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30.11.2014
Chris is planning one of his very infrequent trips to New York for next Januarya€™s BSI weekend, and I think I know what aspect of it is on his mind. Ia€™ve just finished re-reading Irregular Crises of the Late a€?Forties which, of course, had to end just as the BSJ was about to be relaunched. Edgar Smith provided some of the desired information himself in a a€?Special Notice to a€?Old-Timea€™ Irregularsa€? that was included with some copies of the July 1951 issue sent out.
The press runs for each issue were already growing, he told the 60 graybeards: a€?Only 200 copies of Volume 1, Number 1 were printed, and 250 copies of Volume 1, Number 2.
Almost precisely a year ago, during my websitea€™s Great Hiatus, I received a BSI history question from John, so here it is, and Thucydidesa€™ answer. I recently thought maybe I could buy a copy of the same book by Grillparzer that Morley used for the original Irregulars, and I remembered Tom Stix once telling me that he owned the book, but didna€™t want to give it to the BSI, instead to pass it on to someone who would care for it.
Mike Whelan wrote me saying that Tom Stix never had possession of the Grillparzer Book, and that there are no copies extant because it was a blank book into which club members wrote short commentaries.
George Fletcher has an entire chapter describing Morleya€™s Grillparzer Book and its history in my BSI Archival History volume Irregular Memories of the a€™Thirties. Never used a typewriter, I think I said Adrian claimed (along with knowing his father better than anyone else living or dead).
As Peter says, a€?ita€™s hard to imagine anyone forging Juliana€™s signature to make some money, since he signed just about everything he sent to anyone . My recollection is about the same as Jima€™s, and along the following lines, althoughA uncertain after all these years.
The report at Stevea€™s link on Ye Sette of Odd Volumes makes interesting reading even if we fail to find a connection to the BSI. I know about Bostona€™s Club of Odd Volumes,A as Ia€™m sure you do, but this English outfit is new to me. Ita€™s possible Christopher Morley, deep-dyed bookman, was aware of Ye Sette of Odd Volumes. The other day I had the good fortune to meet a famous English printer who is visiting in this country; and instead of talking about Plantin and Caslon and Bruce Rogers we found ourselves, I dona€™t know just how, embarked on a mutual questionnaire of famous incidents in the life of Sherlock Holmes. How I wish therea€™d been a garrulous eye-witness to that meeting of Morley and Morison in New York in 1926! Now Smith might have been peeved with Ben Abramson, given the OS BSJa€™s collapse, butA I doubt he was a€?excommunicatinga€? him in giving Hoffman the same investiture in a€™52: Smith was a benign personality never given to nastiness even in exasperation, something clear from the many score letters of his in my Archival Histories. And then, Edgar Smith excommunicating the likes of David Randall, Rufus Tucker (Smitha€™s colleague at GM), Rolfe Boswell, or Belden Wigglesworth?
But even in 1985, when Julian Wolff had Peter Blaua€™s excellent lists to work from, and Tony Montag and Dean Dickensheet were both alive, he conferred Vamberry the Wine Merchant a third time, on Arthur Liebman. I appreciate the attempt by my opponent at Augusta€™s Great Debate at Minnesota over the Sherlockian insignificance of Fr.
The first three stock certificates were issued in January 1948 to Morley, Smith and Starrett. Miriam a€?Deea€? Alexander, Smitha€™s secretary at GM Overseas Operations at the time, and serving as Secretary-Treasurer of the BSI, Inc., had already received a share as a gift in recognition of her unpaid service.
I cana€™t say now whether Smith succeeded in unloading any more shares to any additional stockholders in the 1950s, but if he did, it would have been as a purely charitable act on the part of the new stockholders, because it was clear by then that the BSI Inc. Manfred Lee, half of the pair of cousins who were the mystery-writing team of Ellery Queen starting in the 1920s, was not a Baker Street Irregular, though he did attend the annual dinner in 1946.
ROBERT KATZ: I recollect hearing that the BSI once met at the Players Club and the speaker (possibly Leslie Marshall) ended his presentation by igniting a piece of flash paper, as used by professional magicians.
The Irregularsa€™ annual dinner was held at The Players on January and was attended by 100 thirsty enthusiasts. Of course, all of our customs were strictly observed, and the Conanical and Irregular toasts were drunk. It was a long time ago, 1971: the second dinner at The Players, I believe, falling beyond the scope of my Archival Histories but before my first annual dinner at the Regency Hotel (the second there) in 1973. With regard to Jim Montgomery, and the difference between membership in the BSI and the Irregular Shilling [see below], I dona€™t think we disagree . Roosevelt and Rathbone and Bruce received membership certificates, but so far as I know never Shillings nor Investitures .
Ia€™m reminded of the distinction that once was made between Irregular and irregular, but I dona€™t recall who started it . Ita€™s the same with my list of Sherlockian societies, which does not distinguish in any way between societies that are scions and those that are not . Actually, Don Pollock and I once wrote about a€?Packaging Holmes for the Paperbacksa€? that way in Baker Street Miscellanea (No. Rex Stout was well-known for his Nero Wolfe mysteries when in early January 1941 Irregular Lawrence Williams suggested to Edgar W. But in not too much time, the Irregulars decided Stouta€™s heart was in the right place (after all, Archie Goodwin in at least one Nero Wolfe book had mentioned a picture of Sherlock Holmes hanging on the wall of their West 35th Street office), and he became a regular at the dinners; soon with a place at the head table, and the investiture a€?The Boscombe Valley Mysterya€? (conferred in 1949).
