Big bands, books, movies, and more: harrygbutler’s 2019 lists — 3
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The sweetest music this side of heaven: Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians were one of the most successful of the big bands, with hits in four decades.
And of course "Auld Lang Syne" has a place here, too:
Welcome to my third thread for 2019! I’m Harry, and this is my fourth year in the 75 Books Challenge. By training I'm a medievalist, by occupation I’m a project manager, after many years as an editor. My taste in reading runs to Golden Age and earlier mysteries, pulp detective and adventure fiction, Late Antique and medieval literature, westerns, and late nineteenth and early twentieth century popular fiction, among others. I also have a fondness for collections of cartoons and comic strips, and relatively recently I have begun collecting pulp magazines from the first half of the twentieth century. I usually have a few books going at once.
My wife Erika and I live in eastern Pennsylvania with three cats — Elli, Otto, and Pixie — and a dog, Hildy. Our pets occasionally make an appearance in my thread. My other interests include model railroading, gardening, and birding, so you'll sometimes see something related to them as well.
In 2018, I read nearly 140 books; I’m hoping to hit 150 in 2019. I will also be continuing two projects that I stated last year: reading vintage pulp magazines and keeping track of the movies I’ll be watching. I averaged one fiction magazine every other week in 2018; I’d like to bump that amount up some, so I’ll be aiming for two issues every three weeks, or 39 for the year. On the film front, I averaged 5 movies per week; again, I’d like to do better, so I’ll aim for 6 per week, or a total of 312.
I try to provide some sort of comment on the books and magazines I read and the movies I watch, but they aren't really reviews.
1. Phaenomena, by Aratus
2. Richardson's First Case, by Basil Thomson
3. The Gold Point and Other Strange Stories, by Charles Loring Jackson
4. Best Cartoons of the Year 1945, ed. by Lawrence Lariar
5. The Monster of Grammont, by George Goodchild
6. Noble Society: Five Lives from Twelfth-Century Germany, trans. by Jonathan R. Lyon
7. The Daybreakers, by Louis L'Amour
8. When Body Language Goes Bad, by Scott Adams
9. Ben on the Job, by J. Jefferson Farjeon
10. Tunnel in the Sky, by Robert Heinlein
11. Beetle Bailey, by Mort Walker
12. The Shop Window Murders, by Vernon Loder
13. The Lady Is Transparent, by Carter Brown
14. The Harvey Comics Treasury Volume 1: Casper the Friendly Ghost & Friends, ed. by Leslie Cabarga
15. Death and Immortality, by Josef Pieper
16. Crooks Limited, by Edmund Snell
17. The Cretan Counterfeit, by Katharine Farrer
18. On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius
19. Hagar the Horrible #2, by Dik Browne
20. Lando, by Louis L'Amour
21. U.S. Self-Propelled Guns in Action, by Jim Mesko
22. Best Cartoons of the Year 1947, ed. by Lawrence Lariar
23. The Brooklyn Murders, by G.D.H. Cole
24. The Dream Is Deadly, by Carter Brown
25. Fergus of Galloway: Knight of King Arthur, by Guillaume le Clerc
26. The Case of the Late Pig, by Margery Allingham
27. Artists in Crime, by Ngaio Marsh
28. The Strange Death of Martin Green, by David Frome
29. An Alphabet of Tales, ed. by Mary Macleod Banks
30. "You Want Proof? I'll Give You Proof!" More Cartoons from Sidney Harris, by Sidney Harris
31. The Valley of Fear, by Arthur Conan Doyle
32. The Lay of Havelok the Dane, ed. by Walter W. Skeat
33. Sackett, by Louis L'Amour
34. Torrent of Portyngale, ed. by E. Adam
35. The Mystery of the Peacock's Eye, by Brian Flynn
36. Best Cartoons of the Year 1955, ed. by Lawrence Lariar
37. Victor of Vita: History of the Vandal Persecution, by Victor of Vita
38. My Dear 500 Friends, by George Price
39. The Double Thirteen, by Anthony Wynne
Argosy kicked off the pulp magazine era with its April 1894 issue, and it remained a major pulp until it became a slick-paper magazine in the 1940s. It was published under the title Argosy All-Story Weekly from its merger with All-Story Weekly in July 1920 until late in 1929. My pulp magazine collecting is focused at present on Argosy, and my earliest issues date from the 1920s, so many of those are likely to show up in my reading list this year, but other pulps, including both Railroad Stories and Range Romances, may appear as well.
Magazines completed in 2019
1. Argosy All-Story Weekly, April 8, 1922
2. Argosy All-Story Weekly, October 28, 1922
3. Argosy All-Story Weekly, March 17, 1923
4. Argosy All-Story Weekly, September 22, 1923
I grew up watching many old movies on TV with my family, with some trips to the movie theater (most often a drive-in while we were young), so my taste tends to run to studio-era films, with a heavy emphasis on mysteries, comedies, and westerns.
