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I came across this book through amazons recommendations, and I must say I could not be more happy with it. The art is drawn in a manga style which lends itself to the development of characters and their personalities. The story is flawless and inspiring. The book is SUPERB! I loved every second of it and could not put it down till I had read every last page. If you are a fan of graphic novels or of amazing story telling do yourself a favor and BUY this as soon as possible!
I think the thing that got me most about this was that I was never sure how the story was going to turn out. It keeps suggesting a predictable story line but it keeps changing all the way through, not quite delivering what you were expecting but something better instead. The art is a little difficult to begin with but really, really works well as you go on, playing a major part in the overall delivery. Truly captivating.
If you know anyone that isn't into graphic novels, this is the best thing for them. It's a short read, but incredibly well written and a very emotional experience overall; I really can't recommend this enough. For reference: I'm a 23 year old guy, and this still has me crying at the end every time I read it.
Great publication. I've been collecting graphic novels for some years and I was surprised to find in "I Kill Giants" a refreshing, intriguing, and touching story that surely abroads the concept of graphic novels. I strongly recommend it for any collector but also for starting readers, since the power of this story lies in the analysis of human nature and fears. it also has a great price, so what are you waiting!?
Beautiful writing but difficult to follow and understand - somewhat cryptic, like James Joyce. I started at the beginning four times and finally went online to read half a dozen reviews for explanations, context and ethnic history. After that I again started at the beginning and was able to enjoy her artistic talent. So, though I fully sympathize with the lower rating, I rate her higher for her talent.
One of our greatest writers, Calvin Trillin, has compiled a group of his true crime essays dating back to 1969, originally written for The New Yorker, into the book KILLINGS. The essays are about victims of untimely deaths, and while each story is about murder, there is nothing scary about this book. It is a fascinating read. Each story packs a certain punch because he wrote them to capture the sense of place and not necessarily to solve the crime. They are insightful, eerie, and the people involved in the murders as well as the towns are what draw you in.Once you finish one story, you are transfixed and on to the next, but don’t feel like you are a ghoul, it’s Trillin’s investigative work that lures. That and his writing. Ok, and the fact that human beings can commit such heinous ere were some subjects, namely the criminals, that left me flabbergasted. People you would never suspect would take another person’s life. That is the beauty of how Trillin selects stories of people who have been going about their business for generations, who have not been exposed to gangs, drugs, extreme violence and such, sleepy rural towns where people keep to themselves, farmers whose daily lives have not been modernized other than going from working mules to heavy earth-moving character in an essay really amused me, this was Edna Buchanan, a crime reporter for the Miami Herald. She was known for her classic ‘Edna’ to-the-point, hold nothing back leads. She had the police in Dade County a bit afraid. Often, she knew more about a case than they did. If Shonda Rhimes got a hold of Edna, surely a highly rated TV drama series would be developed around her life and the writers would never be short of story lines. The essay featuring Edna alone is worth the entire book. If you could forget for a minute the subject matter of the book, Trillin deserves his usual praise for well-honed study of his subjects as, rather than attacking their crimes, he fully grabs your attention with such detail, making KILLINGS as much of a treasure, in its own way, as some of his other gems.
This was a very interesting book. Based on stories that were written for a major publications over a period of time. This book gives insight on various deaths in various places at various times. Includes statements/comments from locals and a background on the killing that was committed. If you are a fan of non fiction and the backstory to why crimes were committed, this is the book for you. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend highly. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the advanced reading copy of this book in return for my honest review.
I got an ARC for Kindle from Netgalley and Random House True Crime for this book Killings which has been updated with new stories added for this 2017 edition by the author Calvin is is an interesting collection of true stories of deaths of people by all sorts of sudden means. They are all quite different and unusual and tend to keep your interest from one to the next. You never quite know what to expect as you are reading, you just know something is going to happen. Succinct writing, wry and entertaining. Life abruptly cut short. This is some of the best of why I enjoy non-fiction, because at times its just stranger than fiction could ever hope to be. At least for me, anyway.
