Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jr. Chemists - Spooky Cooties

Happy Halloween. Today's music video is brought to you by the Jr. Chemists, a unique listening experience that fluttered briefly to our attention between 1980 and 1981. Never heard from again! Still, memorable. Have a spooky one.

The Jr. Chemists: Brendan deVallance, Michael Cornelius, Dawn Kelly: We make music for intelligent 12-year-olds.

Image and quote from Brendan's site, Splooft Cough-Up.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Supreme Dicks - Blue Elephant

I made another music video this week. I'm on a roll. This one is the Supreme Dicks, oddball psychedelic folk-rock band from the 90s. You may remember that you've never heard of them. Or maybe you have.

Maybe you attended one of their whackadoo shows with audience participation go-go dancers and noodly improv. Maybe if you're like me, you used one of their songs in a short film in film school and got to briefly enter the strange musical orbit that was the Supreme Dicks.

In any case, this song is from their CD "Working Man's Dick." The footage is from the 1939 World's Fair Mardi Gras parade in blustery Flushing Meadow Corona Park, New York. Keep a sharp eye for a zippy appearance by teen sensation Jane Withers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's On Your Wall? - Linda McElroy

It's time to explore wall space again. Linda's a creative force to be reckoned with. She's an amazing chef, a quilter, a knitter, and my aunt, all in one. When she married my uncle, our whole family felt brighter and shinier. She glows. Let's look at her walls.

A beautiful Joe Shlitcha abstract. This reflects the lovely Northwest so well.

Linda's teeny, tiny downstairs bathroom has been recently revived the addition of her kids' art. My cousins Megan and Matt have a lot of good stuff going on, with art and music as a firm base to launch from. I like the mattes and similar (but not too similar) black frames. You may notice cousin Matt's snake in the sneaker in the top right photo.

Close-up on Matt's Hawk-Bear print.

When in Seattle, be sure to stop by Linda and Tom's Ristorante Machiavelli. A guaranteed good night out, plus (bonus) family photos on the walls.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Television Personalities - The Glittering Prizes

It's been a long time since I made a music video. Yesterday I put together this little one for YouTube consumption.

The Television Personalities put out this great album, "...and don't the kids just love it" in 1980 and it's been one of my favorites for many years now. The brilliant, tortured Dan Treacy shoves decades of pop culture into everything he composes. Such clever and campy discourse within seemingly simplistic, catchy ditties. Godspeed, Dan Treacy.

TVPs - The Painted World(1985)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Sell Outs

When last we checked in with radical feminist punk rock band, Hot Mess, they were on a song-writing roll. Let's look in on their first rehearsal.

Exposé - Point of No Return. Don't you miss the 80s? Me neither.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thrills, Chills, Laughs and Hills - San Francisco in the Movies

What's it like, living in San Francisco? It's cold and damp, yes, but although only roughly seven miles in length, the city has several micro-climates, so you you have to dress in layers. The gray, filtered light, the constant jacket required to stay warm, the living in close quarters in uninsulated, uncarpeted, older flats that echo and rattle in the wind--all lead to a sort of protective emotional shell in its citizens. You can't get too friendly with everyone because who knows what they want from you? And they're all too close together, especially on Muni--close enough to be potentially annoying, maybe even at times, threatening.

On the other hand, it's extremely beautiful and balmy, with incredible vistas and walking paths to heavenly, dynamic locations, featuring the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Park, the Marina, Ocean Beach, and Red's Java House, home of the affordable beer and burger lunch. Plus San Francisco is truly urban. Live there long enough and you'll become truly urban as well, with an appreciation of all that implies: film, theater, art--yes; books and writing--sure; major universities--uh huh; pro sports--yup, got 'em; jobs--more than some places; garage bands--hmmm, you might want to check across the Bay in Oakland for that.

Once in a while, a film crew shows up, usually from Los Angeles, and attempts to film a "San Francisco story." They often get it wrong, making a Los Angeles story that happens to be set in San Francisco locations. I'm pretty sure a lot of San Francisco-based movies and television shows are excuses for someone with budgetary clout to vacation in Northern California for a while, under the guise of making a movie. But once in a while, everything comes together and you get a close approximation of not only the look of the place, but the feel of the place. That would be kind of chilly, kind of emotionally armored (maybe even damaged), kind of loopy, kind of one-of-a-kind. Ultimately, San Francisco is built on towering hills that have no business having a densely populated city on top of them. That gives the feeling of other-worldliness, combined with that urban sensibility. These films reflect a bit of that for me.

