Archive for City of Fear

Fast Lerner

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on May 26, 2021 by dcairns

Excited to receive my copy of COLUMBIA NOIR 3 from Indicator. I’ve contributed a text essay on THE DARK PAST but what interests me most, asides from further contributions by pals like Pamela Hutchinson, Eddie Muller, Eloise Ross and Adrian Martin, is all the Irving Lerner stuff — short subjects that might be available somewhere online but which I mightn’t have tracked them down, critical writing by the man himself, and a reminder that he was an actual Soviet spy who risked the death penalty by photographing a Project Manhattan cyclotron…

I previously wrote about the Lerner film, CITY OF FEAR, here.

Things I Read Off the Screen in “City of Fear”

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on September 19, 2012 by dcairns

The bit with the tiny sailor.

Irving Lerner’s CITY OF FEAR forms the subject of a new piece by me at The Chiseler. Check it!

Vince Edwards steals a can of cobalt 60 but he doesn’t know what he’s got. He thinks it’s heroin. He spends the movie irradiating himself to death while he tries to find a buyer, and the anxious authorities try to track him down without triggering a mass panic.

The film is so stark and BARE that the climax, with all those boxy geiger counters crackling away, becomes almost luxurious when a few signs appear. Text decorates the screen for the first time — everything else in LA has looked like it’s already been nuked by a special detail-erasing device.

EXCLUSIVE CLEANERS. Yeah, it might be a little late for that, buddy.

Hilariously apposite. Edwards plays his character like a cockroach with delusions of grandeur. They say the cockroaches can survive being nuked… that’s where the resemblance ends.

DORIAN LTD, WESTERN NECKWEAR. Dorian Gray, the man whose sins catch up with him — struck down by an invisible corrupting influence. As for western neckwear, what IS western neckwear? I’ll tell you: it’s a NOOSE.

CAUTION: HIGH RADIATION AREA. How’s half-life treating you?