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1926  1929  

1930  1931  1932  1933  1934  1935  1936  1937  1938  1939

 

1926 

            Snarl of the Beast by John Carroll Daly

 

1929   

     

           Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

One of Hammett's masterpieces, this is the most vivid and realistic picture of gang war ever written--and one of the most exciting of all suspense novels.redharvest.jpg (42174 bytes)

From the Back Cover
"Dashiell Hammett is an original. He is a master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer." -- Boston Globe

When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty -- even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain.

"Hammett's prose [is] clean and entirely unique. His characters [are] as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction."-- The New York Times

                Red Harvest (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)

                Red Harvest (Audio CD)

                Red Harvest (Audio Cassette)

Dufris's boldly interpretive performance in this Hammett classic is breathtaking. He all but disappears into Hammett's rich cavalcade of characters. Man, woman, cynic, lunatic, naif, scoundrel, each personality is utterly realized, full-blooded and idiosyncratic. With expert pacing and emphasis, Dufris also manages to convey their shifts of emotion. His reading becomes every bit as engrossing as the written words themselves. The novel follows the investigations of an audacious, but never named, detective as he sifts through the violence and corruption of a flinty mining town. The novel is peopled with fascinating figures brought vividly to life by a most imaginative reader. M.O. Winner of AUDIOFILE's Earphones Award. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

   

The Dain Curse by Dashiell Hammett

Everything about the Leggett diamond heist indicated to the Continental Op that it was an inside job. From the stray diamond found in the yard to the eyewitness accounts of a "strange man" casing the house, everything was just too pat. Gabrielle Dain-Leggett has enough secrets to fill a closet, and when she disappears shortly after the robbery, she becomes the Op's prime suspect. But her father, Edgar Leggett, keeps some strange company himself and has a dark side the moon would envy. Before he can solve the riddle of the diamond theft, the Continental Op must first solve the mystery of this strange family.

Book Description
One of the Continental Op's most bizarre cases, as he is faced with Miss Gabrielle Dain Leggett, who has an unfortunate effect on the people around her - they have a habit of dying violently.

Ingram
This story of wild and crazy Gabrielle Leggett moves from robbery to murder, dope, and a sinister cult in San Francisco. First published in 1928, it is told with all the authenticity of a newspaper report.

 Dain Curse  Buy the hardcover edition from Amazon.com

 The Dain Curse (Vintage Crime)  Buy the paperback edition from Amazon.com

Dufris's boldly interpretive performance of this Hammett classic is breathtaking. He all but disappears into Hammett's rich cavalcade of characters. Man, woman, cynic, lunatic, naif, scoundrel, each personality is utterly realized, full-blooded and idiosyncratic. With expert pacing and emphasis, Dufris also manages to convey their shifts of emotion. His reading becomes every bit as engrossing as the written words themselves. The novel follows the investigations of an audacious, but never named, detective as he seeks to discover why everyone around a peculiar young woman keeps dying. The novel is peopled with fascinating figures brought vividly to life by a most imaginative reader. M.O. Winner of the AUDIOFILE Earphones Award. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the

 The Dain Curse (Isis Series)  Buy the abridged Audio Cassette version from Amazon.com

      

   Little Caesar by W.R. Burnett

 littlecaesar1st.jpg (85642 bytes)

                Little Caesar (Otto Penzler Facsimile Edition)

A facsimile edition of the 1929 novel follows the rise and fall of gangster Rico Cesare Bandello, from his brief tenure as a power in the crime world, to his enforced flight from Chicago, to his violent end.littlecaesar.jpg (100936 bytes)

                Little Caesar (VHS 1930 Film)

Edward G. Robinson had a star-making vehicle in this 1930 film by Mervyn LeRoy (Random Harvest), about a small-time gangster who becomes a top boss in the underworld. As Rico Bandello, Robinson's portrayal is that of a certain kind of American success, when a successful rise to the top somehow throws open the doors on every neurotic element in one's personality and magnifies them. The film is creaky as early sound films were wont to be, but the actor's multidimensional role and ugly charisma keep everything interesting. --Tom Keogh

 

1930    

 

            The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Sam Spade, Dashiell Hammett's archetypally tough San Francisco detective, is more noir than L.A. Confidential and more vulnerable than Raymond Chandler's Marlowe. In The Maltese Falcon, the best known of Hammett's Sam Spade novels (including The Dain Curse and The Glass Key), Spade is tough enough to bluff the toughest thugs and hold off the police, risking his reputation when a beautiful woman begs for his help, while knowing that betrayal may deal him a new hand in the next moment.

