The Cultural Gutter

going through pop culture's trash since 2003

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

The Black Cat at The Projection Booth

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Rob and Mike watch Edgar Ulmer’s The Black Cat (1934) at The Projection Booth. “The first big American studio film — and last big American studio film – directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, The Black Cat is, uh, ‘inspired’ by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story and stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in a taut […]

The Clothes Of Hercule Poirot (And Captain Hastings)

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Gentleman’s Gazette has a piece on the sartorial splendor of Hercule Poirot and of Captain Hastings in the BBC television adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Poirot mysteries.

“Billie Holiday on Swing Street”

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At The Alcohol Professor, The Gutter’s own Keith writes about Billie Holiday in a fantastic two-part piece. Part one traces “the history of Billie Holiday and NYC nightlife through the Harlem Renaissance to Café Society.” Part two covers “Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and the jazz scene in New York City clubs of a bygone era.”

“13 Barrier-Breaking Women of Early Cinema and Old Hollywood”

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Friend of the Gutter, Nitrate Diva writes about 13 women who helped shape cinema. “Hollywood is, in many ways, a more male-dominated environment today than it was 90 or so years ago. Scary, huh? In order to perpetuate a culture where more women make movies now, we need to recognize the women who made movies in […]

“(The Printing of) the Legend of Frances Farmer”

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“When she didn’t get an answer, Frances starting throwing punches.” You Must Remember This podcast looks at the life and legend of actor Frances Farmer.

“Super City: New York and the History of Comic Books”

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The Bowery Boys Podcast dedicates an episode to New York City in the history of comic books. “In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer helped bring about the birth of the comic strip and, a few decades later, the comic book.  Today, comic book superheroes are bigger than ever — […]

“Frank Rudolph Paul’s Life On Other Planets”

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Juxtapoz Magazine has a gallery of Frank Rudolph Paul’s science fiction illustrations, 1936-9.

“Elisabeth Luytens: Horror Queen of Composers”

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At Movie Morlocks, Kimberly Lindbergs writes about composer Elisabeth Luytens on the 106th anniversary of Luytens’ birth. “Much of Lutyens music, particularly later in life, is rather dark, jarring and cinematic. Her background in Theosophy and Eastern mysticism is apparent in the otherworldly atmosphere conjured up by her film scores and is also evident in […]

“Harrowing Books of Varying Reputability”

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At Teleport City, the Gutter’s own Carol writes about 12 books that vary in reputability and their harrowing nature. They include books by Shirley Jackson, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith and Herman Melville.

Interview with John Boorman

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At the Guardian, Xan Brooks interviews John Boorman, director of Point Blank (1967), Deliverance (1972), Zardoz (1974), Excalibur (1981) and the upcoming, Queen & Country. “If he could rewind to 1952 and reprise the entire trip, he cannot imagine exactly what he would change. Boorman frowns. ‘Actually, I can’t even contemplate it. I’m a completely […]

“Kongo (1935): Apocalypse Then”

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There’s a fine piece at Nitrate Diva about the 1935 film, Kongo. “In this monument to morbidity, nearly all the taboos festering at the edges of pre-Code cinema come out and play: blasphemy, drug addiction, prostitution, torture, slavery, bestiality, and (spoiler alert!) incest. The movie positively wallows in depravity. Degradation is its subject, its project, […]

Absolute Beginners ’86

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When Julien Temple’s Absolute Beginners was released in 1986 it was met with general indifference and some critical dismissals. While the film may have some problems, today its reputation seems to be clouded by the misconception that it single-handedly ruined the prestigious British film studio Goldcrest and was universally panned. Neither of these assumptions is […]

RIP, Leonard Nimoy

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Actor, director, writer and artist Leonard Nimoy has died. Nimoy was most famous for playing Spock in Star Trek, but he also appeared in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), In Search Of…, Ancient Mysteries, Columbo, Fringe, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Faerie Tale Theatre, Mission: Impossible, Dragnet and Bonanza.  Nimoy directed Three Men And A […]

