Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cop movies

Charles L.P. Silet has an interesting article on ten great cop films in issue #101 of the new Mystery Scene.

Silet names such films as The Big Heat and Lone Star in a group that reaches back into the 1950s and extends to 2005's The Departed.

When you examine the storylines of most of these films you come to a surprising conclusion--at least five of them are pretty much weserns set in contemporary times. Certainly The Big Heat and The Departed were done as western novels and films in the early years of the last century. Not as well, certainly, but the basic shape of them was used over and over in pulps and in films dating back to the silents. Same for Bullitt and Dirty Harry and The Untouchables.

I mention this because I recently ran across Dashiell's Hammett's theory that the private eye was the cowboy hero brought into town. And now the cop is the cowboy hero brought into town.

I've never been a big fan of cop movies because so few of them strike me as even reasonably realistic. This is personal. We're gona take this creep down. Not in my city he doesn't. Is there a sub-genre of crime fiction as cliched as cop movies? 90% of them are like the bad B and C westerns the studios cranked out for decades.

Silent's article steers us to some of the ones worth seeing. It's just one of many fine pieces in the new Mystery Scene. I've already told Kate that I think this is the best issue of MS ever. And I mean it.


pattinase (abbott) said...

One of my favorites is "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three." Also "The Laughing Policeman." Maybe I'm just a Matthau fan.

Ed Gorman said...

Two of my favorites, too. Of course they're re-making (i.e. ruining) Taking of Pelham.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, no. They'll never get it right. It was so unique.

Cap'n Bob said...

I have to say I found The Departed to be awful. I challenge anyone to show me how it made sense.

Anonymous said...

Cop movies aren't bad. There has been a lot recently about security guards.