Spade's partner is murdered on a stakeout; the cops blame him for the killing; a beautiful redhead with a heartbreaking story appears and disappears; grotesque villains demand a payoff he can't provide; and everyone wants a fabulously valuable gold statuette of a falcon, created as tribute for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Who has it? And what will it take to get it back? Spade's solution is as complicated as the motives of the seekers assembled in his hotel room, but the truth can be a cold comfort indeed.maltese.jpg (25279 bytes)

Spade is bigger (and blonder) in the book than in the movie, and his Mephistophelean countenance is by turns seductive and volcanic. Sam knows how to fight, whom to call, how to rifle drawers and secrets without leaving a trace, and just the right way to call a woman "Angel" and convince her that she is. He is the quintessence of intelligent cool, with a wise guy's perfect pitch. If you only know the movie, read the book. If you're riveted by Chinatown or wonder where Robert B. Parker's Spenser gets his comebacks, read the master. --Barbara Schlieper

Book Description
Sam Spade, a slightly shop-worn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics, stars in Hammett's detective fiction, a novel that has haunted 2 generations of readers.

The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Mystery novel by Dashiell Hammett, generally considered his finest work. It originally appeared as a serial in Black Mask magazine in 1929 and was published in book form the next year. The novel's sustained tension is created by vivid scenes and by the pace and spareness of the author's style. The other major attraction of The Maltese Falcon is its colorful cast of characters; they include the antiheroic detective Sam SPADE; Brigid O'Shaughnessy, a deceptive beauty; Joel Cairo, an effete Levantine whose gun gives him courage; the very fat and jovial but sinister Casper Gutman; and Gutman's "gunsel" Wilmer, eager to be feared. All of them are looking for the Maltese falcon, a fabulously valuable 16th-century artifact. --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

Ingram
First published in 1930, The Maltese Falcon stands today as one of the classics of both suspense literature and American writing.

From the Back Cover
"Dashiell Hammett. . . is a master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer." --The Boston Globe

"The Maltese Falcon is not only probably the best detective story we have ever read, it is an exceedingly well written novel."--The Times Literary Supplement (London)

"Hammett's prose [is] clean and entirely unique. His characters [are] as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction."--The New York Times

 

                The Maltese Falcon (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)

                Maltese Falcon (Hardcover edition)

                Maltese Falcon (Audio cassette)

                The Maltese Falcon (Audio CD)

Perhaps better known as a movie than a book, The Maltese Falcon set a standard for tough-guy detective whodunits. This presentation is more radio dramatization than audiobook reading. The stage is set by the soulful tones of a tenor sax lyrically painting a mournful picture of fog-bound San Francisco, steeped in death and deceit. Reader William Dufris is a one-man band, covering the entire cast of diverse characters with unbelievable ease. His shifts from tough Sam Spade to the damsel in distress to any of a host of bad guys is just short of amazing. Some may find his presentation of the leading lady close to overacting, and he does stretch to find unique voices for the minor players, but, overall, this is a top notch presentation. T.J.M. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

                The Maltese Falcon (1941 Film DVD)

                The Maltese Falcon (1941 Film VHS)     

Still the tightest, sharpest, and most cynical of Hollywood's official deathless classics, bracingly tough even by post-Tarantino standards. Humphrey Bogart is Dashiell Hammett's definitive private eye, Sam Spade, struggling to keep his hard-boiled cool as the double-crosses pile up around his ankles. The plot, which dances all around the stolen Middle Eastern statuette of the title, is too baroque to try to follow, and it doesn't make a bit of difference. The dialogue, much of it lifted straight from Hammett, is delivered with whip-crack speed and sneering ferocity, as Bogie faces off against Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet, fends off the duplicitous advances of Mary Astor, and roughs up a cringing "gunsel" played by Elisha Cook Jr. It's an action movie of sorts, at least by implication: the characters always seem keyed up, right on the verge of erupting into violence. This is a turning-point picture in several respects: John Huston (The African Queen) made his directorial debut here in 1941, and Bogart, who had mostly played bad guys, was a last-minute substitution for George Raft, who must have been kicking himself for years afterward. This is the role that made Bogart a star and established his trend-setting (and still influential) antihero persona. --David Chute --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.            

        

            Green Ice by Raoul Whitfield

 

1931    

sanctuary.jpg (33129 bytes)  glasskey.jpg (10951 bytes)  glasskey45.jpg (47094 bytes)

            Sanctuary by William Faulkner

                Sanctuary : The Corrected Text

            The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett

Ingram
Of Hammett's sixth book, published in 1931, The New York Times wrote "the developing relationships among the characters are as exciting as the unfolding story."

From the Back Cover
"Hammett's prose was clean and entirely unique. His characters were as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction. His gift of invention never tempted him beyond the limits of credibility."