Vaudeville on Mars

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In my interpretation of The War of the Worlds, the Martians attack hapless planet Earth not because they need water or are merely imperialistic, but in retaliation for us having sent El Brendel to their planet.Armed with the knowledge of the shtick El Brendel will force upon both his Martian and human viewers, when the 1930 science […]

RIP, Louis Jourdan

Actor Louis Jourdan has died. Jourdan starred in both films and television including, Gigi (1958), Letter From An Unknown Woman (1948), Swamp Thing (1982), Octopussy (1983), Madame Bovary (1949), Julie (1956), Columbo (1978), Paris Precinct (1955) and Dracula (1977). The BBC, The Guardian and The New York Times have obituaries. Here’s a brief interview with […]

RIP, Lizabeth Scott

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Actor Lizabeth Scott has died. Scott appeared in film and film and television including, The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers (1946), Dead Reckoning (1947), I Walk Alone (1948), The Company She Keeps (1951), Loving You (1957) and The Third Man tv series.  The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Guardian have obituaries. […]

“Tetrahedra of Space” and Other Frank R. Paul Covers

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Dangerous Minds has a gallery of Frank R. Paul’s pulp science fiction covers. (via Stephanie Johnson).

Anything Can Happen In Riverdale

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I never expected to be reading Archie comics. Archie Andrews’ irresistible appeal to ladies mystified me and I came late to an appreciation for soap operas and straight melodrama. Then there was residual stuff around romance, a punk rock hostility towards the wholesome squares, a dash of internalized sexism mixed with gender dysphoria and a […]

The Patricia Highsmith Papers

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The Swiss Literary Archives have made their Patricia Highsmith collection available online here. (Thanks, Kate!)

It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past

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I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions. The idea of a chance to reset the clock on things I keep meaning to do more consistently or successfully than I ever seem to manage is appealing, but it seems like a bit of a gimmick to me. It’s never really a clean slate because you […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Friend of the Gutter Todd Stadtman returns to Podcast on Fire to discuss more Taiwan Noir. “The tale of a Chinese protection deity isn’t as dry as it may sound as the story has cinematic colours galore so we’re taking a look at one such literary adaptation from Taiwan: Feng Shen Bang.”

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    Thirteen Covers celebrates Walt Simonson’s birthday with… 13 covers, including Beta Ray Bill, Fin Fang Foom and Frog Thor!

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    Rob and Mike watch Edgar Ulmer’s The Black Cat (1934) at The Projection Booth. “The first big American studio film — and last big American studio film – directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, The Black Cat is, uh, ‘inspired’ by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story and stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in a taut game of life and death.”

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    Gentleman’s Gazette has a piece on the sartorial splendor of Hercule Poirot and of Captain Hastings in the BBC television adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Poirot mysteries.

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    At Pitchfork, Barry Walters writes about Grace Jones. “One night in 1993, I finally got my chance to see Jones perform at a local gay nightclub and took my friend Brian, whose partner Mark was too sick to join us….She didn’t back away from the elephant in the room: She dedicated one song to artist and AIDS casualty Keith Haring, who had used her body for a canvas on the occasion of her legendary 1985 Paradise Garage performance. That night’s show was remarkable for the simple fact that Jones just kept on going, granting one encore request after another, waiting patiently while the sound man scoured backing tapes to find the fans’ offbeat choices. When Jones got to such minor numbers as ‘Crush,’ it became clear that she didn’t want to leave. She was giving as much of herself as she could to the beleaguered troops, knowing full well that many wouldn’t live long enough to see her again.”

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    At Pornokitsch, The Gutter’s own dame with a shady past Carol writes about five films noir.  “Do you want to watch some film noir? I hope so, because I have five films to suggest. Films about dames gone wrong, poor doomed saps, murders, sex and modern knights errant.”

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