Movies watched in the first quarter
1. Swing Time (RKO, 1936), with the Bugs Bunny cartoon 14 Carrot Rabbit (WB, 1952) and Chapter 3 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
2. Inspector Hornleigh (Twentieth Century Fox, 1939)
3. Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday (Twentieth Century Fox, 1939)
4. Trail of the Rustlers (Columbia, 1950)
5. Boy Meets Girl (WB, 1938), with the Merrie Melodies cartoon You're an Education (WB, 1938) and Chapter 4 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
6. Confessions of Boston Blackie (Columbia, 1941)
7. Mark of the Vampire (MGM, 1935)
8. Inspector Hornleigh Goes to It (Twentieth Century Fox, 1941)
9. Man from Sonora (Monogram, 1951)
10. Coffy (American International, 1973)
11. Detective Kitty O'Day (Monogram, 1944)
12. Dangerous Money (Monogram, 1946)
13. Harum Scarum (MGM, 1965), with the Andy Panda cartoon Life Begins for Andy Panda (Lantz / Universal, 1939) and Chapter 5 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
14. Number 17 (British International Pictures / Wardour, 1932)
15. My Man Godfrey (Universal, 1936), with the Porky Pig cartoon Porky's Railroad (WB, 1937) and Chapter 6 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
16. Armour of God 2: Operation Condor (Golden Harvest, 1991)
17. The Greene Murder Case (Paramount, 1929)
18. The Benson Murder Case (Paramount, 1930), with the Mickey Mouse and Pluto cartoon Pluto and the Armadillo (Disney / RKO, 1943) and Chapter 7 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
19. Oklahoma Justice (Monogram, 1951)
20. Blues Busters (Monogram, 1950)
21. The Cocoanuts (Paramount, 1929)
22. The Falcon in Mexico (RKO, 1944), with the Speedy Gonzalez cartoon Cannery Woe (WB, 1961) and Chapter 8 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
23. The Adventures of Robin Hood (WB, 1938)
24. Murder in the Blue Room (Universal, 1944)
25. Half Shot at Sunrise (RKO, 1930)
26. Tarzan and the Mermaids (RKO, 1948)
27. The Trap (Monogram, 1946), with the Bugs Bunny cartoons Ali Baba Bunny (WB, 1957) and Buccaneer Bunny (WB, 1948) and Chapter 9 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
28. The Crosby Case (Universal, 1934)
29. Wake Island (Paramount, 1942)
30. Go West, Young Lady (Columbia, 1941)
31. Aunt Clara (British Lion, 1954)
32. Texas Lawmen (Monogram, 1951)
33. By Whose Hand? (Columbia, 1932), with the Andy Panda cartoon Fish Fry (Lantz / Universal, 1944) and Chapter 10 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
34. Cry of the Werewolf (Columbia, 1944)
35. The Studio Murder Mystery (Paramount, 1929)
36. The Phantom in the House (Continental Talking Pictures, 1929)
37. Shadows over Chinatown (Monogram, 1946)
38. Twin Dragons (Golden Way, 1992)
39. Creature from the Black Lagoon (Universal, 1954)
40. Dinner at Eight (MGM, 1933), with the Popeye cartoon Shoein' Hosses (Fleischer / Paramount, 1934) and Chapter 11 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
41. It Couldn't Have Happened (But It Did) (Invincible, 1936)
42. Bombay Mail (Universal, 1934)
43. Shadow of the Thin Man (MGM, 1941)
44. Fantômas in the Shadow of the Guillotine (Gaumont, 1913)
45. Racketeers of the Range (RKO, 1939)
46. The Black Doll (Universal, 1938)
47. Murder in Greenwich Village (Columbia, 1937)
48. The Lady in the Morgue (Universal, 1938)
49. Invasion of the Saucer Men (American International, 1957)
50. Murder at Dawn (Big 4 Film, 1932)
51. Love Bound (Peerless, 1932)
52. Jungle Man (PRC, 1941)
53. Juve vs. Fantômas (Gaumont, 1913)
54. Pharaoh's Curse (UA, 1957)
55. Special Mission Lady Chaplin (Fida Cinematographica, 1965)
56. Dragon Strike (Golden Harvest, 1982)
57. Agent 505: Death Trap in Beirut (Rapid Film/Metheus Film/Compagnie Lyonnaise de Cinéma, 1966)
58. SuperSeven Calling Cairo (Romana Film, 1965)
59. The Spy Who Loved Flowers (Romana Film, 1966)
60. Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill (Parnass/Metheus Film/Avala Film, 1966)
61. Death Is Nimble, Death Is Quick (Parnass, 1966)
62. 008: Operation Exterminate (Romana Film/Copro Film, 1965)
63. Decision at Sundown (Columbia, 1957)
64. The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939, Columbia), with the Pluto cartoon Private Pluto (Disney / RKO, 1943) and Chapter 12 of the serial Blackhawk (Columbia, 1952)
65. Brother Orchid (WB, 1940)
66. Mystery Ranch (Reliable, 1934)
67. The Murderous Corpse (Gaumont, 1913)
68. So Darling, So Deadly (Parnass, 1966)
69. Midnight Phantom (Reliable, 1935)
70. 'Neath the Arizona Skies (Monogram, 1934)
71. The Accidental Spy (Golden Harvest, 2001)
72. The Sons of Hercules in the Land of Darkness (aka Hercules the Invincible) (Metheus Film / Alvaro Mancori Produzioni Cinematografica, 1964)
73. Fantômas vs. Fantômas (Gaumont, 1914)
74. The Philadelphia Story (MGM, 1940)
I have realized that I've been avoiding reading single works — short stories, essays, treatises, etc. — found in books where I didn't intend to read the whole book at one go. Taking cues from Lori's (thornton37814) decision to track her article-reading this year, and also fuzzi's separate entries for books of the Bible in her thread, I've decided to make a place to track those shorter pieces that I might not otherwise get to.
1. Socrates' Defense (Apology), by Plato
2. Apologia Socratis (Socrates' Defence to the Jury), by Xenophon
3. "The Lost Lady," by Seabury Quinn (short story, first published Weird Tales, January 1931)
4. "The Ghost Helper," by Seabury Quinn (short story, first published Weird Tales, February-March 1931)
5. "Satan's Stepson," by Seabury Quinn (short story, first published Weird Tales, September 1931)
6. Enûma Eliš (The Babylonian Creation)
7. "The Soul of a Regiment," by Talbot Mundy (short story, first published in Adventure, February 1912)
8. "The Code," by Ernest Haycox (short story, first published in The Frontier, June 1926)
9. "Riley of the Bengal Lancers," by Lieut. Scott Morgan
10. First Homily on Fasting, by St. Basil of Caesarea
11. Apology, by Tertullian
12. "Lost Dutchman O'Riley's Luck," by Alan LeMay
Saint Ptolemy of Dendera (left) and the monk Paphnutius of Egypt (right), with Coptic text. Pierpont Morgan Library. MS M.581. Source
I have long had a casual interest in Late Antique Egypt, and a chance encounter with a thread on LibraryThing a few years ago prompted me to add a book on Coptic to my wishlist. I unexpectedly received Coptic in 20 Lessons for Christmas in 2018, so I’ve decided to spend part of my time this year trying to learn the language. I began on Jan. 1 and hope to get through all the lessons by the end of the first half of the year. Wish me luck!