San Francisco - Clark Gable and Jeanette McDonald cannot breathe life into a tedious back story to the '06 earthquake in this early disaster film. You have to wait a seemingly lo-o-ong time for the buildings to fall, but once they do, you'll be impressed by the deadly chaos and confusion produced by the 1936 effects department.

My mom told me this movie scared the living daylights out of her as a child, which is understandable because she lived in the city. A very impressive scene, not just for the crumbling, rumbling set, but for the dynamic editing, implying death and destruction at every turn. and it's a musical, which is very San Francisco indeed.

Worth noting is that the actual 1906 earthquake took place just after 5 AM, so it's unlikely this swanky affair would be going on during the earthquake's apex, but back then, who knows? People did party hard. Also note that Jeanette McDonald must be carried from of the building AND she faints. She's beyond useless. The damsel-in-distress trope in the movies was already old by the time this was released, but that didn't stop movies and television and video games to continue to use it as a sort of anti-feminist propaganda. That's how I see it.

Vertigo - Everyone from San Francisco loves Vertigo, even those of us who are disturbed and slightly grossed out by it. Alfred Hitchcock threw away detective-story conventions to better concentrate on the twisted obsessions of James Stewart's Scottie, who follows Kim Novak's Madeleine/Judy around like a necrophiliac stalker. And woe to his poor side-kick Midge!

Once Hitch jettisoned the genre specifics of the murder mystery, he could focus solely on the corrupting influences of neurotic obsession, all taking place in the haunting, emotionally stagnant world of the San Francisco Bay Area. Loneliness, masochism, unrequited love, phantom attraction—a vision of San Francisco full of the darkest emotions.

The best way to see Vertigo is at The Castro Theatre during Hitchcock week, which they feature most every year. If you can plan a visit around that, do so.

Bullitt - Take a wild ride with utterly cool Steve McQueen in his 1968 Ford Mustang. Wild not only for the speed around hill and dale, but because this particular chase scene is geographically impossible. If only one could instantly get to John McLaren Park by turning a corner in North Beach. But that's the magic of movie editing and it makes this chilly, deadpan film quite exciting and memorable.

Bullitt: Chase Scene from L87 on Vimeo.

The Conversation - I finally saw this film recently after avoiding it for years because I knew it would be bleak and probably depressing. Sure, it was all those things, but mainly it's a character study of voyeuristic paranoia. Gene Hackman is the unforgettable Harry Caul, best surveillance expert operating on the West Coast. Buckling under bucket-loads of Catholic guilt, he gets too involved in a case involving corporate wife, Cindy Williams, and her illicit lover (Frederic Forest), who are mainly seen walking around Union Square while having a conversation that Harry brilliantly (and impossibly) records.

Lots of San Francisco locations add to the lonely bleakness of living among crowds with very little connection to humanity. Francis Ford Coppola makes excellent use of empty SOMA warehouses, a block of buildings that were being torn down during production, and the water-front along the Embarcadero. Young Harrison Ford as a shady, acrylic-sweater-wearing corporate assistant turns up as well.

What's Up Doc - This way-funny chase scene is all about the hills (and a salute to that ever-present VW Beetle from Bullitt - see clip above). Against all odds, director Peter Bogdanovich, and stars Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand, completely subvert their massive 70s-era egos to pay delightful homage to the screwball comedy. When I was little, I thought Streisand was the perfect adult, based on her zaniness in this movie. But Madeline Kahn as mega-uptight Eunice Burns is so ridiculously funny (always). See it for her.

Living On Tokyo Time - It's a miracle there's any clips of this available at all because it hasn't been out on video (and never has been available on DVD that I know of) for years. It features aimless slacker, Ken, wandering the city, playing his guitar while failing at relationships. When he agrees to marry a Japanese emigre so she can get her green card, deadpan emotional repression and potential heartbreak ensues.

The amateur acting and direction make this a hard watch for some. But this film truly captures a lost moment in time (1987 or so) when regular working Joe's could afford to live in the city (with roommates, using dining rooms, sun-porches and stairwells as extra bedrooms), slag away at low-paying jobs, while playing in ne'er-do-well garage bands on the side.

Medicine for Melancholy - What's it like to be a young African American couple (if only for one night) living in the least proportionately African American-populated city in America? If you watch this low-budget gem, you'll have a very good idea. Director Barry Jenkins would famously go on to win a Best Picture Academy Award in 2016 for his Moonlight.


