Friday, May 20, 2011

More from Noir City Spring 2011 Raymond Burr

One of the most amazing collections of noir-related articles and reviews I've ever seen. For information on how to get it here's the link to the Film Noir Foundation.

Ed here: The Burr article comes comes complete with a full filmology of Burr as a villain as well as interesting portraits of all the main players in the Perry Mason series.

From The Heaviest of Them All
Carl Steward

"It’s no secret that Burr grew weary of being always cast as a heavy, despite his constantly fluctuating weight. But he didn’t dismiss the period of his career in which he demonstrated his greatest range, and surely he would not have wanted it ignored. In a revealing 1963 interview on Canadian television, the actor admitted that a good number of his Ho lywood efforts were forgettable, but he lauded such films as Pitfall, Raw Deal, and Rear Window as as worthy productions.

"In the same interview, he maintained that it wasn’t being typecast as a villain that troubled him, as much as finding fresh ways to interpret vil- lainy. This is, after all, a guy who played creeps named Nick in three separate movies. “I began to run out of ways of being bad,” he said with a wry grin. Indeed, in movies that could be classified as noir, Burr played more than 25 bad-guy roles. On a few occasions, he got to play a cop, and in two memorable performances—A Place In The Sun (1951) and Please Murder Me (1956)—was cast as an attorney (a portent of his stardom as CBS’s courtroom icon.) But Burr’s bad guys deserve their own Wall of Fame, even if it’s the wall of a post office or an alley somewhere in the meanest district of Dark City. Here’s a Most Wanted list of the heaviest heavies, both well known and obscure, for the Raymond Burr Museum of Mayhem."

World’s Greatest Gal Friday
Vince Keenan
"Erle Stanley Gardner described Della Street, Perry Mason’s secretary, as “dependable” and “easy on the eyes.” It’s as if Gardner knew that actress Barbara Hale would one day embody the character. The Illinois-born former RKO starlet perfectly captured the blend of competence and confidence that kept the Mason practice running. Along with her one-time RKO stable mate Ray- mond Burr, she beautifully replicated the low-key attraction that coursed between their characters in Gardner’s books. As Della told Mason after one of several proposals in the novels: “You’re not the marrying kind. I don’t think you need a wife but I know damn well you need a secretary who’s willing to go to jail occasionally to back your play.” Both Hale’s Della and Gardner’s are all too aware that the only way to be close to Perry Mason is to be part of his work."

Vince also has another great article in this issue 5 Songbirds A Musical Survey of Romance, Ruin, and Remorse

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