley cats they'd better find a heated cellar" -- Shoot the Piano Player (Down There)

Dan Wolkow at Goodis birth place. (Photo by Duane Swierczynski).

Sunday, January 10, 2010 was the 43rd anniversary of the funeral of David Goodis. In his memory, the Noir Coalition of Philadelphia re-enacted his funeral and toured the slums, dives and streets-of-the-lost which he frequented.

Ed Pettit reports in
 The Bibliothecary:

David Goodis died on January 7, 1967, but he has not been forgotten in Philadelphia. A few years ago, Lou Boxer organized an event called GoodisCon which brought together hardboiled and noir writers and readers for a three day conference. That conference has morphed into NoirCon, which was held in 2008 and will reconvene in November of this year. If you're a fan of dark crime fiction, this is the event for you.

This past Sunday, Goodis fans from all over the East Coast got together to honor one of the dark lights of Philly for the second annual Goodis Tribute. This year, we took a tour of sites important to the writer: his homes and haunts, as well as places associated with his works (many of Goodis' novels are set in Philadelphia). The ever tireless Lou Boxer put together a program/tour book (over 60 pages of text and photos of Goodis and his city). This program alone made the trip worth it to those who came from other states. Stacy Shreffler from Boston and Steve Pause from Yonkers joined Philly guys Aaron Finestone and Andy Kevorkian in Lou Boxer's touring van, while ENMU prof Daniel Wolkow and some Polish writer named Swierczynski toured in the smoke-filled Pettit minivan. You can check out lots of great shots at Lou's Goodis blog, The Writer in the Gutter and Duane has posted shots at Flickr.


Here I am drinking on the site of Goodis childhood home, since torn down (photo by Lou Boxer).

After the tour we visited the Goodis grave and were joined by Larry Withers, whose documentary about Goodis has just been finished, Dutch Silver, who taught Goodis and his brother how to shoot pool, and Kieran Shea, who stopped by on his drive back to Annapolis. We read some selections of Goodis' prose. Lou Boxer read a letter from Humphrey Bogart about Goodis's work (Bogey starred in Dark Passage from Goodis' novel of the same name). I read my poem composed only of Goodis novel titles. And of course, several of us toasted the author.

Then we all proceeded to the Club House Diner for food and conviviality. Dennis Tafoya joined us at the restaurant.


Ed Pettit read his poem at graveside:

Black Friday,


the moon in the gutter.

Somebody’s done for,

down there,

the street of no return,

the street of the lost,

dark passage.

Shoot the piano player,

the burglar.

The dark chase

of missing persons,

the wounded and the slain,

Cassidy’s girl,

the blonde on the street corner.

Behold this woman,

fire in the flesh,


of tender sin.

Somebody’s done for,

down there.

Retreat from oblivion.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

43rd Anniversary of David Goodis's Death Does Not Go Unrecognized

Dan Gross of Philadelphia Daily News : Noir fans celebrate David Goodis

Noir fans celebrate David Goodis

Philadelphia Daily News
Posted on Mon, Jan. 18, 2010

Fans of Philadelphia writer David Goodis gathered last week to mark the 43rd anniversary of his funeral by touring the "slums, dives and streets-of-the-lost that Goodis frequented," says organizer Lou Boxer. Stops included the Oak Lane Diner (Broad & 66th Avenue), Roosevelt Memorial Park in Trevose, where Goodis is buried, and later a vacant lot at Broad and Belfield streets in Logan, the former site of the Toddle House where in 1967 friends of Goodis' gathered after his funeral. Goodis' books include "Shoot the Piano Player," "Behold This Woman" and "Dark Passage," which became a Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall film, and "The Burglar," made into a Philly-shot film by director Paul Wendkos. Goodis will be honored further at Boxer's NoirCon 2010, Nov. 4-7, a celebration of the noir literary and film genre. For info, go to or

If you are a Noir Fan, make sure you register for NoirCon 2010!  