This is a new author for me, and the book was a lively, passionate read. I will give the author that at at being said - the writing style was too casual and opinionated. One sentence about the mastermind, Clara, started with "heck," as if the reader and him were in conversation. He also mentions frequently that this quiet, isolatative young woman was a sociopath and a narcissist, yet nowhere in the book is there mention of any kind of diagnosis or evidence of this, or even definitions of these disorders; instead he seems to be following the trend of using PDs as an insult, even though people with NPD at least, are generally harmless. And yet he claims again and again, "Clara was narcissist to the core." He also blames her generation "it was the Gen X sense of entitlement she seemed to posses." What does that even mean? How does he arrive at these two wild conclusions? Are Gen Xers more likely to commit murder? Or are we more likely to demand more carefully researched books? Please explain!There also could have been an overview of how paranoid schizophrenics, and other people with serious mental illness tend to do with no supervision, statistically. He says "I believe the mentally ill should not be branded 'psychopaths' and/or 'sociopaths.' They suffer from real disorders..." What? Psychopathy is a variant brain structure, and sociopathy is a mental illness. What is this talk of "real disorders"? HE is one those people casually tossing around diagnoses in a prejudicial way. He might have gone into the state's decision behind releasing a clearly dangerously mentally ill young man on his 18th birthday, maybe an overview of his state's AOT program, if there is one now, and what impact that has had on the seriously mentally ill and violent the afterward, he says he tried to keep his emotions out of the book. Really? If only.
I think John F. Kennedy being the handsome youngest President we had up to that date,was so charming and charismatic, we did not wish to see any of his bad at he was a serious womanizer and cheater may not have impacted his Presidency,but it sure gives you a feeling of distrust in the man, how could it not?He was a good man, a flawed man and this book is well written and researchedand shows aspects of the man Kennedy really e Cuban missile crisis as it was known, was interesting to read how Kennedy(behind the scene) stood up to Castro and Khrushchev and handled a very tenseand possibly worse situation.If you are looking for some rare in depth details about President Kennedy's Assassination,I am not sure if this book will fascinate you or just retell basically the assassinationdetails almost all of us already know. The days leading up to and Oswald's back story isinteresting.A fast read and some unknown facts and well written.
This is the blueprint you were looking I really the first reviewer of the new 2018 edition? [I was, but Amazon didn't post it because I swore.] Anyway, I bought this as a preorder. The thing about Alvear's book is that it's completely practical. There's no comparison between this and the competition that I'm actually familiar with. Be aware that this book addresses the sellability of Kindle books, and says nothing at all about how to prepare and upload your text. Nor does he pretend only complaint is that he sometimes recommends other authors who I think are poor, like David Garfinkel, who wrote a book about advertising headlines. If you want to learn how to write book titles, which is exactly the same business as ad headlines, read Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz, or Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples. They're ancient books, but it doesn't ose caveats apart, this is possibly the only guidebook you need. I think. I'm writing a book on a very specific subject, and I'l be using this a lot.I'll close by repeating myself. This book actually goes into almost boring detail about how to actually do the job of selling the bottom out of your book.
Bought the author’s first edition of this book and thought it was “meh.” But this edition is well, STARTLING, and not always in a good way. For example, there’s lots of humor (how can a serious how-to be so funny?) but think some people may be offended by it (I wouldn’t say it’s laced with profanity but there’s a few eyebrow-raising passages).It’s also startling because it’s a HUGE book--354 pages! No wonder it cost so much! I really think he could have cut that down, but if you’re into super details (I’m not) then maybe it’s for the best. And it’s also startling because the book is filled with well thought out systems and ere’s a system for selecting categories, a process for writing good copy, etc. All with downloadable worksheets I found enormously ’s also startling because these types of books tend to be off the cuff and not very well researched. This one actually has primary research the author conducted himself (or paid for) like an eye tracking study of Amazon bookshoppers(fascinating)or dug up fact-based studies from other luminaries (so-so) or put together himself like that effectiveness ranking of discount book promotion sites (worth the price of the book). And it’s startling because the author clearly paid a graphic designer to visualize some of his concepts (the one about categories was the most useful visual I’ve ever seen on the topic).And finally, it’s startling because of the cost. My God--$19.99 for the paperback? The balls on this guy! Still, you know how when you buy something expensive and you mutter about the cost publicly but know it was worth every penny privately? That’s how I feel about this book. My advice: Rail against the price but buy it anyway.