Also see:
Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
The Maltese Falcon
THX 1138

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frankie Smith - Double Dutch Bus (with some lyrics)

My favorite lyrics (this would make a great one-act play, for all of you taking drama this semester):

FRANKIE: Hilzi, gilzirls! Yilzall hilzave t' milzove ilzout the wilzay silzo the gilzuys can plilzay bilzasket-bilzall
(Hey girls! Y'all have to move out the way so the guys can play basketball)

GIRLS: I say wizzat? Nizzo-izzo wizzay!
(Say what? No way!)

FRANKIE: Yizzall bizzetter mizzove!
(Y'all better move!)

GIRLS: I say wizzat? Willze illzain't millzovin'...
(Say what? We ain't movin!)

FRANKIE: Shillzu-gillzar! ....., bilzzaby!

GIRLS: Willze illzare plizzayin' dizzouble dizzutch!
(We are playin' double dutch)

FRANKIE: Millze cillzan sillzome ....plilzay dilzzouble dilzutch!
( double dutch!)

GIRL: Hilzzoo?

FRANKIE: My gizzirl!
(My girl!)

GIRL: Brillzing her izzin!
(Bring her in!)

FRANKIE: Izzo kizzay!

GIRL: Izzall rizzight...
(All right...)

FRANKIE: Izzo kizzay!

GIRL: Izzall rizzight! Nizzow wizzee wilzzo-izzo-zee!
(All right! Now we will see!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

R. Crumb Draws God

R. Crumb has been hard at work on The Book of Genesis and now it's available for all to see. USA Today did a phone interview with him and I love his description of trying to draw God, which he admits is "hard." The image came to him in a dream.

"I ended up with the old stereotypical Charlton Heston kind of God, long beard, very masculine. I used a lot of white-out, a lot of corrections when I tried to draw God."

How would you draw God? I kind of see God as an Aretha Franklin figure myself.

-Image and quote from USA Today.
-The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles is showing the original 207 pages of the book, plus cover and title pages, through February.
-NY Times R. Crumb Genesis sideshow - demented yet thoughtful Bible stuff!
-More illustrated Bible stories, made entirely out of Legos - The Brick Testament.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

1989 World Series Earthquake Game Revisited

This week is the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and the SF Main Library is hosting an evening of remembrances tonight (see below). I thought I'd do the same here. The day of the quake, filmmaker Jon Leonoudakis brought his VHS camcorder to Game 3 of the 1989 World Series at Candlestick Park. I just brought my hefty Canon AE-1. And unfortunately those cameras aren't auto-focus, because after that 6.9 hit, my hands were pretty shaky. This is what I managed to assemble as I walked around the park that day.

Here's my ($40!) ticket, which I saved to remember how safe I was in my seat. When the earthquake hit on October 17th at 5:04, there were 60,000 fans in the stands, many of them quite drunk and ready for the Giants to best the A's after two bad losses in Oakland. Because of the rowdy crowd, I initially thought the quake was the sound of thousands of stomping feet overhead. Then I noticed the arms of our seats were shaking like a vibrating chair gone amok. My brother and I made pop-eyed contact with one another at that point, realizing we were in deep shit. I looked up at the dark, foreboding upper deck above our heads. It was moving in concentric circles and fluttering in a way that can only be described as concrete Jell-O. "Concrete is not supposed to do that," I thought, and I had a flashback to an amazing oceanography class I had taken at SFSU where I learned much about earthquakes.

The 15 seconds of back-and-forth motion I was feeling was indicative of the worst kind of earthquake. This type of motion tends to cause the most damage because two plates of land mass are moving against each other in opposite directions for an extended length of time. Don't ask me how I knew all that in less than a minute. Let's just acknowledge that education is a good thing. And a scary thing, because while the majority of fans were cheering the end of the quake (not knowing the damage yet), I was sitting very still, very pale, waiting for the entire park to collapse on top of me and my immediate family, killing all of us instantly. When that didn't happen, I mentally thanked cold, miserable Candlestick Park, momentarily the most beautiful ballpark of all time, and decided to get some photos.

The elderly couple from Wisconsin sitting directly behind us scooted out of their seats as soon as the shaking stopped, and with a look of grim determination on both their faces, left the park immediately. But we of the Bay Area stuck around longer, not knowing what else to do, and maybe thinking the game would get going somehow. We were really pumped for that series, obviously.

