Successive stars have forged their name

in the heat of the cinema killing game.

Sylvester Stallone stands alone for

rampant destruction for a worthy cause;

Liam Neeson has added a frisson

of genuine grievance to other's malfeasance.

The list is endless but there'll always be

the biters of bullets for you and me.


The English have an admiration

for more subtle means of expiration;

poisoning, blunt instruments, stillettos,

the unseen but sensed unholy ghettoes.

In any shape or form it seems,

murder must be part of our dreams.






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Wed 30th Jan 2019 22:26

David , you make salient points about voyeurism , cinema itself has that fascination often enough, perhaps also TV; are we to be constantly weaned on it. Apparently so. Your link was quite riveting and stylish. Low key lighting helps the effect too. Thanks for that.

It's fair to say I think that the high churches rely largely on the middle classes to carry the banner these days. I noticed choristers are all from educated families. Not a criticism , but one can sense the separation from the poor in such ways . The frustrations of poverty must be closer to violence.

Mark, agreed about Hitchcock who I'm sure had more than enough voyeuristic tendencies himself. That's why he was good at the art. Note the spyhole in Norman's painting !

I can't honestly get involved in considerations of John Wayne, except to say that he seemed to me a pastiche figure who served the purposes of the studios. You and David have explored him more effectively than I could. I don't think that the reality of killing can ever be adequately portrayed on the screen dramas, though a seeming detachment of emotion might come close to it, as perhaps a sort of psychosis might be necessary in the act.
But I don't really know. Thanks for your thoughts.

Thanks all for liking: Big Sal, Dave and Anya(welcome back).

, Ray

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M.C. Newberry

Wed 30th Jan 2019 14:10

Wayne was an actor and playing service roles was part of the job;
as was playing western characters - for which he became famous.
Popular with the US public of the day for the way he portrayed his
various characters, he responded as any actor would - by making
himself available for public appearances - not always successfully
it seems. But that's part of the job he knew and did so well on the
screen for so many years. The way he conducted himself in his
late years, stricken by the cancer that would ultimately kill him
provides another way of seeing him..

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Wolfgar Miere

Wed 30th Jan 2019 02:00


I am not suggesting Wayne was a fraud as a human being but he was being portrayed as an American hero in a fraudulent way, no doubt in the full knowledge of the studios which engaged his captivating persona.

Shame I felt the need to qualify that, somehow thought it was obvious. Never mind.

I would have thought the reaction of those who experienced horror to be unquestionable when measured against those who hadn't, the portrayal of himself as somehow equal to their standing is absolutely disgusting and blatantly fraudulent.


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M.C. Newberry

Wed 30th Jan 2019 00:25

I recall the report that Alfred Hitchcock of "Psycho" fame was
personally unsettled by the sight of a policeman. But the notorious
shower murder scene in his most famous film was a masterpiece
of editing & music scoring that, when examined frame by frame,
does not show the deadly deed but, like the best of its genre,
leaves the viewers' imaginations to fill in the gaps.
Not sure about John Wayne being a "fraud". He was a top
screen actor who made more money for his studio than any in
film, and at the age of 35 was reported to be anxious to continue
a tempestuous 3yr love affair with Marlene Dietrich. His roles in
films that featured the armed services always brought credit
and good faith to the various characters he portrayed and he's on
record saying that he would never play "petty" or "mean". USO
appearances were booed but the audiences considered that he,
along with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Al Jolson, were just
Hollywood entertainers looking for good PR. Sinatra also
suffered a similar reception from forces personnel in those days.

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Wolfgar Miere

Mon 28th Jan 2019 20:04

Hi Ray,

No Benicio del Toro in Sicario, it's worth a watch if you haven't seen it. Spoiler alert on this clip though.


PS, my posting of the link reinforces the voyeuristic theory.

Films portraying poverty are unusual they are either horrific or somehow make a virtue of poverty. Various religions have made poverty virtuous, Christianity encourages the casting off of worldly riches. Don't see much of that attitude parked in church car parks on Sunday mornings these days. But then again our caring cuddly Prime Minister is a vicars daughter, what else could we expect.

Poverty is violence.


Incidentally John Wayne was booed off stage by Pacific campaign veterans when he visited them in Hawaii. Those who have lived in the real world can spot a fraud at a thousand paces, or in about 50 words.

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Mon 28th Jan 2019 15:54

Thanks for all the likes Isobel, Jon and Farawla.

Hi Big Sal. I wasn't aware of the DiCaprio film - but I enjoyed No Country as being quite perverse and the usual black humour serving. Amazing how John Wayne became such an American hero - they still keep on coming. Bond is good fantasy stuff in its way. Bias should be ok everyone has a place.