I have been helping authors to publish and promote their books on kindle for around 4 years now, and I must admit that social media, blogging and the rest regular promo tactics need a lot of time and determination in order to work. I have helped people to become Amazon bestsellers, but if they don’t put constant effort within a long period of time, they won’t earn a living from their books. What I love in this book is that it is one of the rare ones from the “kindle publishing subject” that does not talks about bestselling. It talks about SELLING. And this is extremely different. Because, as already said, you can be a struggling Bestseller author, and you can also be a quite wealthy author without the bestseller’s status. What do you prefer? That is up to you. You might want both, right? So, focusing back to this book:I adore the author’s writing. It is so funny and clever. I tend to laugh often while reading it, and then I share with my hubby the jocks. He is hilarious. In addition, he gives a creasy amount of resources, many of whom, I didn’t know about. The book is priceless, for the resources issue I find is that it gets into too many details on how to create a stunning cover and things like that – when I would rather have a separated book on those is a big book and it needs time to be read, studied, and digested. Obviously it has some great information that I have not found on other books of this subject, it is quite focused on the kindle area and how to manipulate for your behalf kindle algorithms etc. of course, it is not a brainer; where would you rather have your book ad? On kindle page or on FaceBook? It is no brainer, but how many of us spend tons of money on fb with no results wandering why “this thing doesn’t work” and “what’s wrong with me”…I strongly recommend it, but I would give you one advice: don’t just read it and put it aside. Use it, reread it, follow its advices and be consistent. Success and money do not come by reading. They come through consistent action.
Be forewarned, this book is full of rude-and-crude twelve year old sex humor, f-bombs and other vulgarities, and “fun stuff” like jokes about disabilities. If that upsets you, you probably won’t enjoy the book. I’m no prude, but it was annoying to me. Why ruin a good book with so much of that garbage?That said, there are a lot of great tips in the book. Some of it is already read on kboards or in other books, but enough that it’s worth the price. There are some typos and non-starters like using affiliate codes (amazon will shut your account down). A few of the practices discussed aren't really ethical, so that's up to you.
This book cleared up many misconceptions for me and clearly explained where I should be putting my attention and where I shouldn't for best results. The author has done his homework and has made it possible for those of us who want to write instead of spending our time trying to discover best practices for Kindle. I'm looking forward to digging deep into the book and putting his methods into practice.
Bought this mainly for the 200 ebook promotion website ranking list which was advertised to be in the book, clicked the link and it took me to a page that said coming e information should have been there before the book was ever published or updated.
And believe me, I've read many of them. Many of these tips are also useful to authors in any other book sales environment and under any ey are very valuable empirical knowledge. I am also a professional in the book market and I agree that the problems faced by the author in the American market are basically the same ones I face in my country.I rarely feel compelled to write a review. And today I'm here to do that. Make a Killing on Kindle is a must-read for anyone who really wants to have any real chance with their book.
I was really interested in the story, but I had a difficult time getting through the book due to the writing style (often his sentence structure was backwards, and all through the book lacked appropriate commas, thus creating run-on sentences). Still, I am glad I bought the book (on sale), and glad I read the story.
I thought it was a very interesting book. I like true crime books where the author delves into the lives of the serial killer and the victims. John Coston did a good job. I recommend this book.
Trite saying but I find it fascinating that this story was not a figment of the writers imagination but a detailed account of events that really took place and how the perpetrator avoided discovery until he simply imploded. Fortunately, he erred in front of a brave couple who were able to take advantage at the right time.
Great book into the life of Booth and the characters associated with him. Gave good information on a historical which I did not know much d book to read if one is a history seeker and decent book for a story into lives of individual of the time.
Interesting book. Provided some background regarding the principal characters involved with the assassination of Lincoln and the additional targets of assault and death (Grant, Seward and others).
