NOIR CITY E-Mag No. 26
Issue 26 of the NOIR CITY e-mag was originally planned as a "true crime" issue with most of the features blurring the line between crimes in the reel world and the real world. Unfortunately, some of those pieces were postponed or scuttled for various reasons—perhaps to be resurrected at a later date. Two of them remain, however, and they are doozies.
The rarely discussed role of organized crime in the Golden Era of Hollywood is examined by Alan K. Rode in his feature "The Chicago Way." The names Willie Bioff and George Brown aren't known to most film fans, but it could be argued they had as much impact on the course of Hollywood history as Darryl Zanuck or Jack Warner. Maybe. By whatever measure, the tale of these mid-level mobsters muscling the Chicago outfit into the daily operation of the film industry plays like a fictional gangster saga—except it's all true.
If that crime melodrama had a leading man, it was Johnny Roselli, aka "Handsome Johnny," whom John Wranovics profiles in a companion piece to Rode's article. Roselli was a mob scout who truly loved the movies and managed to carve a niche for himself as a silent partner in several noir classics produced by short-lived Eagle-Lion Films. The article, researched over the course of several years by the author, also shines a light on two other intriguing figures rarely given the limelight: producer Bryan Foy and Joseph Breen Jr.—son of Hollywood's chief censor and trusted associate of the Chicago racketeer. See if you can keep track of all the strange bedfellows in this story. And if you can't get enough of "Handsome Johnny," the redoubtable Lee Server, who's written indispensable bios of Robert Mitchum and Ava Gardner, has a new book on Roselli, reviewed in this issue by Vince Keenan.
Contributor Ben Terrall offers a terrific piece on Jonathan Latimer, one of the best, still unrecognized, screenwriters of the original noir era. Unlike many more well-known novelists turned screenwriters, Latimer never groused about his lot in Hollywood—he was too busy churning out first-rate scripts that stand with the genre's best.
Check out Brain Light's "Out of the Past: Collecting Film Noir Posters!" Not only does Brian provide a concise guide for those considering making poster collecting a hobby, he provides a valuable first-person account of feeding the paper habit back before the advent of the internet—back when you could still pick up that special movie poster for a relative song.
And these are just the entrées in an 88-page smorgasbord of the dark delights in Issue 26 of the NOIR CITY e-magazine.
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