Progress has been fairly slow so far, as I wrestle with trying to sound out words convincingly when I really am only seeing them written and working from phonetic guidance. I expect I'll get past that soon.
>6 harrygbutler: Good luck!
From your previous thread, I liked the Jimmy Durante recording of "The Day I Read a Book".
The textbook I'm using for Coptic is clearly intended for classroom use, but I think it will work out fine.
I found the Durante song while looking for something else, and I thought it was loads of fun.
"It wasn't a history, I know because it had no plot;
it wasn't a mystery, because nobody there got shot."
One memory that stands out is from 1971: I'd just heard about Pete Duel's death when Guy's orchestra started playing "I Want To Be Happy". I immediately thought "I can't be happy".
This past New Year's Eve, however, we instead watched this TV special from New Year's Eve 1957 to 1958, with Guy and the band at the Grill Room of the Hotel Roosevelt in New York: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxPArnhtvfc. I started it up at the right point (about quarter after 11, I think) to get the ball dropping at midnight so we could enjoy it as well. :-)
I recall watching and enjoying Alias Smith and Jones.
This is a solid little monograph, heavy on photos, focused on the tracked self-propelled guns of the U.S. Army (and also supplied to U.S. allies) during World War II. Truck-mounted guns are not included, and while the early half-tracks get some mention, I suspect they get more attention in other monographs from the same publisher. A little dry because of all the technical details, but informative. Recommended.
Jackie Chan appears in a dual role as twins separated at birth: one becomes a mechanic in Hong Kong and the other a world-renowned classical pianist, though they remain unconsciously linked. When the pianist comes to Hong Kong for a concert at the same time the mechanic incurs the wrath of a local gangster, mix-up follows mix-up as the pair find both fighting and romance. A fun action flick. Recommended.
Sorry for not leaving any messages, except "happy new thread". I am not familiair with any of your books or movies of late. But DO know I keep up with your thread.
The passing of Julie Adams earlier this month (noted here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/303410#6730689) prompted me to watch again what is probably her most famous movie. A chance find by a scientific researcher results in an expedition to locate fossil remains that turns into a battle for survival against an amphibious creature from Earth's distant past. Co-starring with Ms. Adams were Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno, and Nestor Paiva. Well-done, even if the contentious dealings of Carlson and Denning are a bit overdone. Recommended.
>23 harrygbutler: Very cool poster. Very reminiscent of Swamp Thing.
Have you seen Act of Violence?
>21 harrygbutler: I think I've actually seen that one. I love Jackie Chan! Not sure why this reminds me, but have you ever seen My Left Eye Sees Ghosts? When Netflix was carrying it, I watched it a few times in a row because there were a few scenes that made me laugh so hard. Japanese movies are fantastic sometimes. (Yes, I know Jackie Chan is not Japanese...like I said, I don't know why I thought of that.)
Happy New Thread!
I do have a spot for magazines, and now a separate spot that I can use for articles when I don't read the whole magazine or collection of essays. I ran into that issue a few times in the last couple years, when I had an academic Festschrift and was only interested in a few of the articles in the volume: I didn't want to count the whole volume, but I also didn't want to list the articles I chose to read in my book count, so I just left them out, but now I'll have a place to record them.
It's quite an unusual-looking poster for Creature from the Black Lagoon. I thought it might be more recent, say from a DVD cover, but I didn't find any indication when I came across it on IMDB to suggest it was other than an original poster or lobby card.
I don't think I've ever watched Act of Violence, though we have it on DVD. Have you seen it? Should I think about moving it up the "to be watched" list?
I don't worry too much about whether a movie is a "classic," as my film library or viewing lists probably would reveal: I get some in the mix, but I'm perfectly willing to avoid those that don't appeal to my tastes and to spend time with others that aren't very good overall because they are a good fit for me.
Erika and I are both fans of Jackie Chan, and have seen many of his movies.
I've never heard of My Left Eye Sees Ghosts, but I just checked out its IMDB page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319901/. If that's the right one, it looks like it's actually a Hong Kong picture. It does look enjoyable, so I'll try to remember to give it a try if it shows up on Amazon Prime.
An excellent example of MGM film-making with an all-star cast, Dinner at Eight, based on a play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, mingles comedy and drama in the stories of the hosts and guests of a planned dinner party. Marie Dressler is a delight as an actress past her prime, John Barrymore effective in a role that may have hit rather close to home as an actor also past his prime, Lee Tracy his usual wise-cracking self, Wallace Beery boisterous as a crass and crafty man on the make, Lionel Barrymore sympathetic as the head of a shipping line facing ruin, Edmund Lowe rather unsympathetic as a society doctor, and Billie Burke charming as the society hostess with real feelings too. The supporting cast is generally quite good. The standout performance, however, may belong to Jean Harlow, as the brassy blonde second wife of Wallace Beery's character, a woman whose failings are many but whose ambition sets the stage for a happy resolution to some of the troubles. Highly recommended!
Dressler and Harlow discuss a book:
Watch clip on YouTube
>37 harrygbutler: What a great film. I have it in a dvd set. I also adore Grand Hotel.
After the somewhat disappointing issue of October 28, 1922, I was pleased to find some solid entertainment in the March 17, 1923, issue of Argosy All-Story Weekly. The lead novelette by reliable craftsman J. Allan Dunn, “Fool’s Gold,” relates the fate of two crooks on the lam who hide themselves in a mining town. “3–11–125” is one of Karl W. Detzer’s tales of firefighting, as a rookie accompanies a seasoned veteran into an inferno. Florence M. Pettee’s “The Hand of the Hyena” is a slight story, one of a series about the “Exploits of Beau Quicksilver,” a crimefighter who here must outwit a gang set on his destruction. Garret Smith’s “Intent to Kill” is a much better story, of two men who plot to kill each other in staged hunting accidents. In “The Harbor of Broken Men,” by Lieut. C. Donald Feak, an aging sailor faces the temptation to wreck his ship for the insurance money, and Philip M. Fisher, Jr.’s “No Change” offers a twist in a story of love and betrayal. The final story is a comic one, by Carroll John Daly, better known for his hard-boiled stories for Black Mask, especially those featuring Race Williams; here he turns his talents to a sardonic story of a young man’s wooing and the scheming of a younger boy to get what he wants as well. Several poems and of course serials round out the issue.