I came away disappointed in this book because I felt that, given the volume of research material available, the authors could have provided much more of a backstory to the issues that motivate men like Booth to be driven to achieve such an ignominious act. I understand the probable motivation to "keep it simple" derives from the desire to maximize the reading audience as well as to attract young people to history, but challenging the reader with opportunities to do further research on their own on such a controversial series of events may have created future history teachers and/or deep thinkers in the process. Additionally, I felt that the authors could have provided more insight to why/how it came to be that not much of the backstory behind the "plot" details made it's way into the reader of general knowledge until only recently, and not into the history books at all.
A very compelling documentation, told like a story, of the events leading up to the assassination of President Lincoln. As always, O'Reilly and Dugard write very effectively, making it these topics all the more interesting. Looking forward to reading more in the "Killing" series.
I have read all of the "Killing" series by Bill O'Reilly, and for me, this was the least enjoyable. It is still a good book, but it did not reach out a grab me like the other books. I have read other books on General Patton that I enjoyed more. That being said, I did appreciate how the authors shared some background history on the characters in the book and how they related to one another.
Patton was one of the greatest fighting generals in US history, and one of least respected and liked by his superior officers. This book, with far less detail than most others covering the same battles, fights and controversies, sums it up well. The conspiratorial ending never mentions the possibility that Stalin had anything to do with it, which seems more likely. But it's a good summary and a quick read.
Really good read. I'm was much more versed in the war in Europe but now have a better understanding of what occurred in the pacific. Such brutality. Especially enjoyed reading about the lead up to dropping the A bomb. My dad, after 3 years fighting in Europe, would have been part of the invasion of Japan. Grateful that was not necessary.
This book was an excellent review of WWII. I had read many books about these events, but this book brought out many key points about both the Japanese and American people and the decisions that were made at the time. It provides an excellent prospective and is very balanced in recording the events.
This book is a sobering look at the war in the Pacific from both sides and the decisions that led up to the use of nuclear weapons. I have always supported the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan to end the war, based on what I have read of history. Mr. O'Reilly presented facts, particularly from the Japanese point of view, that reinforce my belief that an invasion of the Japanese mainland would have resulted in the deaths of many tens of thousands of Americans. This book is a sober reminder of the horrors of war for both sides as well as the innocents caught in the middle and the awesome responsibility of today's nuclear powers to never again be in a position where the use of nuclear weapons becomes the best and only option left.
Concise, historical and at times graphic portrayal of the war in the Pacific during World War 2. It was interesting to read of General MacArthur's all consuming efforts for personal power and glory. The cruelty that humans can inflict on other humans is always difficult to read and imagine.
This was a very good review of the Pacific portion of World War II and the way the Japanese army treated prisoners and civilians in the areas they conquered. The attitude demonstrated by the Japanese army in the defense of the various islands, including the Philippines, as the U.S. military progressively invaded them was a strong indicator of what the military planners expected to meet in a land invasion of Japan as the war progressed. Whether the decision was ultimately right or wrong, the choice to use the atomic bomb to end the war would not be hard to justify in light of earlier interactions with the Japanese military and the number of casualties, both civilian and military, that would be likely in a full-scale invasion of Japan.
Listened to it twice! And, just finished OLD SCHOOL...even better, in my opinion...kept me entertained with great old school thought, humor and some history on folks like Tina Turner and Billy Joel! I'm a bigger fan of Bill O'Reilly's dad...love Bill, but his dad was great in the day!
In my opinion, too much credit to Douglas MacArthur, not enough to many other factors which contributed to the defeat of Japan, such as the submarine effectiveness and the "Citizen Soldier" component. Not enough discussion about the complex issue of the use of the atomic weapons.
My grandfather was at Perl Harbor that dreadful day. He survived and had went on to the Army aircorp in the S Pacific. My other gradfather was in the Army in Europe. Growing up neither talked mych of the war, if ever. Books like this provide a small window of what they faced, the friends they lost, and sacrafices made. This is one of my favorite books, thanks Bill.