Cheers David. Yes, I thought the audio was quirky, but sort of suitable in context. Take away my humour and I am naked I must admit (not a pretty sight). An endless yearning seems to exist for how humans can be disposed of even in official sanctioned ways. I suppose its curiosity really. To think that Nilssen was influenced by the death of his grandfather and longed to replicate that feeling. I suppose the tie between murder and art could be said to be a real thing, as it has often been portrayed through the centuries, e.g Goya's works very graphic. I take your points about the national element - there is a suffocating atmosphere within that European period in their society that cries out for release perhaps with undertones of sexual expression. Deep waters here.
I must admit to an increased sensitivity to watch horror films lately, a sense of disgust maybe crept in. It is the voyeur that is always served best by cinema I suppose.
Are you referring to Guillermo del Torro the director in one of his own films? I find his work fascinating.
I'm rushing back to my early Hammer DVDs for safety !

Mark, a good point . Personal influences must always affect opinions and how they might be formed. We could apply that argument to pornographic films too - I personally think the link is too tenuous to be proved . We all need a release (or perhaps a cause to hide behind). Bring back Mrs Whitehouse I say.

Alan, thanks. Directors like Mike Leigh and Ken Loach have tried that, but always a niche market sadly. Poverty will never be exciting, so perhaps that is the answer. On another level, any attempt to draw attention to that will be viewed by many as hypocritical, so it is a no win situation (IMO).

As an afterthought, I find Midsomer Murders farcical yet beloved by the public. They are in a way safe, in the way humour was safe in the Carry on films. The unravelling of the motives by messrs plod would never happen in reality, not in front of an audience anyway.

I'll get my coat.

With respect to all who take the trouble . Ray

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Alan Travis Braddock

Mon 28th Jan 2019 14:58

Currently, Ray, the English - that's our government, that we voted for (not me but...) are killing people by poverty. Nobody is making nice exciting films about THAT.

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 27th Jan 2019 18:19

I recall the respected UK film critic Barry Norman defending the
film industry against the accusation that its depiction of violence
(perhaps better defined as the gratuitous sort) was instrumental in
affecting the unbalanced easily influenced mental state that some
possess and which might be encouraged by what is seen on the
screen as some sort of justification for what they feel they can
commit In "real life". His defence didn't sit easily with me - and
still doesn't. But, in fairness, his father Leslie Norman was an
influential figure in an earlier British film industry. .

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Wolfgar Miere

Sat 26th Jan 2019 23:25

Hello Ray,

I usually read your writing prior to listening to the accompanying audio, which often is somehow enlightening in that what seems serious when read is subverted by your delivery. Not that I'm making any great point really just an observation. I know you see humour in just about everything, a virtue I share to be honest.

Anyway moving on, the relationship between film and the portrayal of murder interests me. I mean is murder not an art form? Is it not one of the most extreme manifestations of expression? And how it fascinates our imaginings.

Environments are key to the setting of murder aren't they, I mean in cinematic terms. In early Hollywood westerns murder invariably takes place under the big open sky as if it's ultimate purpose was somehow freedom or for some greater good, Whereas many scenes are dark and forboding in much early European cinema, is it the sense of history or fear of the future that dictates these settings.

Cinema has made murder cool unfortunately, that said to the well adjusted mind such scenes are not dangerous but ask big moral questions and do so brilliantly.

There is a scene near the end of Sicario where Del Toro assassinates an entire family, albeit that of a nasty drug dealer and people trafficker. He does this whilst seated at a dining table where the family are enjoying an evening meal. The scene is horrific in nature, the wife and two small boys are killed first leaving the father to consider his part in all this for a few moments before his own death.

I don't really know why I relate this but it means something to me. I think even in perceived realistic Hollywood scenes there is something missing, it's too remote. People don't die so quietly or cleanly as that...I don't know, maybe we are all just voyeurs in a very sick way and it is not until we truly see the real act that we can actually feel repulsed by it.

Anyway I've rambled too much sorry.

I've murdered your dastardly poem.


Big Sal

Sat 26th Jan 2019 18:01

Bang, bang, goes the gun.🔫

Cowboy movies suck I think, most are cliched beyond saving. The one saving grace for me is “No Country for Old Men” by the Coen Brothers (don’t know how cowboy it really is though). A couple others worth mentioning, Django Unchained was a good one. DiCaprio played a sadistic Candy.🙌🏽

Even the old James Bond movies are still kick ass by today’s standards though. But hey i’m a biased little bastard today.😉

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