>37 harrygbutler: I enjoyed the clip. Thanks for putting it here.
Reginald Denny heads the cast of this mystery as a playwright cajoled into helping to solve the murder of two producers. Inez Courtney is OK as the secretary with a yen for Mr. Denny, and Evelyn Brent gets rather little to do as the wife of one of the dead men. Jack La Rue does a good job as a gangster who wanted to get his girlfriend into the show and thus comes under suspicion of the killings himself. Rather contrived and lightweight, but still fairly entertaining. Mildly recommended.
>49 mysterymax: When Calvin and Hobbes came out, my father loved them. I cut them from the LA Times every day and put them into a binder for him for his birthday. I think I have that binder somewhere, but am not sure.
A book-related cartoon from Best Cartoons of the Year 1947 of particular interest to mystery fans.
Several years ago, I bought a few dozen old newspaper strips from the 1920s or 1930s — Tillie the Toiler, about a stenographer, which ran from 1921 to 1959, and Smitty, about an office boy, which ran from 1922 to 1973, among them — that someone had clipped out in the past, but I didn't get any context with the purchase. I scanned the strips with a thought of doing something with them, such as posting them to a blog, but I've never gotten around to doing that. Maybe I'll turn a few into thread-toppers next year.
Edmund Lowe has the lead as a detective investigating the murder of a British official on the famed Bombay Mail, whose schedule prevents a lengthy halt and forces the inquiry to go on while the train moves along. A second killing further complicates matters. A fast-paced and effective little mystery. Recommended.
Inspired by comments on the series in Robin's (rretzler) thread, I recently requested this volume, the first in the long-running Superintendent Wilson series, via interlibrary loan. A few weeks later, I had it in hand and plunged into this mystery by G.D.H. Cole (perhaps with the aid of his wife, Margaret Cole, who is credited as co-author on the rest of the series). Two cousins, heirs to the bulk of an old man's estate, are found murdered on the same morning, and the evidence — clearly false — suggests that each killed the other, though that is physically impossible. A fairly well-crafted but lengthy investigation follows, with both amateurs and professionals involved. I spotted the culprit right away, but the writing was good enough to sustain my interest throughout the remaining 90% of the book. Mildly recommended.
I'm beginning to save cartoons on mysteries, murder, etc. and the one you posted fits right in.
I hope all is well.
You've reminded me of another serial that I loved and read well into my teens, until I couldn't find it in the papers anymore, Gasoline Alley. I've read some of the older strips online (I think you pointed me out to a site where it was archived) but am hoping that I don't come across them in book form such as Prince Valiant...I'd have bill collectors beating on my door!
For those unfamiliar with Gasoline Alley, here's a little bit about the longevity of the strip, plus some examples: http://www.tcj.com/growing-old-in-gasoline-alley-ninety-four-years-and-counting/
>56 harrygbutler: I watched the opening credits just for the heck of it on YouTube - two interesting tidbits are that it's based on a book by L.G. Blochman (haven't ever heard of him) and Hedda Hopper was in it. She's the only name I recognize from the list of players.
>57 harrygbutler: Sounds interesting. I occasionally figure out whodunit and enjoy the rest of the book to see how the author plays it out.
There were a couple movies made based on the strip: Gasoline Alley and Corky of Gasoline Alley, both released by Columbia Pictures back in 1951. Presumably the aim was to get an ongoing movie series going, but without success.
A good while back, I read an enjoyable novel involving a British tank during the retreat to Dunkirk Tramp in Armour.
This thread has a fair number of tanker memoirs listed and discussed: https://www.librarything.com/topic/22284. Perhaps you can find a reminder of the one you read.
L. G. Blochman is Lawrence G. Blochman, who wrote an assortment of mysteries, including a forensics-oriented series starring one Dr. Coffee. I own a non-Coffee book by Blochman but haven't yet read it.
As mentioned in post >5 harrygbutler:, I find that I have been somewhat neglecting single, shorter works — short stories, essays, treatises, etc. — found in books where I didn't intend to read the whole book at one go. I've decided to rectify that going forward, and although I may not comment on all of them, I may devote posts to some of them. Here are the first couple I've opted to list.
1. Socrates' Defense (Apology), by Plato
2. Apologia Socratis (Socrates' Defence to the Jury), by Xenophon
Accounts of Socrates’ trial by two of his students – Plato, an eyewitness whose dialogue highlights both his answers to charges such as atheism and more generally the grounds on which Socrates might be considered wise, and the other, Xenophon, who was not in Athens during the trial and wrote his version apparently several years later, with rather different emphases. Plato’s version is of course much more famous, but both will repay the reader’s attention, particularly when read together. And for those whose only exposure to Socrates has been through the Platonic dialogues, I’d recommend a look at the rest of Xenophon’s works featuring him as well.
When a jockey is found shot to death in the showers at the track, Nick (William Powell) is grudgingly dragged into the investigation, which involves gambling and corruption at the races. And though little Nicky may have slowed things down a bit, both Nick and Nora (Myrna Loy) remain a delight. A twisty case with at least one unexpected solution and if another revelation was not exactly a surprise, it still was a pleasure reaching it. Recommended.
I like all the mystery-related cartoons you're posting, especially the one where the suspect gored and trampled the victim to death. *smile*
Noted mystery critic, editor, bookstore owner Otto Penzler is selling off his collection of genre works and other items amassed over 50+ years, with the auction for Part One of the collection occurring on March 6 (though online bidding is open). I shan't be bidding on anything, but I certainly plan to browse what's on offer.