Look at the old-timey scoreboard. They don't make 'em like this any more.

After the quake, anyone who could, went out on the field. That meant players, management, their families, cops, and journalists. I don't blame them. I wanted to go there too and get away from all the potentially loose concrete.

Candlestick was definitely a rock. Despite some crumbling stairs on the upper deck, she held firm.

We in the stands, salute you, Candlestick.

When the electricity didn't come back on, we knew the game was not happening, but no one wanted to leave for a while because no one knew what was going on outside the park. Well, some of us did, like the guy in the stands who brought a portable TV. He let us watch the news footage of the collapsed section of the Bay Bridge and the tragically pancaked Cypress Freeway in Oakland. My photos from that point on got a lot blurrier.

I had a great shot of shocked Giants here but a guy walked in front of me. That's the bill of his cap, getting in the way. He immediately turned around and apologized for walking through my shot. My brief annoyance turned into a bout of "looking at the big picture." We were all fine after a huge earthquake, sir. Don't worry about it.

The police (with Will Clark) were just as mystified as anyone else as to what was going on.

The press, doing their thing with Roger Craig, or trying to.

I don't know why I didn't get some A's shots. Was it bias? My family has been rooting for the Giants for my entire life, even though they moved from San Francisco to the East Bay almost 50 years ago. They're true fans, I guess, or just insane. Same thing.

I did see a group of very dolled-up women in the box seats, lower deck, that made me think, oh, an escort service must have gotten some primo tickets today. Then I realized that the group consisted of Jose Canseco's wife and her friends. I know that's rude, but I honestly thought they were a group of prostitutes out for a day excursion. Perhaps it was the skin-tight leather jumpsuits, voluminous frosted hair, and severely long nail tips in shades of shocking fuchsia. Sorry, Mrs. former Canseco.

The story of Dave Dravecky and his arm is poignant.

I reported my findings to my family and we convened in the parking lot. My dad and my brother watched upsetting footage of quake damage on a fellow fan's portable TV. This guy also shared some beers with my dad. People were calm and nice that day and remained so throughout the week.

My mom with Candlestick in the background. I was so grateful to that ballpark for keeping my family safe. Hat's off, Candlestick Park at Candlestick Point.

We decided to head over to Grandma Tocha's since she lived a couple of miles from the park. She was, at the time, attending a funeral of one of her brothers in Arizona, but her renters, who lived in her (illegal) garage-apartment, let us into the house. When her family expressed concern over the earthquake, Grandma, not knowing the magnitude yet, reportedly told them, "Oh, we get those all the time." That's a classic Grandma Tocha story. I just threw it in there.

Grandma was a hoarder, which served us well. I somehow found her scented floral candles and her portable radio (with batteries). We all celebrated by finishing off a box of Scooter Pies for dinner. You could always count on her for a good meal.

And luckily, her neighborhood was one of the first to get the electricity back on that night. We were then able to obsessively watch earthquake footage on the news until finally giving up and going to bed early. Earthquakes are stressful and even if you're not hurt in one, they are exhausting.

My parents and brother headed back to the deep East Bay the next day, leaving me at my Fillmore Street flat with five dollars in my pocket. We forgot the banks couldn't open until the electricity came back on in the rest of the city, which would take a few days for the most part. My roommate Aya lent me a twenty and we spent the afternoon walking around the Marina, gaping at the buildings that had fallen off their foundations and landed in the middle of their streets. We gasped and vowed never to live in a corner apartment built over multiple garages made of brick. Especially in the Marina. It didn't matter, because we would never be able to afford to live in the Marina anyway, earthquake or no.

Ten days later, my family and I were back at Candlestick for the make-up game. It was a little scary to be there again, but also kind of uplifting. We had somehow come through a terrible disaster and if it hadn't been for the World Series, many more people would have been commuting on the freeways at 5:04, so baseball did actually save some lives.

At 5:04, the cast of Beach Blanket Babylon, led by Mr. Peanut, sang "San Francisco" with the crowd. Nothing bad can happen when Mr. Peanut is in charge. And except for the Giants getting pummeled, it was a fine day.

Close-up on Mr. Peanut

Original interrupted television broadcast.

The opening to the make-up game, two weeks later, featuring a rousing sing-along to San Francisco. I tear up whenever I watch this.

Giants and A's reminisce on SFGate.

