Monday, 30 November 2009


My obituary of the director Paul Wendkos is in today's Independent; you can link to it here. I liked The Mephisto Waltz quite a bit when it came out, but it was my later discovery of The Burglar, a small gem which is arguably the greatest of all David Goodis adaptations (and features a part for John Fasenda, later to be the stentorian voice of NFL Films) and is a feverishly atmospheric film where Dan Duryea, despite being too old for the role, catches perfectly the doomed frustrations of Goodis' world. It's a small classic, and provides a rare substantial part for Martha Vickers, who contrasts brilliantly with Jayne Mansfield; you can almost sense her 'been there, done that' feeling. Wendkos really only came close to repeating such atmosphere with The Brothers Rico, but the made for TV format wasn't geared to those kinds of moodyness.

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