-- The New York Times

                The Glass Key (Vintage Crime)

                The Glass Key (Audio cassette)

                The Glass Key (Audio CD)

Sophisticated urbanites move through a tangled gray area between the law and the underworld. Even when one loses track of the plot, the characters remain engaging. William Dufris is almost startling. He doesn't sound like one reader giving each character a distinctive vocal signature. He sounds like a lot of different people. The casual listener might mistake this for an ensemble recording with a cast that includes women. Dufris also handles narrative passages with unusual liveliness. J.N. An AUDIOFILE Earphones Award winner. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

                The Glass Key (1942 Film VHS)

             Death in a Bowl by Raoul Whitfield

 

1932    

 

             Fast One by Paul Cain

            The Virgin Kills by Raoul Whitfield

 

1933   

lonelyhearts.jpg (23417 bytes)            

            Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West

Book Description
"Somehow or other I seem to have slipped in between all the 'schools,' " observed Nathanael West the year before his untimely death in 1940. "My books meet no needs except my own, their circulation is practically private and I'm lucky to be published." Yet today, West is widely recognized as a prophetic writer whose dark and comic vision of
a society obsessed with mass-
produced fantasies foretold much
of what was to come in American life.
Miss Lonelyhearts (1933), which West envisioned as "a novel in the form of a comic strip," tells of an advice-to-the-lovelorn columnist who becomes tragically embroiled in the desperate lives of his readers. The Day of the Locust (1939) is West's great dystopian Hollywood novel based on his experiences at the seedy fringes of the movie industry.
"The work of Nathanael West, savagely, comically, tragically original, has come into its own," said novelist and screenwriter Budd Schulberg. "A new public [has] discovered in the writings of West a brilliant reflection of its own sense of chaos and helplessness in a world running more to madness than to reason." --This text refers to the
Hardcover edition.

Ingram
These two dark stories--the most notable works of the short career of Nathanael West--remain stunningly powerful pieces of fiction. MISS LONELYHEARTS (1933) is the story of an advice columnist who becomes embroiled in the desperate lives of his correspondents. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (1939) centers around a Hollywood scene designer and the characters he encounters at the fringes of the movie industry. --This text refers to the
Hardcover edition.

 

                Miss Lonelyhearts & the Day of the Locust

 

1934   

       

            The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

Penzler Pick, April 2000: It is sometimes easy to trace a literary genre to its source, and James M. Cain's first novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, is the noir novel that paved the way for all the noir fiction that followed. The famous film starring Lana Turner and John Garfield is notoriously dark, but the novel is even more full of despair and devoid of hope. It is a short book--little more than a novella--but its searing characterization and depiction of tawdry greed and lust is branded into every reader's memory.

Frank Chambers, a drifter, is dropped from the back of a truck at a rundown rural diner. When he spots Cora, the owner's wife, he instantly decides to stay. The sexy young woman, married to Nick, a violent and thuggish boor, is equally attracted to the younger man and sees him as her way out of her hopeless, boring life. They begin a clandestine affair and plot to kill Nick, beginning their own journey toward destruction.postman.jpg (38671 bytes)

Horace McCoy, David Goodis, Jim Thompson, and the other notable noir writers never achieved Cain's spare brilliance. Virtually all of his major works have been filmed, though several Hollywood studios refused to make the films, directors refused to be involved, and actors turned down roles because of their repugnance at the lack of morality inherent in all Cain's characters. Reading him may not be fit for a Sunday school class, but once you begin you will be unable to resist continuing, like picking at a painful scab or watching a tarantula inside a glass dome. --Otto Penzler

Book Description
Cain's first novel, banned in Boston, was an instant sensation and established him as a master of the mystery/suspense genre. --This text refers to the
Paperback edition.

Ingram
A classic of "hard-boiled" fiction, this edition of the story of a young drifter who has an affair with a married woman and plots with her to murder her husband is a facsimile reprint of the first edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover
"A good, swift, violent story." --Dashiell Hammett

"A poet of the tabloid murder." --Edmund Wilson --This text refers to the
Paperback edition.

                The Postman Always Rings Twice (Otto Penzler Facsimile Edition)

                The Postman Always Rings Twice (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)

                The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946 Film VHS)

                The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981 Film DVD)

                The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981 Film VHS)

Even under the heavy censorship of 1946 Hollywood, Lana Turner and John Garfield's libidinous desires burn up the screen in Tay Garnett's adaptation of James M. Cain's torrid crime melodrama. Platinum blond Turner is Cora, a restless sexpot stuck in a roadside diner married to mundane middle-aged fry cook Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway) when handsome drifter Frank (Garfield) blows her way. It's lust at first sight, a rapacious desire that neither can break off, and before long they're plotting his demise--but in the wicked world of Cain nothing is that easy. Garnett's visual approach is subdued compared to the more expressionistic film noir of the period, but he's at no loss when he films the luminous Turner in her milky-white wardrobe. She radiates repressed sexuality and uncontrollable passion while Garfield's smart-talking loner Frank mixes street-smart swagger and scrappy toughness with vulnerability and sincere intensity. Costar Hume Cronyn cuts a cold, calculating figure as their conniving lawyer, a chilly character that only increases our feelings for the murderous couple, victims of an all consuming amour fou that drives their passions to extremes. --Sean Axmaker

            The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett's classic tale of murder in Manhattan, became the popular movie series with William Powell and Myrna Loy, and both the movies and the novel continue to captivate new generations of fans.