Tonight at 6:30 the San Francisco Main Library is hosting 5:04 PM: A First Person Account of the 1989 World Series Earthquake Game. The write-up: Using video and photographs along with local and national television news reports and photographs, filmmaker and baseball fan Jon Leonoudakis brings viewers back to that fateful day. A discussion follows the film.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What's On Your Wall? - Audrey Ng

It's time for What's On Your Wall? A little while back I asked for people to send some photos of what's on their walls. Typically, no one on this blog responded, but good ol' Facebook never lets me down (except when it's crapping out on me constantly, like it has all this month--but that's another write-up).

I went to high school with Audrey long ago in the wilds of Concord, California. She's now living and working in Amsterdam, teaching mixed media and sculpture and co-chairing her department at an academy of fine art and design. Thank you for letting us take this enjoyable look at your walls, Audrey! (All captions are her own.)

My mom as a young girl. I swiped it from her. For whatever reason it was already cut out like that and I ended up putting it in a little vintage frame with colored paper.

My dad during the mad men era. It's been taken on 11th Avenue in San Francisco where my grandparents used to have a laundry. I put it in the vintage frame (I collect them from thrift stores).

Grammar rules both in English & Dutch.

I scored this bulletin board at the thrift store for 1 euro. I consider it a painting and it hangs above my sofa.

Another thrift store find. Hangs in my kitchen!

My own art. A linen 'painting' where I cut a hole in the linen and repaired it.

Thrift store again. 'Pien' has immortalized her cats, Grommetje, Hars & Japie in intaglio prints.
Close up of Japie.

I ordered this from etsy. It's a crocheted mickey mouse purse for a little girl but I consider it art.

My own art again. An art multiple which I made with all kinds of synthetic sponges which I call 'Blind Spot.' I have a bunch of these hung up on my 'office' wall.

From the equivalent to the dollar store, fill in the colors yourself canvas.

Little memo pad purchased from one of those junky asian variety stores on Clement Street.

Picture of grandma in the late 80's taken with one of those novelty plastic cameras with a little wheel in the lens to make 4 photos in one frame.

Vintage googly eye postcard with the eyeballs missing.

Found art.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Gosselin Saga - YOU do the math

I go back and forth with the Gosselins. A big part of me wants to point my finger and make fun of them on a semi-constant basis. But then I remember their eight children and I think to myself, back off, Jack. Those kids can read now. And who am I to give even more fodder to potential playground bullies with unlimited access to the Internet?

But then Jon or Kate (lately almost always, it's Jon) does something obnoxious and I'm back to thinking: it's on. Ultimately, I've decided to approach their spectacular televised marital implosion from a mathematical angle. We've been doing a lot of math around here lately and it seems to be the only objective way to approach this particularly vexing problem: how to get Jon & Kate out of the media (and my life) forever. All answers hopefully will lead to null set, and a more peaceful Jon & Kate-less existence for all.

First, The Gosselin Formula for Unmitigated Disaster. We will build from this formula from here on in.

Let's take a look at the greater-than/less-than product endorsement ratio skew that exists between the Gosselins. Because Kate can string several sentences together in a coherent fashion, and because her kids are appealing to the public, she remains the bread-winner of the family. Jon's endorsement deals fall short.

Speculation for future endorsement deals still favor Kate.

If Jon wants to equal Kate (thus cancelling out her greater earning potential), it will have to be in the dating arena. The following data plot lines show Jon's most current relationship data in conjunction to Kate's potential relationship data if she were to pursue relationships of inverse proportions to Jon.

Word problems. Pencils ready? And begin.

Throughout the 1930s and 40s, the Dionne quintuplets by being put on display, made millions of dollars for the government of Ontario, their biological parents, and caretakers. They would not get claim to any of their earnings until 1998 when they reached a monetary settlement with the Canadian government. The Gosselin sextuplets and their twin sisters have attracted millions of viewers to TLC. How many decades in the future will it take for them to reach an amiable settlement to regain their privacy and sanity?

A.) 4-6 decades
B.) 8 decades due to appeals
C.) Oh please. As if.

Kate claims that Jon has taken $250,000 from their joint account. Jon claims he did no such thing and that he earned the money. If Jon's attorney can't legally represent Jon in the state of Pennsylvania, what happens when Kate tries to pay the electric bill?

A.) I need a drink.
B.) I need to throw out my television and computer.
C.) Wait a minute, why should I sacrifice? They're the assholes!