Here's a link to the first part: https://historical.ha.com/c/auction-home.zx?saleNo=6208
HT: I learned about the sale from the enjoyable blog Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure, and the Wild West, in a post that gives some nice close-up views of an assortment of hard-boiled Race Williams mysteries by Carroll John Daly: http://davycrockettsalmanack.blogspot.com/2019/02/for-sale-otto-penzlers-race-wi...
A publisher launching a new magazine hires private eye Danny Boyd to discover what became of a rising actress who had a breakdown and disappeared two years ago, but no one else seems interested in her whereabouts, and Boyd soon discovers how dangerous digging into the dead past can prove. Some twists along the way and a fast pace keep things interesting. Mildly recommended.
In a series of films beginning in 1913, French director Louis Feuillade brought to the screen Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre’s master criminal, Fantômas. No Robin Hood, Fantômas is a thief and murderer, and this first film in the series showcases some of his exploits and the efforts of Inspector Juve to bring him to justice. The movie is divided into a few “chapters,” rather than featuring a continuous plot, with each such section telling a portion of the story. Recommended.
A cowboy fights a big packing concern's attempt to obtain a monopoly by taking over the last independent packer. Along the way, he helps the young owner of the independent packer come to an appreciation of the ranchers and their way of life. George O'Brien's good-natured appeal keeps this one entertaining, though it might have benefited from a slightly longer running time. Recommended.
>74 harrygbutler: I just went over there and won't be bidding on anything either. The lowest price I saw was $500...
A wealthy man (C. Henry Gordon) with a shady past and a sister (Doris Lloyd) and nephew (William Lundigan) who hate him receives a threat in the form of a voodoo doll. Death follows, but not until after he summons his old accomplices (John Wray and Addison Richards) to his home. The bumbling sheriff (Edgar Kennedy) and his deputy soon arrive, yet the killing hasn't stopped. Fortunately, Nick Halstead (Donald Woods), a private detective and the fiancé of the first victim's daughter (Nan Grey), is on hand to untangle the mystery. Mildly recommended.
I have a favour to ask, or at least a suggestion to make: the Dean Street Press is reissuing some of Moray Dalton's mysteries. I really enjoyed those of her books I've read, but most of them are literally impossible to get hold of now. I was very excited when I got a notification about these! I will be picking up Kindles of the ones I haven't read---and since they are inexpensive, perhaps all of them, just to make a point. If you could find your way to an encouraging purchase, that would be great!
(Hmm. I think they're only doing ebooks, though, which I know may be a problem for you.)
Nice start! :)
I've been trying to get back to Eberhart's Sarah Keate series forever, but the next one up is a read-in-the-library, so it keeps getting bumped for other reads-in-the-library.
Speaking of which, as you will have noticed I did not end up getting to The Hardway Diamonds Mystery this month but have it definitely on the slate for March.
I've got several ILL requests in at the moment, but I've got to get my tracking more organized so that I'm sure not to ask a second time for the same unavailable book. (I was doing well, but then a combination of a change in form and a new computer on my side caused me to stop tracking for a time, and now I don't know just what I haven't been able to get in the past.) I put in one request this week for which I needed to do a good bit of groundwork, as checking on worldcat found copies catalogued under the pen name used on the book, under the author's real name, and also under the name of the author of a foreword in the book, such that they appeared as three separate books. Ugh.
I've only read one or two of the Sarah Keate books, and I know I don't own them all at present. I enjoyed them enough to be willing to give the others a go if I can get them. I've advanced one book in a couple series myself in the past week or so, polishing off The Case of the Late Pig for Albert Campion and Artists in Crime for Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn. I think my next series book will be The Valley of Fear, as I slowly make my way through a rereading of the Sherlock Holmes series.
Next month is certainly fine for The Hardway Diamonds Mystery. I just wrapped up the non-Mr. Pinkerton David Frome mystery The Strange Death of Martin Green, from 1931. Have you read that one?
ETA: Order placed for One by One They Disappeared. :-)
I like the medical content of the Sarah Keate books, and the way they handle the relationship between her and her police contact, keeping it effectively older sister / younger brother (something I gather the film versions tamper with).
The Case Of The Late Pig is also next up for me with the Campions, though I'm not sure when I'll get to it. I may bump it a bit up the TBR.
I haven't had that problem with my ILLs and other requests, although I have struggled with typos in the catalogues, which sometimes prevent a held book from showing up in my search, grr!
Oh, good, I'm glad they will be in book form too! One By One They Disappeared is one of the ones I've read. I remember liking it, though I think I also recall some animal violence, so caveat emptor. (ETA: Eep! Should I have spoken sooner?)
Right, the Sarah Keate movies go with a romantic relationship, at least in the two I've seen most recently.
Thanks for the warning about One by One They Disappeared, but no need to be concerned. I don't generally picture things in my head as I read, and I've read enough books in which mistreatment of animals is the mark of a villain, or in which animal battles animal, that it's unlikely to put me off the book unless somehow egregious.
"Boy" (Richard Arlen, playing a photographer) meets "girl" (Fay Wray as a fetching heiress) as the latter escapes from a notorious playboy's apartment, clad only in pajamas. When the playboy is found murdered and Wray is connected with the building where he and Arlen both lived, she claims to be engaged to Arlen to explain her presence on the premises — though that may end up putting Arlen under suspicion. A policeman suspicious of the alibi, an assortment of wacky characters who work with Arlen, the heiress's father (Thurston Hall), and the playboy's gangster brother (Marc Lawrence), who is keen to find his sibling's slayer, add to the proceedings, with some comic set pieces and some unusual twists
Have a great week.
That said I feel that Hepburn and Grant or a Marvel in The Philadelphia Story which is a favorite film of mine. You never can tell, and it is hard to explain, how a film will click or not click for me. But I suspect we're all like that.
What do you think of Bringing Up Baby?
I like Bringing Up Baby quite a bit, but it pales in comparison to The Philadelphia Story.
I think the fundamental problem is Katharine Hepburn's character — her madcap heiress just doesn't have enough charm. I don't know whether a different actress might have pulled it off, but perhaps, say, Carole Lombard could have done so. Grant is excellent as the scientist out of his depth, and Charlie Ruggles is excellent in support, but the movie isn't all it could be. Filmgoers at the time shared your judgment, I guess, as it wasn't a successful movie.