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pro-File: David Handler, by Ed Gorman

By Ed Gorman

David Handler has written six Connecticut shoreline mysteries featuring the mismatched crime-fighting duo of Mitch Berger and Des Mitry. His first, The Cold Blue Blood, was a Dilys Award finalist and a BookSense Top Ten pick. His newest, The Shimmering Blonde Sister, will be published this fall. He is also the author of eight novels about the witty and dapper celebrity ghostwriter Stewart Hoag and his faithful, neurotic basset hound, Lulu, including the Edgar and American Mystery Award--winning The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald. His most recent novel, the thriller Click to Play, was published last December. David lives in a two-hundred-year-old carriage house in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see in print again?

A lot of the writers who influenced me when I was first getting started, such as Jim Thompson and Cornell Woolrich, remain iconic figures. But many of them are forgotten now, which is a real shame. Geoffrey Homes and Horace McCoy leap to mind, as do Gerald Butler, David Goodis and W.R. Burnett.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A DAY WITH DAVID GOODIS, January 10. 2010

January 10, 2010 marked the 43rd Anniversary of the Death of David Goodis.

Once again, the loyal fans and friends of David Goodis embarked on a chilling tour of David Goodis's Philadelphia.  Below is summary of our trip, caught in all of its glory!

              OAK LANE DINER

   66th Avenue & Broad Street

(L to R) Aaron Finestone, Andy Kevorkian, Steve Pause (Yonkers) and Stacy Shreffler (Boston)

Inside the Oak Lane Diner

Outside the Oak Lane Diner

The Legendary Blue Horizon

                                 1314 N. BROAD STREET
       Built to house wealthy businessmen and their families(1865), and later the headquarters for the Moose Lodge (1912). By the 1960s the Blue Horizon was known as the center of African-American community life and as a world-renowned boxing venue.  Located in North Philadelphia — "Make a left at City Hall," instructed the club's founder, Hall of Fame promoter J. Russell Peltz, "and keep going until you get scared" — the structure itself was built as a trio of Second Empire-style row houses at the end of the Civil War. In 1912, The Loyal Order of Moose bought them for a lodge, adding a ballroom and auditorium.

  In its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, fighters  fought in front of standing-room only crowds in the 1,200 seat arena, and the Blue came to epitomize the ideal of the Philadelphia fighter. 

  "Everyone knows," says Bernard Hopkins, who defended his belt a record twenty times over ten years before losing his crown on a split decision in 2005, "that when you fight a Philadelphia fighter, whether it's at the Blue Horizon or the Spectrum or wherever, you're going to see a fight. They're going to give their sweat, blood, and tears to put on a good performance. That's Philly, man. It's something in the air." Something you can still smell at the Blue Horizon.

(L to R) Dan Wolkow (New Mexico), Andy Kevorkian and Steve Pause

Aaron Finestone at the Legendary Blue Horizon


        FIRST LINE: January cold came in from two                                   rivers, formed four walls around Hart and closed in on him.

        The COLD WAS EVEN WORSE ON Broad Street.  From                the east it brought icy flavor from the Delaware. From the west it carried a mean grey frost from the Schuykill.

        He (Hart) looked south on Broad Street and the big clock on City Hall said six-twenty.  It was already getting dark and lights were showing in store windows here and there.  Hart put his hands in his trouser pockets and continued north on Broad Street.


                                                        i.      Hart gets off the train running from the law. 

 THE BURGLAR (NY: Lion, 1953) (Movie filmed in 1955, distributed in 1957, Directed by Paul Wendkos, Produced by Louis Kellman)

This unusual thriller, one of the last films of the true noir cycle, was shot solely in Philadelphia and Atlantic City.  Legendary local crime writer David Goodis adapted this, his only screen play, from one of his gloomy Lion Paperbacks.  The film stars Bryn Mawr born native Jayne Mansfield in one of her earliest roles, and veteran tough guy Dan Duryea, as the doomed leader of a burglary gone wrong.  For his first feature, director Wendkos packed in (early-) Kubrickesque pacing, inventive photography, and tons of local flavor, including generous location scenes and a pivotal point hinging on the voice of John Facenda

Dan Duryea (aka Duane Swierczynski) walks across 30th Street Station.

Dan Duryea drops Jayne Mansfield off to go to Atlantic City at Track 8. 