I have read all the Killing Book's by Bill and have enjoyed them all. I just started to read. I am particularly interested because I had a cousin who was in the Death March and my dad fought in the Philippines and Okinawa and was actually their to witness the General's return. My uncle grandfather and an aunt also served in WWII. I would also like to direct readers that have read this book or plan too to also seek out the WWII Museum in New Orleans and if you may have some writings of significant about your loved ones, contact them, I am certain they would be interested. I've provided a written account of my cousins experience. He didn't detail out the most horrifying events in his experience as Bill has.
This is probably the best of O'Reilly's "Killing" books. Not only was the reader introduced to the horrors of warfare, but the author acquainted the reader with the planning and the eventual dropping of the atomic bomb. The world made a dramatic change in August 1945.
The Ultimate Movie Review - - @tss5078 - Home of The Giants uses a High School Basketball team and it's star to tell an amazing story, with one hell of a twist. Matt Morrison (Ryan Merriman) is the king of his High School and the beloved star of his High School Basketball team, but not all is as perfect as it seems. Matt's brother has just been released from prison and needs to pay back some dangerous men. Eric enlists the help of his brother to commit a simple robbery, which doesn't go the way they planned. While Basketball is always a part of the story, and has made Matt a local celebrity, this isn't a movie about Basketball, it's about a boy torn between his dreams and his dysfunctional family. Ryan Merriman stars and he just continues to amaze me with his athletic ability. Merriman started as the loveable pudgy kid in the early 90's TV show, the Mommies. Today, the once chubby child star does almost exclusively sports drama and is really impressive. Whether he's a Basketball player here, a Baseball player in 42, or a Football star in the 5th Quarter, Merriman is skillful and more than believable. Imagine getting to live out your sports fantasies, while acting on the big screen, Merriman clearly loves what he does and it shows. In this film he's assisted by the 25 year old screen veteran, Haley Joel Osment, whose still funny looking. Funny looking, but one terrific actor, Osment gives the film a separate dynamic and whole other back story, that just add to the brilliance of this film. Osment was nominated for an Oscar at age 12, and is still going strong, adding another terrific performance to his resume. Home of The Giants really has something for everyone which includes some great sports drama and an intense background story. This film was released independently and fell below the radar, but it is as well written and exciting as anything you'll see on the big screen, I can't recommend it enough.
I was counting on you. You let me down. To Kill a King is directed by Mike Barker and written by Jenny Mayhew. It stars Tim Roth, Dougray Scott, Olivia Williams, James Bolam and Rupert Everett. Music is by Richard G Mitchell and cinematography by Eigil Bryld. It’s the end of the English Civil War and with King Charles 1st (Everett) held prisoner by the Parliamentarians, Sir Thomas Fairfax (Scott) and Oliver Cromwell (Roth), friends and colleagues, fall out over the best plan of action for the New England. A severely troubled production and budgetary constraints left To Kill a King with a mountain to climb just to get acknowledged as a historical epic of worth. Add in the dubious take on this part of English history that so irked the historians, and you would be forgiven for thinking that the film is something of a stinker. Not so actually. For although it’s clearly far from flawless, it’s a literary piece of work that chooses character dynamics over blood and thunder. Suffice to say that those searching for a battle strewn epic should look elsewhere, but if you have a bent for observations on key personalities involved in war politics during times of upheaval in a period setting? Then this delivers the goods. Well performed by the principal players as well. 7/10
**Highly entertaining Bond movie** Surprisingly serious Bond movie has Roger Moore step up to the plate for the last time as 007 - this time tackling none other than a psychotic Christopher Walken. One of the better entries, this film has it all - action, humour, beautiful locales, sexy ladies, a scary villain, great stunt work, a classic theme song and of course, the legendary Roger Moore as James Bond. It's a shame that Barbara Broccoli threw all of this classic Bond fun down the toilet in 2006. Bond has always been silly and, sadly, the 2006 reboot has thrown it all away and has no rewatchbility.