Jon claims he loves his girlfriend, Hailey, more than he loved his wife, Kate. He also said in a televised interview that he despises Kate. If love is N, how much more does he love Hailey? Show your work.

A.) N x 0 = 0
B.) N + other girlfriends on the side x 0 = 0
C.) This man is a nitwit, therefore he = 0

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Fabulous Dames of "The Big Sleep"

Until this week I had never seen the 1946 Howard Hawks classic. If that makes me a film-buff tosser, so be it—I have my reasons. But it was one of those films that haunted me in a "what if you die in a car crash and haven't seen The Big Sleep" way, so I bit the bullet and took a look.

It's super-dialogue heavy, but if you're a Raymond Chandler fan, that's definitely a good thing. The happy surprise for me was scene after scene of fabulous dames. Not just Lauren Bacall as possibly duplicitous Vivian Rutledge, and Martha Vickers as her doped-up, thumb-sucking sister, Carmen Sternwood, but dame after dame above and beyond these two fine-looking ladies.

And they're all completely turned on by Bogey as Philip Marlowe, who was 40 at the time, experiencing marital difficulties combined with a drinking problem, and having a love thing with 20-year-old Bacall throughout production. It must have been quite the ego-boost for a film icon heading into midlife (whatever gets you through the aging process). "The Big Sleep" would presage the James Bond franchise by a couple of decades, setting the stage for all kinds of heightened sexual innuendo and marvelous costuming.

I totally dig these 1945 fashions with their strong lines and luxurious textures. The shoulder pads alone could be considered adequate protective gear during a round of fisticuffs. And these dames may be trapped in a myriad of vulnerable situations, but they're tough and way sexed up throughout their various ordeals. Shooting off the metaphorical come-ons, they run circles around the Hayes censorship codes of the day.

I gathered some stills, celebrating a celebrator of strong, sexual women, and Mr. Howard Hawks (who, like a lot of his protagonists, was no angel, but that's another write-up). And now:

First up, Martha Vickers as Carmen. She is one hot, demented chick. Her scenes with Bogart were so good that studio execs, worried about Bacall's rising-star power, left a lot of Vickors on the proverbial cutting-room floor. Too bad! She's damn amazing. What if she and Humphrey had been an item? Her entire career trajectory might have been different and she wouldn't have had to co-star in such grade-Z fare as Captive Wild Woman. Our loss.

Quite an entrance.

Looking to meet someone new? Try chewing your hair...

...then fake unconsciousness. Physical contact will be made within three minutes of meeting.

A den of iniquity, kind of toned down for 40s-era sensibilities, but the exotic decor and its hidden camera hint at all kinds of underground activities.

Another great entrance. She's full of 'em.

No one got as much mileage out of the recurring line, "You're cute."

Next up, Lauren Bacall as Vivian. Love her lounge-wear--a look that would become popular again in the early 90s.

I'm not a huge Bacall fan. She always does her best, but her best just isn't good enough. She was good at posing, being a professional model, but acting was tough for her. And she was only 20. Must have been scary, being groomed for stardom at something that didn't come naturally.

A lot of Bacall's scenes feel forced to me, and so they were. While the "The Big Sleep" release was held up during wartime, Bacall's agent begged Hawks to re-shoot a bunch of scenes with her to beef up her performance. Coming off a bad role after her stylish and powerful debut in "To Have and Have Not," he was worried that her star would rise no more.

Hawks, figuring any love scenes between his leads could only help his film, agreed and so lots of glamour shots of Vivian were inserted in what was essentially a film noir detective story. Bogart historians love this stuff but I think it detracts from the toughness of the film and overshadows the convoluted plot (not even Chandler knew who killed one of his characters).

She does look good.

One of the big added scenes about "horse racing." Yeah, that's what they were talking about, horse racing.

More fabulous dames make this film a stand-out. For your consideration, a rare-book dealer, played by the great Dorothy Malone.

There's nothing sexier than a smart dame.

"Looks like we're closed." Mm-hmmm.

Lest anyone doubts what takes place behind closed doors during a rainstorm, this should clear it up  (fade to black).

The aftermath: "Thanks, pal." And no one gets punished, not even the single woman.

Across the street, rare books of another kind are being sold.

This retail employee might not know much about books, but her taste in brooches is impeccable.

A randy cab driver, about to give Marlowe her number.

I wish we could follow the storyline of these two ladies in their tailored menswear, but they're extras, destined to fade into the distance of our imaginations.

The Acme Bookstore is a sexy place.