Nick and Nora Charles, accompanied by their schnauzer, Asta, are lounging in their suite at the Normandie in New York City for the Christmas holiday, enjoying the prerogatives of wealth: meals delivered at any hour, theater openings, taxi rides at dawn, rubbing elbows with the gangster element in speakeasies. They should be annoyingly affected, but they charm. Mad about each other, sardonic, observant, kind to those in need, and cool in a fight, Nick and Nora are graceful together, and their home life provides a sanctuary from the rough world of gangsters, hoodlums, and police investigations into which Nick is immediately plunged.

A lawyer-friend asks Nick to help find a killer and reintroduces him to the family of Richard Wynant, a more-than-eccentric inventor who disappeared from society 10 years before. His former wife, the lush and manipulative Mimi, has remarried a European fortune hunter who turns out to be a vindictive former associate of her first husband and is bent on the ruin of Wynant's family fortune. Wynant's children, Dorothy and Gilbert, seem to have inherited the family aversion to straight talk. thinman.jpg (40487 bytes) Dorothy, who has matured into a beautiful young woman, has a crush on Nick, and so, in a hero-worshipping way, does mama's boy Gilbert. Nick and Nora respond kindly to their neediness as Nick tries to make sense of misinformation, false identities, far-fetched alibis, and, at the center of the confusion, the mystery of The Thin Man, Richard Wynant. Is he mad? Is he a killer? Or is he really an eccentric inventor protecting his discovery from intellectual theft?

The dialogue is spare, the locales lively, and Nick, the narrator, shows us the players as they are, while giving away little of his own thoughts. No one is telling the whole truth, but Nick remains mostly patient as he doggedly tries to backtrack the lies. Hammett's New York is a cross between Damon Runyon and Scott Fitzgerald--more glamorous than real, but compelling when visited in the company of these two charmers. The lives of the rich and famous don't get any better than this! --Barbara Schlieper

Book Description
Nick and Nora Charles are Hammett's most enchanting creations, a rich, glamorous couple who solve crimes in between wisecracks and martinis.

Ingram
Originally published in 1933, The Thin Man is the story of respectable people who are prepared to murder between drinks--and do.

The Thin Man (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)

 The Thin Man (Otto Penzler Facsimile Edition)

  The Thin Man (1934 Film VHS)  

The intoxicating chemistry and repartee between the oft-teamed William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles--America's favorite soused detectives--is fully 100-proof in the marvelously witty Thin Man movies. You simply won't find more delightful movie company than Nick and Nora. The title, of course, refers not to Nicky the dick, but to the mysteriously missing scientist he and his lovely partner set out to find. Powell and Loy deliver their sparkling dialog with giddy enthusiasm (and occasionally slurred speech) in this rapid-fire, three-martini suspense comedy directed by famously speedy W.S. Van Dyke and adapted from the novel by Dashiell Hammett. The success of The Thin Man spawned a litter of sequels, including After the Thin Man (featuring a young James Stewart), Another Thin Man (in which a baby is added to the Charles family), Shadow of the Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home, and Song of the Thin Man. --Jim Emerson --This text refers to the VHS edition.

The Thin Man Series  Click here to buy videos from The Thin Man Series at Amazon.com

            Appointment in Samarra  by John O'Harasamarra.jpg (22827 bytes)

                Appointment in Samarra (Random House)

 

1935   

hearse.jpg (45516 bytes)        butterfield8.jpg (38306 bytes)  

            They Shoot Horses, Don't They by Horace McCoy

                They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Serpents Tail)

                They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969 Film DVD)

                They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969 Film VHS)

In the dark years of the l930s, dance marathons became popular as a way for desperate people to compete for prize money. Sometimes the events would drag on for weeks as contestants pushed themselves shoothorses.jpg (40960 bytes) far beyond the point of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, the dancers shambling around the floor in a half-dead stupor. People would then pay to sit in the bleachers, watch the event, and cheer on their favorites. They Shoot Horses is taken from hard-boiled pulp writer Horace McCoy's novel of the same name; Jane Fonda plays a bitter young woman paired up with Michael Sarrazin for the ordeal. Gig Young portrays the unctuous MC of the event, bringing equal parts compassion and sleaze to his role. Many of the film's images are unforgettable, such as "the derby," a heel-and-toe race around the dance floor with bouncy, lighthearted music to accompany the miserable spectacle. It's a powerful, tragic period piece that reminds us of the privations of the Great Depression. In the largest sense, the film has existential overtones that go far beyond the story of enervated dancers staying on their feet for a month or more. This film brought home a string of Academy Award nominations for the cast and director Sydney Pollack and a win for Young. --Jerry Renshaw --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

            Murder in the Madhouse, Headed for a Hearse by Jonathan Latimer

                Murder in the Madhouse (Library of Crime Classics)

                Headed for a Hearse (Library of Crime Classics)

            Butterfield 8 by John O'Hara

 

1936   

doubleindemnity.jpg (45759 bytes)    thisgunforhire.jpg (48769 bytes)

            Double Indemnity by James M. Cain

When smalltime insurance salesman Walter Huff meets seductive Phyllis Nirdlinger, the wife of one of his wealthy clients, it takes him only minutes to determine that she wants to get rid of her husband--and not much longer to decide to help her do it. Walter knows that accident insurance pays double indemnity on railroad mishaps, so he and Phyllis plot frantically to get Nirdlinger on--and off--a train without arousing the suspicions of the police, the insurance company, Nirdlinger's dishy daughter, her mysterious boyfriend, or Nirdlinger himself. This brief but complex novel is a perfect example of the ordinary-guy-gone-disastrously-wrong story that Cain always pulls off brilliantly.

