Gangsters & detectives

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the release of Double Indemnity, a movie many credit with being the first real Film Noir. In honor of that anniversary and the film, a set of articles is planned over at written by Jake Hinkson exploring the genre. Here's a taste of his first entry on Indemnity:

The making of Double Indemnity—particularly the writing of the script—is the stuff of movie legend. Adapted from the novel by James M. Cain, the screenplay was written by director Billy Wilder and novelist Raymond Chandler. This was an impossibly talented duo, though not exactly the match made in heaven that it might have looked like on paper. Chandler was curmudgeonly under the best of circumstances, and he neither approved of Cain’s book (“Everything Cain touches smells like a billygoat”) nor enjoyed working with Wilder (“an agonizing experience”). Perhaps those fat studio paychecks gave him the strength to endure.

The full entry is here.

Film critics and movie buffs can discuss the origins of film noir endlessly -- which movies were the precursors, what was the first, best, worst, etc. One thing that I rarely see, though, are nods to the gangster movies of the 1930s, which to my mind were a big influence, arguably more so than the foreign movies often cited in scholarly discussions.

Here's a scene from Public Enemy (1931), where James Cagney takes in on the chin:

This isn't film noir, but the feel and dialogue could easily fit into the movies a decade later.

Send Russia's LHDs to Japan?

The continuing conflict in Ukraine, to say nothing of the recent downing of the Malaysian airliner, have served to underline just how bad France's decision to sell two amphibious warships to Russia really is.

A story in the Diplomat sums up the situation and gives good background on the vessels:
One of France’s most important but least known naval platforms is the 21,300 ton Mistral-class amphibious assault ship (LHD).  These helicopter carriers have a 69,000 square foot flat top deck with six helicopter landing spots.  Their massive hanger is large enough to hold 16 helicopters, which access the flight deck via heavy lift elevators.  The ships’ size allows them to operate with up to 30 embarked helicopters.  In addition, their vehicle hangers can accommodate 40 main battle tanks, and they provide quarters for up to 500 soldiers or marines.  The troops can be transported to shore by helicopter or by amphibious catamarans housed in the ships’ well dock.  Amphibious operations are controlled from a nearly-10,000 square foot command center fit for 150 officers and staff.  The ships carry a medical facility equivalent to a hospital for a 25,000 inhabitant city with a complex surgery center.


The writer suggests that the U.S. buy the ships, but a far better customer would be Japan. Given local conflicts over disputed islands, North Korea's continued belligerence and China's growth as a regional military power, the carriers would be a good addition to the naval defense force.


Will the pattern repeat itself endlessly?

Hamas provokes and provokes, until finally Israel is forced to take action. Israel responds with restraint and measures unprecedented in the history of warfare, but eventually civilian tolls add up. The media carries stories about Palestinian deaths. Gradually, public pressure builds on Israel.

It's an absurd, cynical, and morally bankrupt strategy employed by Hamas, which uses its the people it's supposed to be protecting as fodder; in the end, it achieves nothing but more misery for Palestinians.

And the most absurd thing of all is that the people of the Gaza Strip voted for Hamas.

Saw Quinn Sullivan a few weeks ago at Saratoga - he keeps getting better and better, and he's already scary good.

Independence Day

I was asked for a few thoughts on July 4th.  Here's an excerpt:

Everyone talks about freedom these days, but I think what a lot of people forget is that freedom is a responsibility more than a right. You have a responsibility to support your neighbors and the community in general. You need a vision of the future, and sometimes to do things that aren’t easy or just fun. Freedom during the revolution meant “volunteering” for the militia, going away from your farm and family for weeks and risking your life. The things most of us do for our country pale by comparison.

The rest of the article is here. Thanks to Elise Cooper and my friends at the American Thinker.