3. "The Lost Lady," by Seabury Quinn (short story, first published Weird Tales, January 1931)
4. "The Ghost Helper," by Seabury Quinn (short story, first published Weird Tales, February-March 1931)
5. "Satan's Stepson," by Seabury Quinn (short story, first published Weird Tales, September 1931)
I've now reached the third volume in the Night Shade Books reprints of Seabury Quinn's stories about the pertinacious French battler against evil, The Dark Angel, but I anticipate spreading the reading out this volume out quite a bit, especially as the next item up is the sole Jules de Grandin novel, The Devil's Bride. Thus, I anticipate counting the short stories among my short work reading, at least for now.
These three are the first in this volume, including a tale of vengeance through sympathetic magic, another of protection reaching beyond the grave to shield survivors, and a third pitting the detective against a devil who has cheated death and stalks the woman whom he had forced to marry him. Dated in some respects, but interesting tales nonetheless.
I've tried without success to read the mystery by Jonathan Latimer on which this movie is based, so I guess it should come as no surprise to me that the movie didn't really work, either. Rival crooks, among others, show an interest in the body of an unidentified woman in the morgue. When the body disappears and the morgue attendant is murdered, detective Bill Crane (Preston Foster), who has been hired to determine whether the dead woman was the daughter of a rich family, keeps plugging away. Though it should have been fast-paced, it seemed to drag, and I didn't think Foster had much charisma. Not recommended.
I am surprised to hear that the film was not a success because time has been very kind to it and it often listed near the top of best screwball comedies. Perhaps, that is just the star power talking.
I know that Grant was know for a certain amount of manic silliness, especially in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s. When comparing this character to Mortimer Brewster, or even C. K. Dexter Haven, David loses hands down. I also feel that as far as academics go, Grant's Dr. Barnaby Fulton, in Monkey Business was a cut above as well.
Perhaps, it's time a group watch of The Philadelphia Story. What do you think?
>106 harrygbutler: If the list is more important than the link, I suggest removing the touchtone aspect of your list in >4 harrygbutler:. I discovered a while back that long touchstoned lists were quirky at best, so I have simply removed the touchstones from my lists of books read, books acquired, and books culled.
Yes, I've found some issues in the past with long lists of touchstones, and I might reconsider for those, but this morning the problem extended to a single touchstone when I tried to add it for The Philadelphia Story in >105 harrygbutler:, so the problem was more severe than just the usual delay — which has gotten longer — when working with the longer lists. And I see a Site Search Down bug once a week now, and although there seems to be a different reason offered each time (when reasons are offered), I think the frequency is grounds for concern.
>106 harrygbutler: I have also been having a lot of touchstone issues. I went through and made sure that all my urls were "https" instead of "http" and that seemed to help, some.
Are you interested in scheduling an Alistair MacLean read for March? It's been several months since I read the last one.
On a whim, though in part prompted by an odd anonymous letter, Albert Campion attends the funeral of a former schoolmate, only to be surprised to discover the fellow murdered several months later. He of course investigates, dealing with an odd cast of characters as he looks for the truth behind the double death. Recommended.
Little green men land in their saucer. Can an eloping couple who encounter them put paid to the alien menace? Silly but fairly fun, with Raymond Hatton good as a farmer bothered by the local teens using his property as a makeout spot. Mildly recommended.
When the model is murdered in front of an entire class of art students by means of a fiendish booby trap, Detective-Inspector Roderick Alleyn finds himself wrestling with his personal feelings for the instructor as he tackles the case. The murdered woman’s lover, the likeliest suspect, has disappeared, and reconstructing his movements is key to learning just what happened, but motives abound, so Alleyn and his assistants relentlessly delve into the secrets of the rest of the artists as well. A decent procedural, and while I saw some of the final explanation, I didn’t manage to figure it all out. Recommended.
I really need to re-acquire the Roderick Alleyn series - I have a few of them, don't remember what I've read or not. Ah well, another book 'to do' for 2019!
A scientist working on solar power is targeted for his new invention. Murderous mayhem, kidnapping, strange appearances and disappearances follow. A fun premise is let down by weak comic relief and poor cinematography and set design; I'm still not convinced that the house isn't laid out rather like Escher's Relativity:
I was tricked into watching this while in the mood for an old mystery, as it was available under its reissue title, Murder on the High Seas. No mystery this, but rather a fairly dismal drama, with Natalie Moorhead (seen above) in a good role as the woman in a scandalous court case and Jack Mulhall as the son of the man against whom she won a verdict, hoping to trap her into exonerating his father and enabling his family to stay together. Watching two Jack Mulhall movies back to back was likely a mistake, especially given the genre this turned out to be. Not recommended.
Thus, I'd like to draw attention to the Amazon Marketplace seller Flamingo Books & Ephemera. I've so far obtained two books from them, in two separate orders, and in each case the packaging was excellent — a protective plastic bag, within a paper bag, within bubble wrap, within a fitted cardboard "box" (cut-down from a larger box, I think), within the mailing envelope, guarding against not just bumps and nicks, but water as well, an important consideration for wintertime shipping especially. I'll certainly order from them again if they should have books that I want.
(Note: I don't know whether this is the same business as Flamingo Eventz, which runs book & ephemera and antiques & collectibles shows, including one coming up in Manhattan on the 9th of March, but it does seem likely.)
A couple of my Prince Valiants were shoved in a flimsy mailing envelope, and arrived with damage. I hate seeing books needlessly ruined through poor planning.
When unpopular Martin Green is found dead in the swampy area below the sixth tee at the country club's golf course, accident is possible but to some at least seems unlikely, especially as it is followed nearly immediately by the flight of the unfaithful wife who had been his lover. When the finger of suspicion points to some of those with whom his hosts are friendly, and perhaps even to one of his hosts, experienced investigator Gregory Lewis, houseguest of the Wakefields, essays to uncover the truth of the death. An interesting approach is having parts of the story related in the first person by different members of the close-knit group living around the club. Although I spotted part of the solution to the mystery at the very start, I didn't get at the whole and was surprised by some developments. Some dated elements, but the mystery was fairly good. To borrow Stasia's (alcottacre) phrase, guardedly recommended.
