Populist Fables: Law and Order and The Beast of the City

By Geoff Mayer. The below is excerpted from Hollywood’s Melodramatic Imagination: Film Noir, the Western and Other Genres from the 1920s to the 1950s (McFarland Publishers) by Geoff Mayer. All rights reserved. While sensational melodrama is structured as a fundamental bipolar clash between moral absolutes, the specific moral, political and […]

Cycles of Regret: Children of Divorce (1927)

By Tony Williams. While Children of Divorce appears to have some superficial resemblances to those DeMille “roaring 20s” catalogs of the foibles and foolishness of the idle rich, its underlying premises are more somber. The home video release of Children of Divorce is the latest collaboration between Flicker Alley and […]

Hybridity Challenging “Un-Filmable”: The Story of Temple Drake (Criterion Collection)

By Tony Williams. This adaptation of William Faulkner’s notorious novel Sanctuary (1931) first appeared as a Paramount production in 1933, a year before the imposition of the notorious Hays Code, which it supposedly jump-started. Its celebrity resembled the later infamy associating Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris (1972) and Pasolini’s Salo […]

From Gangster to Master: the Forgotten Edward G. Robinson

By Matthew Sorrento. I. The Look Robinson’s legion of fans grew after the actor delivered an intense desperation as Rico Bandello in Mervyn LeRoy’s Little Caesar (1931). A hood who embraces a Macbethian drive to kill and consume, Rico soon witnesses the betrayal of his sideman, then ponders his own […]