Erotico Psycho Dressed to Kill is directed and written by Brian De Palma. It stars Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon and Dennis Franz. Music is by Pino Donaggio and cinematography by Ralf D. Bode. Brian De Palma continues his commitment to Hitchcock thrillers with this erotic and lurid slice of entertainment pie. Plot in short order finds a razor wielding blonde woman on the loose in the city. A high class prostitute, a psychiatrist and the son of a victim try to solve the mystery before they themselves fall to the blonde killer. De Palma throws it all at the audience here, merrily pushing people's buttons as he goes. He uses all the tools and tricks of his trade for maximum impact, blending a number of genre staples and churning out a hyper stylised neo-noir that gleefully toys with audience expectations. Oh the plot is bonkers, deliriously so, but De Palma is a crafty pro who deftly marries up the excesses of the plot with virtuoso camera work, and not content with that he then brings Donaggio's musical score into play to ensure the viewer's senses are tingling. Unsurprisingly for the director, Dressed to Kill is sexually charged and violent, from the steamy beginning that ruffled feathers in a number of quarters, to the outrageous coda at the end where De Palma homage's himself, it's a film revelling in its schlocky being. However, it still has time for dramatic suspense and dangerously sensual mysticism, reference an extended section of film that sees Allen's hooker pursued relentlessly through the perils of the subway system, and a sequence played out at an art gallery without dialogue as we become Dickinson's disoriented eyes. Then there is the key murder scene, a dizzying array of slashes and cartoonish blood, it's purposely excessive and followed by screw tightening suspense that sets up the rest of the movie. De Palma and his on form principal cast members are having fun, how could they not with such trashy material to work from? Is Dressed to Kill phobic and misogynistic? Well plenty of people think so, in fact there was quite a fall out when the film was first released, when De Palma was subjected to the ire of a few minority groups. Judge for yourself is the only way to go really, but personally in amongst the schlock I feel there's comment on the dangers of fantasising beyond your realm, or of unfaithfulness, maybe even that America is itself irresponsible for its treatment of women on film? Of course it could just be De Palma at his most playful? Sitting there giggling to himself as others lose their cool… 8/10
Following a housewife’s brutal murder, the only witness to the incident teams up with the woman’s son to try to find the culprit which leads them to the patient of a psychiatrist who treated her and tries to stop the killer from striking them in order to cover the crime. This one turned out to be quite the rather enjoyable effort. A lot of the film’s great parts come from the manner in which this one deals with the expectations featured here of the film by following so close to its influences. As it follows so close to the main format here, as the general structure employed here comes directly with the structure of having the first half focus solely on the victim to get killed off and then morph over into the investigation into the incidents, that makes for a great deal of fun here as it deals with the few changes to be had with the storyline. That familiarity lends itself a great deal to the overall manner in which this one moves along as that keeps this one a lot more entertaining than it really should be without a whole lot of slashing action throughout here. With a big emphasis on the murder investigation and her involvement in the procedure, there’s a nice emphasis here to follow up the later adverts of that ones’ followers in a distinctly European manner by introducing not only the main investigation from the police but also going rather nicely into the amateur investigation by way of a piece of evidence only briefly glimpsed during the incident that becomes a central part of the investigation. These elements all give it a rather distinct and pronounced atmosphere to these brands of films which really lets it dwell in that type of sleaze far more comfortably than would be expected, not only from the type of nudity but also the rather stark sex scenes and frequently intoned psychosexual themes from the killer’s motivation which is straight out of that particular school of thriller which makes this one connect quite well there. Even with some incredibly well-done stalker scenes, including the opening attack in the elevator, the subway sequence or the finale at the office which give this some rather suspenseful stalking as well to balance it all with plenty to like. These don’t help the fact that there’s just not a whole lot of slasher action here, as the more thriller aspects here dominate this one so it doesn’t have a lot of stalking scenes and the body count itself is so low as to not really offer much in the way of bloodshed or gore. Those looking for a straight-up slasher won’t be interested in this one at all. Rated R: Extreme Graphic Language, Full Nudity, Graphic Violence and several intense sex scenes.