A doctor (Buster Crabbe) who has been working on a cure for a tropical disease becomes involved with a safari looking for a lost city. Crabbe is as pleasantly entertaining as he usually is, and it is a pleasure, too, to see him paired with Charles Middleton (Ming in the Flash Gordon serials) as friends. A low-budget adventure with limited thrills, though the former athlete does get to do some swimming. Mildly recommended.
I've had this book going for some time and have at long last finished it. It's a 15th-century Middle English translation of the Alphabetum narrationum of Etienne de Besançon, a collection of 801 exempla — anecdotes for use to illustrate a point or draw a moral in a sermon, organized alphabetically by what would now be called the keyword, and with many cross references as well. The exempla vary in length and interest, and it was difficult to read more than a handful at a time, but I'm glad to have read them. I've at least one other collection of Middle English exempla, also published by the Early English Text Society, but I don't expect to tackle it very soon. Recommended.
Inspector Juve continues to battle Fantômas, even as that archcriminal targets a train full of people to cover up a crime and sets more than one trap for the detective. This second film in the series moves right along and leaves the viewer wanting to see more. Recommended.
Flamingo Books & Ephemera sounds like one of the good'uns.
I don't tolerate damaged books from Amazon. I always send them back, making sure I'm not charged for the UPS label, and they send another. Sometimes they just come in a box, no waterproofing, but I've never had water damage.
Have a wonderful week ahead.
Have a good week yourself.
Sidney Harris exposes the seamy underbelly of scientific research... Nah, what he does is offer up another batch of cartoons related to scientific matters, more or less amusing. His style variations mean that some have more appeal to me than others, and though I wouldn't exactly call myself a fan, I enjoy enough of them to keep picking up the collections when I come across them in used-book sales. The cover cartoon is probably the best of the lot in this one. Mildly recommended.
An unexpectedly well-done little movie, with the titular curse resulting in doom for members of an archaeological expedition. Recommended.
Morning, Harry. I hope you had a nice weekend. We are back to frigid temps. Only 14F today. It is supposed to inch back up to normal by the end of the week. The feeders were hopping yesterday, in advance of the cold snap, especially the finch feeder. Need to replenish.
I kicked off a run of several Eurospy / Eurocrime movies (with one exception) with this entry from 1966, originally titled Missione speciale Lady Chaplin, starring Daniela Bianchi (best known for her performance in From Russia with Love but here the lethal title character). As far as plot goes, a criminal mastermind is looking to salvage the 16 nuclear missiles carried aboard the sunken USS Thresher, and it falls to agent Dick Malloy (Ken Clark, who essayed the role in three movies) to thwart the evil plan. Fun enough for what it was. Recommended if it sounds appealing.
I just replenished our tube and platform feeders as well as the shelled peanut tube that is popular with the red-bellied woodpecker and the nuthatches.
The early deaths of two kings — whose wives apparently predeceased them — leave their heirs and their realms at the mercy of the leading nobles to whom they entrust their care. Alas, in both cases the guardians prove untrue, with Goldeboru, daughter of England's King Athelwold, kept disgracefully imprisoned by Earl Godrich of Cornwall, and Havelok, son of Denmark's King Birkabeyn, forced to watch his sisters' murders and be threatened with destruction himself by the usurper Godard. How the two unfortunates persevere and pursue justice is the burden of this Middle English lay, marred a bit by missing lines but nonetheless entertaining. Recommended.
Jackie Chan plays the lazy son of an important man who accidentally becomes involved with villains. Much of the film's focus is rather on the doings of one of the thieves. A somewhat entertaining blend of comedy and action with too many sequences that don't work all that well. Mildly recommended.
Back to the Eurospy genre with this West German-Italian-French co-production, originally titled Agent 505 - Todesfalle Beirut. Frederick Stafford stars as Richard Blake, Agent 505, summoned to Beirut to thwart an extortion plot that threatens to destroy the city's inhabitants. Suspicion rests on a wealthy philanthropist as Blake and his partner contend with the gang of the archcriminal known only as "the Sheikh." Mildly recommended.
That reminds me, I need to get back to Prince Valiant, my last read was #5.
I'm planning to read The Dark Crusader (aka The Black Shrike) next week. It is one of his books where the chapters are tied to days (or parts of days), and I'm hoping to read, say, the Wednesday chapters on Wednesday. :-)
This entry in Louis L'Amour's Sacket family saga introduces the reader to William Tell Sackett, elder brother of Orrin and Tyrel, whom we met in The Daybreakers. Tell's years of wandering have yet to result in much in the way of tangible accomplishments, no matter what they may have yielded in experience. Fate seems to smile, however, when he discovers a hidden source of high-grade gold ore, and together with old Cap Rountree, he sets out to stake a claim to conceal the real source of his gold but also with the hope of establishing a town, though of course predatory antagonists soon make themselves known. Recommended.
When a top-secret metal is stolen and smuggled out of England as the zoom lens on a camera, agent Martin Stevens (aka SuperSeven) is sent to Egypt to track down the tourist who ended up with the camera, even as the criminals behind the original theft also attempt to recover it. The first of two movies in the SuperSeven Eurospy series isn't all that good, and star Roger Browne hasn't much to recommend him beyond a jutting jaw. Mildly recommended at best.
By Ben Pirard at nl.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Neo-Assyrian cylinder seal impression from the eighth century BCE identified by several sources as a possible depiction of the slaying of Tiamat from the Enûma Eliš.
This approximately thousand-line poem recounts the generation and contentions of the gods, and the victory of the hero-god Marduk over the primeval goddess Tiamat, who has birthed monsters to battle the gods, and the subsequent creation of the world and mankind. I recently reread this work in the Penguin collection Poems of Heaven and Hell from Ancient Mesopotamia. Certainly worth a look.
Are we still on the for The Philadelphia Story next week?
Tell may be my favorite of the Sacketts, though perhaps that's a response to his creator's greater attention to him.