Book Description
A riveting classic of American crime fiction.

                Double Indemnity (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)

                Double Indemnity: The Complete Screenplay

                Double Indemnity (Bfi Film Classics)

            The Lady in the Morgue by Jonathan Latimer

                Lady in the Morgue (International Polygonics)

            A Gun for Sale also released as This Gun for Hire by Graham Greene

 

1937    

serenade.jpg (49428 bytes)  micemen.jpg (48698 bytes)

             Serenade--by James M. Cain

                Serenade (1956 Film VHS)

            To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway

First things first: readers coming to To Have and Have Not after seeing the Bogart/Bacall film should be forewarned that about the only thing the two have in common is the title. The movie concerns a brave fishing-boat captain in World War II-era Martinique who aids the French Resistance, battles the Nazis, and gets the girl in the end. The novel concerns a broke fishing-boat captain who agrees to carry contraband between Cuba and Florida in order to feed his wife and daughters. Of the two, the novel is by far the darker, more complex work.

The first time we meet Harry Morgan, he is sitting in a Havana bar watching a gun battle raging out in the street. After seeing a Cuban get his head blown off with a Luger, Morgan reacts with typical Hemingway understatement: "I took a quick one out of the first bottle I saw open and I couldn't tell you yet what it was. The whole thing made me feel pretty bad." Still feeling bad, Harry heads out in his boat on a charter fishing expedition for which he is later stiffed by the client. With not even enough money to fill his gas tanks, he is forced to agree to smuggle some illegal Chinese for the mysterious Mr. Sing. From there it's just a small step to carrying liquor--a disastrous run that ends when Harry loses an arm and his boat. Once Harry gets mixed up in the brewing Cuban revolution, however, even those losses seem small compared to what's at stake now: his very life.

Hemingway tells most of this story in the third person, but, significantly, he brackets the whole with a section at the beginning told from Harry's perspective and a short, heart-wrenching chapter at the end narrated by his wife, Marie. In between there is adventure, danger, betrayal, and death, but this novel begins and ends with the tough and tender portrait of a man who plays the cards that are dealt him with courage and dignity, long after hope is gone. --Alix Wilber

Book Description
Hemingway's Classic Novel About Smuggling, Intrigue, and Love

To Have and Have Not is the dramatic story of Harry Morgan, an honest man who is forced into running contraband between Cuba and Key West as a means of keeping his crumbling family financially afloat. His adventures lead him into the world of the wealthy and dissipated yachtsmen who throng the region, and involve him in a strange and unlikely love affair.

Harshly realistic, yet with one of the most subtle and moving relationships in the Hemingway oeuvre, To Have and Have Not is literary high adventure at its finest.

The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Minor novel by Ernest Hemingway, published in 1937. Set in and near Key West, Florida, the novel is about a cynical boat owner whose concern for his rum-soaked sidekick and love for a reckless woman lead him to risk everything to aid gunrunners in a noble cause. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

                To Have and Have Not (Scribner Paperback)

                To Have and Have Not (Scribner Hardcover)

                To Have And Have Not (Audio Cassette)

                To Have and Have Not (1945 Film VHS)

Yes, it's true: you can virtually see Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall falling for each other in this Howard Hawks variation on Casablanca but adapted from--as legend has it--Ernest Hemingway's self-declared "worst novel." (The story goes that Hawks told Hemingway he could make a movie of the author's least work, and Hemingway gave him the rights to this story.) The script by William Faulkner and Jules Furthman actually makes this one of Hawks's and Bogart's most interesting and often exciting films. Bogart plays a boat captain who reluctantly agrees to help the French Resistance while wooing chanteuse Bacall. Hoagy Carmichael, wry at the piano, adds a delicious accent to an already wonderful mood. --Tom Keogh

            No Pockets in a Shroud by Horace McCoy

                No Pockets in a Shroud (Mask Noir Title)

From Kirkus Reviews
The often underrated Horace McCoy, whose classic ``hard-boiled'' fiction includes Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye and They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, came a cropper with this hyperbolic and preachy 1937 novel about a tough-guy crusading journalist. In a rapidly paced succession of intense confrontational scenes, McCoy records the adventures of Mike Dolan, a newspaperman who quits his job when his editor kills Dolan's story about a baseball bribery scandal. Managing (rather unbelievably) to publish his own magazine (Cosmopolite), Dolan goes after a murderous abortionist and a KKK-like racist group, loses the highborn girl he loves, marries a senator's daughter on the rebound, and meets his predictable fate in a predictably dark alley. Dolan's righteous fury is intensely communicated, but he's an unconvincing paragon of liberal energies, and the novel is a clich-ridden endorsement of his stagy macho morality. Probably the talented McCoy's worst book. -- Copyright 1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Ingram
The city of Colton is corrupt to its very foundations. Surrounded by lies, Mike Dolan wants to print the truth. He quits his job on THE TIMES-GAZETTE and founds COSMOPOLITE with borrowed money. In his unsparing zeal to expose the city's criminals, he risks sudden death with each issue. Author Horace McCoy (1897-1955) was considered one of the great 20th-century American writers.