BIRTH PLACE OF DG: 4758 North 10th Street

Centered approximately on the intersection of Broad Street and Lindley Avenue, the neighborhood is bordered by the Hunting Park neighborhood to the south, Nicetown-Tioga, Germantown, and Ogontz to the west, Feltonville and Olney to the east, and Fern Rock to the north. It is generally considered to be bordered in the south by Wingohocking Street, in the west by 16th Street and Wakefield Park, in the north by Tabor Road, and 6th Street.

The terrain is generally flat. Wingohocking Creek flows under Wingohocking Street along Logan's southern border.

Logan is the site of the infamous “sinking homes” which were built on ash and unstable landfill atop old creek beds. Over two decades nearly 1,000 houses on 17 square blocks were impacted, eventually most were razed. 

(L to R) Ed Pettit, Duane Swierczynski and Dan Wolkow

Stacy Shreffler with her copy of SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER

Ed Pettit and a toast to Goodis's first House

Andy Kevorkian


Dan Wolkow is a "True Thug-4-Life"


Sneaking a peek at the back of the former Goodis House!

Keeping watch for the neighbors -
Dan Wolkow, Andy Kevorkian and Steve Pause

Roosevelt Memorial Park

(L to R) Larry Withers, Ed Pettit, Harold "Dutch" Silver and Steve Pause

(L to R) Harold "Dutch" Silver, Dan Wolkow, Duane Swierczynski and Stacy Shreffler

Graveside service called to order by Aaron Finestone and Andy Kevorkian

Larry Withers reads

Ed Pettit toasts!

Larry Withers toasts!

Duane Swierczynski toasts!

Dan Wolkow toasts!

Aaron Finestone and Andy Kevorkian

So another year passes and we adjourn to the Club House Diner!

Here is a review of the Club House Diner befitting a Goodis Get Together!

Club House Diner is a nightmare. 


The other night my boyfriend & I decided to get a late night meal. We decided to go to The Club House Diner because we've been there multiple times and liked it. When we were seated our waitress gave us the menu without introducing herself and walked away. She didn't even bother to take our drink order. 10 minutes later she returned and took our meal order. I asked her what kind of pies they had. She told me "she didn't know" and "I would have to go look myself". 15 minutes pass by and we didn't even get our drinks yet. Another 10 minutes pass and still no sign of our waitress and on top of that a man sitting a booth over had begun to vomit all over the table and himself. I completely lost my appetite and wanted to leave. I approached the hostess stand and no one was there. At this point I'm so mad my boyfriend & I walk to our car. As we began to pull away our waitress begins to pound on our windshield and tell us she's calling the cops. I immediately get out and ask here where she was and after waiting 40 minutes we didn't even receive our drinks. She tells me we didn't order any drinks and if we don't pay she's reporting our tag number to the police. So we go inside to pay the $7.00 bill that we owed. At this point the manager says that's policy. POLICY? I can understand the whole "dine & dash" situation but WE DIDN'T EVEN DRINK OR EAT ANYTHING! I was very calm while I was inside but the wait staff surrounding her were saying snide remarks under their breath. I was visibly upset and she offered no apology. Neither did the waitress for treating us like criminals. This place is an absolute nightmare and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Thursday, January 7, 2010



By DENNIS DERMODY  at Papermag's WOrdup


Out on DVD now is The Moon In The Gutter. Director Jean-Jacques Beineix's 1983 follow- up to his smash hit Diva was this wildly stylized movie based on a novel by David Goodis set around a seedy dock teaming with drunks, deviants, hookers, and wall-size posters for champagne saying: "Try Another Life." Gerard Depardieu plays a dock worker haunted by his sister's suicide (after being raped), who nightly revisits the alley where her body was discovered searching for clues to the man who violated her. He meets and falls for a beautiful wealthy girl (Natassia Kinski) who returns to the neighborhood searching for her dissolute brother. This movie was dismissed by critics and audiences at the time as pretentious, but it has an intoxicating, mad quality that is riveting, and I profess a guilty love for it. According to the director, the original running time was four hours and it was a much better film (but all the footage was later destroyed by the studio). Nonetheless, it's a fascinating, beautiful mess.