Janitor's Crushed Body Found At Bottom Of Elevator Shaft! Shoot to Kill (AKA: Police Reporter) is directed by William Berke and written by Edwin V. Westrate. It stars Robert Kent (AKA: Douglas Blackley), Luana Walters (AKA: Susan Walters), Edmund MacDonald and Russell Wade. Music is by Darell Calker and Gene Rodgers and cinematography by Benjamin H. Kline. When gangster Dixie Logan (Kent) is framed by crooked Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Dale (MacDonald), his wife Marian (Walters) and a reporter, George Mitchell (Wade), set about proving how corrupt Dale is. You see the phrase poverty row B noir mixed with statements like double crosses and disloyalties, and it pricks up the ears of the film noir fan. Unfortunately Shoot to Kill has gained a small cult fan base without any surface justification. The film quite simply is a mess, oh the twists and flashback structure look impressive in the page, but the construction by the director is awful, with cast performances to match as well! This is amateur film making 101 and we even get a Keystone Cops like fist fight... It opens with a promising car chase and crash, but that is a false dawn, from there it's a collage of weak characterisations as the director throws it all together and hopes it works. The best things in the film are an extended piano playing sequence by Gene Rodgers, some of the blaring newspaper headlines that raise a smile and the odd bit of noirish shadow play. While mercifully it only runs at just over an hour. Don't be fooled, this is no hidden treasure for the noir head to seek out, it really doesn't know what to do with the plot machinations. 3/10
FILM NOIR OF THE WEEK Robert Wise's Born to Kill has never been one of my favorite noirs. It regularly tops "best of" lists, and many film noir enthusiasts whom I respect love it, so I was hoping a fresh viewing would reveal something new to me. Alas, for me it was still the same old flick. It's an enjoyable picture, but it's wildly melodramatic, there are subplots that never really go anywhere, and its over-the-top characters are mostly two-dimensional. The key to a great noir, like Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity (1944), is the sense that it could happen to you, or to someone you know. No matter how outlandish the schemes in a film are, if they're carried out by believable characters then I'm usually able to go along for the ride without asking too many questions. Born to Kill tells the tale of a pair of sociopathic social climbers, the recently divorced Helen Brent (Claire Trevor) and the recently paroled Sam Wild (Lawrence Tierney). Their paths cross in Reno, the biggest little city in the world. Helen is there for a quickie divorce and Sam is there with his reedy little sidekick, Mart Waterman (Elisha Cook Jr.). Helen is staying at a boarding house run by the slovenly Mrs. Kraft (Esther Howard), who, when we first see her, is getting lit up on beer in the middle of the afternoon with the adenoidal tart Laury Palmer (Isabel Jewell). After Laury goes on a date with dapper Danny Jaden (Tony Barrett) just to make the big lug she's dating jealous, she invites Danny inside for a nightcap. When Danny goes to the kitchen, he finds Laury's big lug waiting for him. It's Sam Wild, of course, and his brutal killing of both Danny and Laury is the film's high point. (Or the lurid low point, if you're a prissy scold.) The sound of crickets in the background, the neatly manicured suburban lawns surrounding Mrs. Kraft's boarding house, the dog barking in the background, and the uptempo swing music playing on the radio in the kitchen all lend a sense of immediacy and familiarity to the murder. The rest of the film, however, just doesn't hang together for me. Sam's little buddy Mart tells him, "You can't just go around killing people whenever the notion strikes you. It just ain't feasible." I feel the same way about the plot of Born to Kill. It just ain't feasible. After the murder, Sam blows town. He and Helen meet again on the train to San Francisco. When they disembark, Sam suggests splitting a cab, but Helen tells him she's going in a different direction. He responds, "That's where you're wrong. We're going in the same direction, you and I." Sam insinuates himself into Helen's life. They are clearly drawn to each other, but she tells him that nothing in the world will stop her from marrying her fiancé, Fred Grover (Phillip Terry). So Sam moves in on her sister, wealthy heiress Georgia Staples (Audrey Long), or, to be more precise, her foster sister, as Helen bitterly reveals to Sam. Not only is Georgia