 

            Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Book Description
MAXnotes offer a fresh look at masterpieces of literature, presented in a lively and interesting fashion. Written by literary experts who currently teach the subject, MAXnotes will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the work. MAXnotes are designed to stimulate independ ent thought about the literary work by raising various issues and thought-provoking ideas and questions. MAXnotes cover the essentials of what one should know about each work, including an overall summary, character lists, an explanation and discussion of the plot, the work's historical context, illustrations to convey the mood of the work, and a biography of the author. Each chapter is individually summarized and analyzed, and has study questions and answers. --This text refers to the
Paperback edition.

The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Novella by John Steinbeck, published in 1937. The tragic story, given poignancy by its objective narrative, is about the complex bond between two migrant laborers. The book, which was adapted by Steinbeck into a three-act play (produced 1937), earned him national renown. The plot centers on George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is large and simpleminded, calming him and helping to rein in his immense physical strength. When Lennie accidentally kills the ranch owner's flirtatious daughter-in-law, George shoots his friend rather than allow him to be captured by a vengeful lynch mob.

Ingram
Tragic tale of a retarded man and the friend who loves and tries to protect him. With illustrations from the movie starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise.

                Of Mice and Men (Penguin)

Truly one of the unsung triumphs of 1939, this heartfelt adaptation of John Steinbeck's morality tale of two itinerant migrant workers seems just as fresh and powerful decades after its release. Lon Chaney Jr. gives the performance of a lifetime as the sweet yet feeble-minded Lennie, who is befriended by the weary Burgess Meredith. They both would be lost without each other in a rather mixed-up world. Sensitively directed by Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western Front), the film features the first pre-credit sequence in American film history. There's also a nice score by Aaron Copland. --Bill Desowitz

Description
John Steinbeck's classic novel brought to the silver screen. Set in the bucolic Salinas Valley of California in the 1930's, "Of Mice and Men" paints a bold, vivid picture of life in the depression era and tells the tragic tale of George (Burgess Meredith) and Lenny (Lon Chaney, Jr.), two itinerant farm hands searching for a safe haven from the cruelties of the world. Nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award in 1939, "Of Mice and Men" features a moving Oscar-nominated score from legendary composer Aaron Copland.

 

                Of Mice and Men (1939 Film DVD)

                Of Mice and Men (1939 Film VHS)

                Of Mice and Men (1992 Film VHS)

 

 

1938   

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            Should Have Stayed Home by Horace McCoy

                I Should Have Stayed Home (Serpents Tail)

            Career in C Major by James M. Cain

            The Dead Don't Care by Jonathan Latimer

            You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up by Richard Hallas

            No Orchids for Miss Blandish by James Hadley Chase

            Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

                Brighton Rock (Twentieth Century Classics)

                Brighton Rock (Everyman's Library Series)

 

1939    

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            The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

"His thin, claw-like hands were folded loosely on the rug, purple-nailed. A few locks of dry white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock." Published in 1939, when Raymond Chandler was 50, this is the first of the Philip Marlowe novels. Its bursts of sex, violence, and explosively direct prose changed detective fiction forever. "She was trouble. She was tall and rangy and strong-looking. Her hair was black and wiry and parted in the middle. She had a good mouth and a good chin. There was a sulky droop to her lips and the lower lip was full."

From AudioFile
Elliot Gould's voice is perfect for hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe--clear and resonant with pauses to heighten the suspense. Called in to deal with a blackmailer, Marlowe follows a trail littered with murder and deception. The story evokes the essence of Southern California in the 30's, and the reading adds to the deadly but romantic image of the strange Sternwood family. This presentation will revive Chandler's popularity as listeners demand more. S.C.A. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Book Description
Chandler's first novel introduces us to Philip Marlowe, a 38 year old private detective moving through the steamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s.

Ingram
Chandler's first novel, published in 1939, introduces Philip Marlowe, a 38-year-old P.I. moving through the seamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s. This classic case involves a paralyzed California millionaire, his two psychotic daughters, blackmail, and murder.

