Adventure · Drama · Thriller

Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges

B. Traven (18??-1969?) was a popular novelist who never gave interviews. Not even his publishers knew him; they communicated with someone claiming to be his agent via a Mexican postal box. Traven might have been onto something. The great thing about not generating your own publicity is that others will do it for you – and they’ll create fantastic stories. For example, some… Continue reading Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges

Drama · Thriller

Bette Davis: Underacting for William Wyler

*Spoiler Alert* They created the best opening scene in the history of cinema: On a moonlit night, on an isolated rubber plantation in Malay, a woman follows a man out of a house. As he stumbles down the stairs of the veranda, she fires at him repeatedly with a handgun, even after he’s dead. In films… Continue reading Bette Davis: Underacting for William Wyler

Film Noir · Thriller

Bruno Anthony’s Reliance on Public Transportation

One of our favourite on-screen performances is Robert Walker‘s turn as the psychopath Bruno Anthony in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Strangers on a Train (1951). Walker is electrifying as the spoiled, too-smart-for-his-own-good Anthony, a man with a slippery, non-stick charisma that easily deflects criticism. Even his rare flashes of anger are charmingly displaced by a mischievous smile and an amusing it’s-not-my-fault demeanour. There… Continue reading Bruno Anthony’s Reliance on Public Transportation

Mystery · Thriller

Basil Rathbone, Fortune Hunter

There’s nothing more chilling than a villain with a large vocabulary. In the 1937 British thriller, Love from a Stranger, Basil Rathbone plays the kind of villain nobody wants to meet in real life. Rathbone’s villain is handsome, suave and articulate. But he would do anything to get your money – including marring you. We first meet Rathbone’s gold-digging character when he… Continue reading Basil Rathbone, Fortune Hunter


Ingrid Bergman: Questioning Your Way to Better Mental Health

In the 1945 thriller Spellbound, Ingrid Bergman asks a lot of questions. She asks so many questions, in fact, we’re willing to bet she holds some kind of cinematic record. Bergman plays a psychoanalyst who helps amnesia victim Gregory Peck uncover details of a murder he may or may not have committed. She is convinced Peck has knowledge… Continue reading Ingrid Bergman: Questioning Your Way to Better Mental Health

Film Noir · Thriller

Teresa Wright: Film Noir Superhero

Spoiler Alert! In Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, Teresa Wright does something no law enforcement agency is able to do. She handily dispenses with a dangerous villain and makes The World A Safer Place. (Get this: She does so while wearing classic leather pumps and tailored outfits.) Shadow of a Doubt (1943) is Hitchcock’s attempt to scare the pants off… Continue reading Teresa Wright: Film Noir Superhero

Comedy · Thriller

How to Survive Shipwreck with a Murderer and a Stupid Detective

If there’s anything the movies have taught us, it’s this: Whenever you go on a boat, always wear your best gown and pearls – and bring your fur coat, if you have one. The movies tell us how exciting ships are. A person is forever running into millionaires or Royalty In Disguise. If you’re really lucky,… Continue reading How to Survive Shipwreck with a Murderer and a Stupid Detective


How to Tell if Your Prisoner is Too Smart for You

Dear Movie Villains: Becoming an Evil Villain is largely a matter of trial and error. As far we know, there is no correspondence course to guide you in becoming a dastardly mastermind. With that in mind, we hope you’ll take some well-meaning advice from the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, The 39 Steps (1935). If there’s one take-away from this movie, it’s… Continue reading How to Tell if Your Prisoner is Too Smart for You

Mystery · Thriller

Alfred Hitchcock’s 3D Murder

We had an almost pure classic movie experience recently. Well, perhaps not us, exactly, but the woman sitting beside us in the theatre, at the screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder. It was, we might add, SHOWN IN 3D. Whee! (Note: If you haven’t seen Dial M for Murder, even in 2D, you really ought to ASAP. You… Continue reading Alfred Hitchcock’s 3D Murder

Mystery · Thriller

On Precise Correspondence when Spying

We believe modern Hollywood has been untruthful in its portrayal of the Spy Business. For example, modern spies never have trouble finding a parking spot. Furthermore, they never pay for parking. Not that we’re annoyed. The biggest Hollywood misconception, as far as we’re concerned, has to do with paperwork – correspondence paperwork in particular. Everyone in the developed… Continue reading On Precise Correspondence when Spying