Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It's a Bitter Little World -- Charles Pappas

It's a Bitter Little World is a great little book. It's a collection, as the title plainly states, of "the smartest toughest mastiest quotes from film noir." It's organized by topic and then by decade within each topic. Some of the topics are "The Dicks and the Desperate," and "The Dames and the Mugs." You get the idea, right?

This is the kind of book that you sit down with to browse a little and then find yourself unable to stop reading. You'll find some great stuff here, but I'll resist the urge to quote everything in the book. A couple of samples won't hurt, though. Some are familiar, some aren't.

From The Phenix City Story:
Sid: What's he got that I haven't?
Elly: I don't know. I never went to kindergarten with you.

And from one that's always a favorite, The Maltese Falcon:
Wilmer: Keep on riding me. They're gonna be picking iron out of your liver.
Sam Spade: The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.

There's a nice introductory essay, and some entertaining appendices. My favorite is the one where celebrities give quotations from films that were never made. One example from Gary Hart, who titles his film The Last Free Election in America:
Gore: These are desperate men and they will stop at nothing.
Kerry: Now you tell me.

You should definitely check this one out.


Vince said...

I got this book as a gift from a friend who knows me too well. I've read it cover to cover twice. I like how Pappas breaks down the films chronologically within each section, giving you a sense of how the genre almost died out in the 1960s only to come roaring back. A terrific book that had me rearranging my Netflix queue.

Writeprocrastinator said...

I'm on it!