                The Big Sleep (Vintage Books)

                The Big Sleep & Farewell My Lovely (Modern Library)

                The Big Sleep (Otto Penzler Facsimile Edition)

                The Big Sleep (Bfi Film Classics)

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall made screen history together more than once, but they were never more popular than in this 1946 adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel, directed by Howard Hawks (To Have and Have Not). Bogart plays private eye Philip Marlowe, who is hired by a wealthy socialite (Bacall) to look into troubles stirred up by her wild, young sister (Martha Vickers). Legendarily complicated (so much so that even Chandler had trouble following the plot), the film is nonetheless hugely entertaining and atmospheric, an electrifying plunge into the exotica of detective fiction. William Faulkner wrote the screenplay. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

                The Big Sleep (1946 Film DVD)

Description
Robert Mitchum is back as the legendary private investigator, Philip Marlowe. This adaptation of Raymond Chandler's classic hard-boiled detective mystery features an all-star cast, including: Richard Boone, Joan Collins, Sir John Mills, James Stewart, and Oliver Reed. Marlowe is hired by a retired general (James Stewart) to find out who has been blackmailing the old man's wild daughters (Sarah Miles and Candy Clark). At the same time he has to try to locate the missing husband of one of the daughters. Marlowe's search leads through a dangerous thicket of murder and suicide in the seedy criminal underworld straight to the head quarters of the notorious nightclub owner and gangland boss, Eddie Mars (Oliver Reed). Expert story teller Raymond Chandler spins a masterful web of deceit, creating an intricate, spellbinding mystery full of bare-knuckle action and heart-pounding suspense.

From the Back Cover
Robert Mitchum is back as the legendary private investigator, Phillip Marlowe. This adaptation of Raymond Chandler's classic hard-boiled detective mystery features an all-star cast, including: Richard Boone, Joan Collins, Sir John Mills, James Stewart and Oliver Reed.

Marlowe is hired by a retired general (JAMES STEWART) to find out who has been blackmailing the old man's wild daughters (SARAH MILES and CANDY CLARK). At the same time he has to try to locate the missing husband of one of the daughters. Marlowe's search leads through a dangerous thicket of murder and suicide in the seedy criminal underworld straight to the headquarters of the notorious nightclub owner and gangland boss, Eddie Mars (OLIVER REED). Expert storyteller Raymond Chandler spins a masterful web of deceit, creating an intricate, spellbinding mystery full of bare-knuckle action and heart-pounding suspense.

 

                The Big Sleep (1978 Film DVD)

                The Big Sleep (1946 Film VHS)

                The Big Sleep (1978 Film VHS)

            The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

Book Description
"Somehow or other I seem to have slipped in between all the 'schools,' " observed Nathanael West the year before his untimely death in 1940. "My books meet no needs except my own, their circulation is practically private and I'm lucky to be published." Yet today, West is widely recognized as a prophetic writer whose dark and comic vision of
a society obsessed with mass-
produced fantasies foretold much
of what was to come in American life.
Miss Lonelyhearts (1933), which West envisioned as "a novel in the form of a comic strip," tells of an advice-to-the-lovelorn columnist who becomes tragically embroiled in the desperate lives of his readers. The Day of the Locust (1939) is West's great dystopian Hollywood novel based on his experiences at the seedy fringes of the movie industry.
"The work of Nathanael West, savagely, comically, tragically original, has come into its own," said novelist and screenwriter Budd Schulberg. "A new public [has] discovered in the writings of West a brilliant reflection of its own sense of chaos and helplessness in a world running more to madness than to reason." --This text refers to the
Hardcover edition.

Ingram
These two dark stories--the most notable works of the short career of Nathanael West--remain stunningly powerful pieces of fiction. MISS LONELYHEARTS (1933) is the story of an advice columnist who becomes embroiled in the desperate lives of his correspondents. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (1939) centers around a Hollywood scene designer and the characters he encounters at the fringes of the movie industry. --This text refers to the
Hardcover edition.

                Miss Lonelyhearts & the Day of the Locust (Norton) 

                The Day of the Locust (Signet Classic)      

               The Day of the Locust (Amereon Ltd.)  

               The Day of the Locust (Audio Cassette)

               The Day of the Locust (Buccaneer)  

               Nathanael West : Novels and Other.Writings (American Library)    

               The Day of the Locust (1975 Film VHS)                          

            Red Gardenias by Jonathan Latimer

                Red Gardenias (The Library of Crime Classics)

            Retreat From Oblivion by David Goodis

            Confidential Agent by Graham Greene

                The Confidential Agent (Viking)

            Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household

`                Rogue Male (1976 Film VHS)

           The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

When The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939, America, still recovering from the Great Depression, came face to face with itself in a startling, lyrical way. John Steinbeck gathered the country's recent shames and devastations--the Hoovervilles, the desperate, dirty children, the dissolution of kin, the oppressive labor conditions--in the Joad family. Then he set them down on a westward-running road, local dialect and all, for the world to acknowledge. For this marvel of observation and perception, he won the Pulitzer in 1940.

