Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Detective/Mysteries - Justine Johnson ""

Friday, June 13, 2014

Underrated Detective/Mysteries - Justine Johnson

Justine Johnson is an obsessive former video-store employee and current midnight movie curator at The Black Box in Providence, Rhode Island. You can reach her via the internet on Twitter @moviessexa.
Marlowe (1969)
Directed by Paul Bogart
Based on 'The Little Sister' by Raymond Chandler, Pre-Rockford Files James Garner plays the titular character of Phillip Marlowe. He is being hounded by a seemingly sweet, Orfamay West (played by Sharon Farrell from Night of the Comet!) to help her find her missing brother. Blackmail, bumbling cops (Carrol O'Connor!), back stabbing, strippers (Rita Moreno!), the mob and the destruction of his office by Bruce Lee were more than enough to win me over.

Partners (1982)
Directed by James Burrows
A serial killer is targeting gay men in San Francisco. What better way to find the monster than by having handsome, very straight and homophobic Ryan O'Neil go undercover as John Hurt's boyfriend? This film is insanely offensive and outdated in its appoach to the gay community with a tone that is shockingly sweet towards the end.

Fear City (1984)
Directed by Abel Ferrara
When I was working a slow shift at the video store a few years ago and randomly found this gem sitting on a shelf, I could not believe that I had never seen or heard of it before. Abel Ferrara? Tom Berenger? Billy Dee Williams? I watched it immediately and it exploded my brain. If there was ever a movie in which seemingly every seen was written, directed, and acted out while on the most cocaine that person has ever done, this would be it.

Miss Pinkerton (1932)
Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Pre-code Joan Blondell is a bored nurse recruited by a new detective to help with his first case. A young man from a wealthy family has seemingly committed suicide but nothing is as it seems. I could watch pre-code Joan Blondell do pretty much anything, on a loop for years straight. Has all the sassy dialogue and red herrings as one could ever hope for.

Blue Sunshine (1978)
Directed by Jeff Lieberman
Seemingly unconnected people in Los Angeles are losing their hair, and becoming violent maniacs. Strangely intense Jerry Zipkin is determined to uncover the cause. It may or may not have something to do with some LSD the people took ten years prior. So many reasons to watch this, including a life altering musical number involving a Barbara Streisand puppet.
Hammett (1982)
Directed by Wim Wenders
Produced by Francis Ford Coppolas shortlived Zoetrope studios, directed by Wim Wenders and starring Frederick Forrest. Amazing supporting cast of Peter Boyle, Marilu Henner and Elisha Cook Jr (from the Maltese Falcon!). Based on Joe Gore’s book of the same title, a fictionalised account of Hammett’s life. Heavy drinker and now full-time writer Hammett is drawn back into his past Pinkerton Detective days by an old friend. Coppola and Wenders famously disagreed about what direction the film should go in, causing Wenders to make a short film on the trials of production called Reverse Angle.

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