a beautiful blonde, but — as Sam tells Mart — "Marrying into this crowd will make it so's I can spit in anyone's eye." Meanwhile, back in Reno, Mrs. Kraft retains the services of a sleazy, corpulent private investigator named Matthew Albert Arnett (Walter Slezak). Mrs. Kraft is played by Esther Howard, and her bizarre, bug-eyed performance in this film is nearly identical to the "Filthy Flora" character she played in @#$% Tracy vs. Cueball (1946). Helen and Sam pursue their doomed, twisted love affair. "Fred is peace and security," Helen moans. "You, you're strength, excitement, and depravity. You've a kind of corruption inside of you, Sam." Arnett sniffs around. Sam and Georgia quarrel after she refuses to let him run her family's business. Mart Waterman shows up in San Francisco and starts living with the unhappy foursome. (Is he Sam's partner or his secret lover? The film is never completely clear.) Slowly but surely, the plot threads of the film intertwine, culminating in an orgy of murder and betrayal. This is the second or third time I've seen Born to Kill. While I've griped about the ridiculously melodramatic plot, maybe I just want it to be something it's not. I could certainly see myself watching it again in the future and loving its over-the-top characters, unrealistic scenarios, grotesque supporting players, and generally high level of camp. I think my biggest problem with Born to Kill is the relationship between Sam and Helen. Claire Trevor is a wonderful performer, but I was never able to accept that she'd love Sam enough to give up everything for him. Helen's histrionics in her scenes in tastefully appointed drawing rooms with Fred, Georgia, and Sam seem more scripted than natural, and Claire Trevor's performance as Helen seems too intelligent and composed for the debased character she's playing. But maybe that's the point. Lawrence Tierney is a powerful presence, but he isn't a particularly gifted actor, especially when either subtlety or range is called for. Not only does Sam Wild commit murder whenever the notion strikes him, he can bend others to his will, getting his friend Mart to kill for him and getting Helen to provide him with an alibi for murder at the drop of a hat. He's a brutal alpha male, and loving him may go against all reason and sense, but that never stopped anybody before. Born to Kill is directed by Robert Wise with vigor. The cinematography, by Robert de Grasse, is great, especially in the nighttime exteriors. Paul Sawtell's music is exciting. I found the plot ridiculous, but that shouldn't stop any noir fans who haven't seen Born to Kill from seeking it out. Written by Adam Lounsbery
Turnip Man and Iceberg Woman. Lady of Deceit (AKA: Born to Kill) is directed by Robert Wise and adapted to screenplay by Eve Greene and Richard Macaulay from the novel Deadlier than the Male written by James Gunn. It stars Claire Trevor, Lawrence Tierney, Walter Slezak, Elisha Cook Jr., Audrey Long, Isabel Jewell and Esther Howard. Music is by Paul Sawtell and cinematography by Robert De Grasse. Trevor plays conniving divorcée Helen Brent, who risks her chances at the wealth and security she craves with the man she doesn't love by falling for hotheaded murderer Sam Wild (Tierney), who, with his own agenda, is soon to marry her foster sister. I wouldn't trade places with you if they sliced me into little pieces. Hard-bitten noir of some substance that pits two of noir's most unlikable characters against each other. Tierney's psychotic machismo and Trevor's calculating sex-bomb go head to head in a deliriously distorted romance that will only go one way once their inner pursuit of glory comes to the fore. And he who falls beneath her spell has need of God's mercy. The plot is a bit hard to take, but when in noirville it sometimes helps to stop off for a bite to eat at the fantastique café. It's a grim tale of pathological persons and it's superbly directed by Wise in what was his first foray into straight edged film noir. Slezak adds some seedy quality as a bible quoting P.I., Cook Junior does what he does best and Jewell inputs the naive sexy glamour. Voluptuous violence and mad love in the shadows. Hooray! 8/10
I gave this prequel three stars. It would have gotten four but I was not a fan of all the fight scenes. They seemed very lengthy and repetitious to me. But the story painted a very vivid picture of what happened to the world that became the setting for the Maze runner trilogy. It answered many questions and filled in a lot of blanks. I would recommend this book to anyone who has invested the time to read the previous trilogy.