The prize must have come, at least in part, because alongside the poverty and dispossession, Steinbeck chronicled the Joads' refusal, even inability, to let go of their faltering but unmistakable hold on human dignity. Witnessing their degeneration from Oklahoma farmers to a diminished band of migrant workers is nothing short of crushing. The Joads lose family members to death and cowardice as they go, and are challenged by everything from weather to the authorities to the California locals themselves. As Tom Joad puts it: "They're a-workin' away at our spirits. They're a tryin' to make us cringe an' crawl like a whipped bitch. They tryin' to break us. Why, Jesus Christ, Ma, they comes a time when the on'y way a fella can keep his decency is by takin' a sock at a cop. They're workin' on our decency."

The point, though, is that decency remains intact, if somewhat battle-scarred, and this, as much as the depression and the plight of the "Okies," is a part of American history. When the California of their dreams proves to be less than edenic, Ma tells Tom: "You got to have patience. Why, Tom--us people will go on livin' when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people--we go on." It's almost as if she's talking about the very novel she inhabits, for Steinbeck's characters, more than most literary creations, do go on. They continue, now as much as ever, to illuminate and humanize an era for generations of readers who, thankfully, have no experiential point of reference for understanding the depression. The book's final, haunting image of Rose of Sharon--Rosasharn, as they call her--the eldest Joad daughter, forcing the milk intended for her stillborn baby onto a starving stranger, is a lesson on the grandest scale. "'You got to,'" she says, simply. And so do we all. --Melanie Rehak --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The New York Times Book Review,
Steinbeck has written a novel from the depths of his heart with a sincerity seldom equaled. --This text refers to the
Paperback edition.

From AudioFile
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in l940, this famous protest novel is a natural for audio. The story is told almost entirely in the country vernacular of the destitute workers of the 1930's--some 300,000 strong--who had been driven from their farms and were pouring into California to face hunger, squalor and humiliation. (An inept narrator, reading their dialogue, could easily have made them sound like the Beverly Hillbillies.) Instead, Dylan Baker's sensitive interpretation has given them the dignity--even the nobility--that Steinbeck intended. He has also avoided another serious pitfall: overdramatizing some of Steinbeck's speeches in the last half of the book, avoiding what the Joads called "a preacher voice." The listener is hardly aware of occasional lapses into sentimental prose as Steinbeck delivers his many impassioned sermons against the selfishness and greed of the rich. Altogether, this is an outstanding performance; John Steinbeck would have relished it. J.C. An AUDIOFILE Earphones Award Winner. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Book Description
MAXnotes offer a fresh look at masterpieces of literature, presented in a lively and interesting fashion. Written by literary experts who currently teach the subject, MAXnotes will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the work. MAXnotes are designed to stimulate independ ent thought about the literary work by raising various issues and thought-provoking ideas and questions. MAXnotes cover the essentials of what one should know about each work, including an overall summary, character lists, an explanation and discussion of the plot, the work's historical context, illustrations to convey the mood of the work, and a biography of the author. Each chapter is individually summarized and analyzed, and has study questions and answers. --This text refers to the
Paperback edition.

The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Novel by John Steinbeck, published in 1939. Set during the Great Depression, it traces the migration of an Oklahoma Dust Bowl family to California and their subsequent hardships as migrant farm workers. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 1940. The work did much to publicize the injustices of migrant labor. The narrative, interrupted by prose-poem interludes, chronicles the struggles of the Joad family's life on a failing Oklahoma farm, their difficult journey to California, and their disillusionment once they arrive there and fall prey to a parasitic economic system. The insularity of the Joads--Ma's obsession with family togetherness, son Tom's self-centeredness, and daughter Rose of Sharon's materialism--ultimately gives way to a sense of universal community. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Ingram
Forced from their home, the Joad family is lured to California to find work; instead they find disillusionment, exploitation, and hunger.

                The Grapes of Wrath (20th Century Classics)

                The Grapes of Wrath (Everyman's Library) 

                The Grapes of Wrath (Audio Cassette)

Ranking No. 21 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest American films, this 1940 classic is a bit dated in its noble sentimentality, but it remains a luminous example of Hollywood classicism from the peerless director of mythic Americana, John Ford. Adapted by Nunnally Johnson from John Steinbeck's classic novel, the film tells a simple story about Oklahoma farmers leaving the depression-era dustbowl for the promised land of California, but it's the story's emotional resonance and theme of human perseverance that makes the movie so richly and timelessly rewarding. It's all about the humble Joad family's cross-country trek to escape the economic devastation of their ruined farmland, beginning when Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) returns from a four-year prison term to discover that his family home is empty. He's reunited with his family just as they're setting out for the westbound journey, and thus begins an odyssey of saddening losses and strengthening hopes. As Ma Joad, Oscar-winner Jane Darwell is the embodiment of one of America's greatest social tragedies and the "Okie" spirit of pressing forward against all odds (as she says, "because we're the people"). A documentary-styled production for which Ford and cinematographer Gregg Toland demanded painstaking authenticity, The Grapes of Wrath is much more than a classy, old-fashioned history lesson. With dialogue and scenes that rank among the most moving and memorable ever filmed, it's a classic among classics--simply put, one of the finest films ever made. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

                The Grapes of Wrath (1940 Film DVD)

                The Grapes of Wrath (1940 Film VHS)

  

 

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