Saturday, April 26, 2014

Day 16 - A New Flash

Today was a day of distractions. Got another letter from the Department of Redundancy Department, necessitating a little more rather useless kerfuffle.  Also, the rear view mirror simply fell off our car yesterday, so today was partly devoted to getting it fixed. (Note: even really heavy duty mounting tape won't work.)

Today's Progress: Finished a flash story "Something Rather Terrible."  It's one of the stories generated from a chapter title in an old book.  The random choice for crime was "hostage taking - on the run."  The rather prissy tone of the title, combined with the crime, gave me a nice little twist to play with. (This is a very rough draft, now sitting and curing in a drawer.)

Otherwise, still wrestling with Chapter 2.  I'm thinking it might be a good time to skip a scene.  I had another new scene burning in my head, but I had a distracting phone call at exactly the wrong moment and  I lost it. 

Eating, Reading, Watching: I made celery salad and had it with leftovers and rice, while watching The Phantom Lady (1944, Universal), another noir B-picture with Franchot Tone as a mad killer.  It was pretty meh.  In the 1940s and 50s there seemed to be a mania in thriller producers for pseudo-scientific madness.  It worked out okay with smart movies, like Hitchcock's Spellbound, or with smart actors like Bogie in In a Lonely Place.  This was just going through the motions -- madness is a headache and a mad look in the eyes, and the actor striking funny theatrical poses with his hands.

But some of the noir part was definitely good.  The heroine (played by Ella Raines) was trying to track down an alibi for the man she loved.  She knew a bartender had lied about something, so she went to that bar every night and stared at him, then she followed him, until she had completely unnerved him.  This reverse, with the sweet innocent little lady acting like a gangster stalker, really worked well.  Elisha Cook Jr (Wilmer from the Maltese Falcon) also got to chew a little scenery as the next witness she goes after.

Bit of trivia, I noticed that the producer was Joan Harrison -- who was originally Hitchcock's secretary, who also wrote a bunch of his screenplays with  him and his wife.  She later went on to be the producer of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV show.  Harrison was, of course, female, so even though she was the only producer in the credits, and her name appeared before the director, she was still just an "associate" producer.

In the meantime, I finally finished The Glass Key.  Not sure what I want to say about it, so that may crop up again later.  Continuing with the audio book of Lieberman's Folly now.  Not sure what will be my nighttime reading....

See you in the funny papers.

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