I double-checked that I have The Philadelphia Story ready to hand, so we're definitely on.
>169 harrygbutler: *smile*
Back again to the world of romance, with this Middle English poem on the adventures of the title character, who is set a series of tasks — chiefly killing giants who are terrorizing various neighborhoods — and must overcome treachery and forcible separation from his beloved, who endures her own adventures as well, including a plot similar to that found in, say, the Middle English romance Octovian. Mildly recommended.
It truly amazes me how the Victorians used mass-produced books to keep the...abstruse...corners of Literature from vanishing. They seem to me to be constitutionally consummate censors....
ETA fatfingered spellings
By training I'm a medievalist .... My taste in reading runs to ... Late Antique and medieval literature, ... among others.
The second movie starring Roger Browne as Agent SuperSeven finds our prognathous protagonist, who has recovered a device that could knock out power, assigned to kill the people who have knowledge of the device, only to find that his mission has been compromised. Twists — at least some predictable — are in store as he seeks to figure out what is really going on. Fairly entertaining, though. Mildly recommended.
A friend on FB is an Anglo-Saxonist whose light bedtime reads are these sorts of deep-dive books. I'm endlessly amazed and impressed at the exuberance y'all bring to the table, for works utterly and completely marginalized from the larger literary conversation, and how completely these older works please and excite y'all's academical hearts.
And I do agree on the Eurospy films. I was quite in the mood for something of the sort last week, and they fit the bill quite well.
When a young woman is murdered while sitting in a dentist's chair, Chief-Inspector Bannister, one of Scotland Yard's "Big Six," has his seaside holiday interrupted. The victim is first misidentified, and the error brings in detective Anthony Bathurst, who is acting on behalf of a blackmail victim with ties to the woman supposed to have been killed. The investigation that follows sees the two detectives, official and private, working sometimes together, sometimes on their own, and building to an ending that I found quite a surprise. Recommended.
The first of the Kommissar X movies starring Tony Kendall and Brad Harris, Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill (original title Kommissar X - Jagd auf Unbekannt) sets the pattern for the series. Suave ladies' man Jo Walker (Kendall) and no-nonsense policeman Capt. Tom Rowland (Harris) work together (albeit sometimes grudgingly on Rowland's part) to foil the schemes of a criminal mastermind, here responsible for a series of murders as part of a larger plot reminiscent of Goldfinger. Not too serious, and it's easy to see why it spawned a series. Recommended.
This fine short story, first published in Adventure in February 1912, proved quite popular with the magazine's readers as well. Although in some ways dated and thus likely to sit uncomfortably with readers, the account of perseverance and dedication rises above the limitations of its context. Recommended.
The second Kommissar X movie, originally titled Kommissar X - Drei gelbe Katzen sees Jo Walker (Tony Kendall) and Capt. Rowland (Brad Harris) off to South Asia to battle a villainous mastermind hoping to use a cult — and a flesh-eating bacterium — to gain power. Some interesting locations, an amusing "lake monster," and fairly well-scripted fights provide plenty of entertainment. Recommended.
I jumped the gun with The Philadelphia Story when my daughter was home for Spring Break last week. She says she's seen it before, but it would only have been with me, and I don't remember watching it with her. Anyway, we watched it on Friday and so I'm ready to go! I have it on this DVD:
TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Romantic Comedies (Adam's Rib / Woman of the Year / The Philadelphia Story / Bringing Up Baby).
>201 karenmarie: hi Karen. I look forward to watching in discussing it. Woman of the Year is also a great one.
I'm not sure which DVD set yielded our copy, although if it was included in a Cary Grant set, that would be the likely source.
Source: Galactic Central
The first story in the anthology The Big Book of Western Action Stories is this piece by Ernest Haycox, in which an old man, down on his luck and the butt of abuse, recovers a measure of self-respect by doing a good turn for another in accordance with "the code." Recommended.
British intelligence sends a top agent (Alberto Lupo) to Cairo to partner with an American agent (Ingrid Schoeller as the Agent 008 of the title) in recovering a dangerous anti-radar device that is also wanted by the Russians (naturally). Chases, fights, and the usual sparks, with a couple twists at the end, make for a fairly entertaining Eurospy flick. Recommended.
The top book price mentioned on the blog (that I saw) was for a first edition of Hammett's Red Harvest, at $75,000. (http://davycrockettsalmanack.blogspot.com/2019/03/otto-penzler-aucton-results-ha...)
An inscribed first edition of The Big Sleep sold for $57,500. (http://davycrockettsalmanack.blogspot.com/2019/03/otto-penzler-auction-results-r...)
>207 harrygbutler: I'm going to check out the selling prices. And now I know I'll never own a first edition of Chandler, dang it.
Edit- some of those books went for surprisingly reasonable prices!
Have you ever seen Operation Kid Brother, starring Sean Connery's brother Neil? Mystery Science Theater 3000 tackled it in one episode, but it is fairly enjoyable on its own, too. (MST3K did at least one other that I can recall, Secret Agent Super Dragon, starring Ray Danton.)
I was surprised at the relatively low prices of some of the books, too — still too high for me for a single book, but not completely out of reach. I assume it's a combination of relatively large numbers of surviving copies in fine shape and a relatively small pool of devoted collectors.
I really thought the majority of the books I'd like in the auction would be really expensive. I need to make a dark corner of my house with a glass case and velvet ropes all around it, waiting for the next time something like this happens.
I have one book that would probably be worth a few hundred dollars if I could find the right buyer (a Photoplay edition of Frankenstein with photos from the movie, in dust jacket), but that's about it, I suspect.
Google summary: Brothers Joe (George Raft) and Paul Fabrini (Humphrey Bogart), who are delivery-truck drivers, push themselves hard trying to run their own business. One night, a fatigued Paul falls asleep behind the wheel, demolishing the truck and losing an arm. Joe is then offered a job by a truck company owner (Alan Hale) whose wife, Lana (Ida Lupino), falls for Joe. Lana kills her husband to be with Joe, but when he refuses her advances because he loves Cassie (Ann Sheridan), Lana frames him for murder.