In 1954, the Higher Criticism of the Wolfe Canon got underway with an article in Harpera€™s Magazine (July) by editor Bernard DeVoto. According to a friend of mine who belongs to the Baker Street Irregulars [DeVoto began], a paper by one of his colleagues suggests that Nero Wolfe may be the son of Sherlock Holmesa€™s brother Mycroft. DeVoto proceeded to spread frivolous speculation tricked out to look like scholarship across half a dozen pages in that montha€™s Harpera€™s, all for the purpose of confounding Irregular speculation about Nero Wolfea€™s parentage. DeVotoa€™s volley only encouraged Irregular speculation, and the principal word on the subject, a€?Some Notes Relating to a Preliminary Investigation into the Paternity of Nero Wolfe,a€? was published in the Baker Street Journal in 1956 by John D.
Back in 1942, at that Januarya€™s BSI dinner, Julian Wolff had responded to Stouta€™s a€?Watson Was a Womana€? with a talk of his own entitled a€?Nuts to Rex Stout.a€? Stout was not in attendance to hear it. Besides Baring-Gould, well known to Irregulars is John McAleera€™s biography Rex Stout in 1977.
Thata€™s right, and I didna€™t exactly find space for Woollcott in Baker Street Irregular -- he storms up the stairs to Morleya€™s hideaway office on West 47th Street, flings open the door, marches in, and seizes control of the secret meeting going on between Morley, Elmer Davis, Edgar W. However, the sad lack of a good old-fashioned bodice ripping in the previews of Baker Street Irregular is a discouragement for further page turning. I dona€™t know that Ia€™d call it seismic, exactly; though I wouldna€™t call it joyous either. I suspect the attrition rate among men in these scions due to the change of policy by the BSI is close to zero, though it did affect the allegiance of some to the BSI itself.
And now that women do have seats at the national table, why, in your view,A have we seen so little classic Sherlockian scholarship from women or leadership at the scion level? Many scion societies today do have women at the helm, on the other hand, and not only recently founded scions. The question is whether Woollcott was expected by Morley that night, or instead came as an unwelcome surprise to him.
I cana€™t swear that Smith invited Woollcott to the 1940 dinner, or subsequent ones prior to Woollcotta€™s death in January 1943. The saga of the Holmes Peak will have to await another historian to do it and its Head Sherpa, the late Richard Warner, full justice, Bob. As if to prove that the age of Sherlockian fun is far from over, let us turn to 1985a€™s humorous highlight, Richard Warnera€™s guide to the ascent of Holmes Peak.
But time and Warner prevailed, and in this little chapbook, with a foreword by Michael Hardwick who represented the Empire at the dedication of Holmes Peak, Warner relates all one needs to know in order to scale this lofty monument to the best and wisest man we have ever known. Buster Keaton could not do it better than the deadpan Warner, without whom Holmes Peak might never have been named (or even noticed).
It is a lovely hill, what in the Ozarks would be called a a€?bald knoba€? (that means no trees, for the less botanically astute), and the view is very fine.
Dicka€™s case, boiled down, was that as Sherlock Holmes was once employed by the Vatican, naming the Peak after him qualified as meaningful to the Bishopa€™s work. Billa€™s contributions to the BSI and our understanding of its history are legion, but his masterpiece is his splendid history of a piece of Irregular folklore bestowed upon the BSI at the end of the a€™40s by its greatest musical voice, James Montgomery (a€?The Red Circlea€?) of Philadelphiaa€™s Sons of the Copper Beeches: We Always Mention Aunt Clara.
Will Oursler was invested in the BSI in a€?The Abbey Grangea€? in 1956, preceded in that investiture by his father Fulton Oursler whoa€™d received it in 1950. Bill Vande Water has been engaged for some time in deep research on both Ourslers, for both the BSI and Mystery Writers of America, and if he ever finishes it, it should be the definitive account of the two men in our sphere. Can any reader shed light on this?A  Please let Thucydides know at the email address at the top of the column. I mean I have wracked my brain over 1940s Warner Bros actresses who would be " remembered mostly for her role in a 1960s musical role" and the two seem mutually exclusive! This Vintage Movie Poster Forum is powered by some old cinema posters, the flame retardant properties of a Top Gun Daybill, and a British Quad which has been folded just the right amount of times and shoved under one of the corners to stop the place from wobbling. A strange group of people converge on remote, eerie Glennye Castle which is reputedly haunted by the ghost of a monk. When the First World War broke out in 1914, I left Paris on the last train out of the city and escaped to Vienna.
He was asked to play the role of an Austrian lieutenant who was captured by the French in a play produced by the Red Cross Theater.
In 1921 Lang began collaborating with scenarist Thea von Harbou, who will become his second wife. The longer Lang worked in the German film industry, the more he felt himself a bona fide German; in due course he took German citizenship. Die Nibelungen: Siegfried, the first part of Lang's Nibelungen is filled with pageantry, which is best exemplified by the elaborate scene depicting Siegfried's stately funeral cortege. Some of Lang's early films, such as Die Nibelungen were produced when the movement known as Expressionism had a significant impact on the German silent cinema. For example, in part 1 of Die Nibelungen, Siegfried is clearly portrayed as a larger-than-life hero, symbolizing the virtues of courage and honor associated with Germany's legendary heroes. Metropolis, for all its genius, was a sensational and astronomically costly flop in Germany, of such disastrous proportions that it bankrupted Ufa, the nationally financed film studio of Weimar Republic.
Asked for his reflections on the film's message, Lang replied, "When I looked at the picture after I had completed it, I was convinced that you cannot solve a country's social problems by such a message.
Undaunted by the bankruptcy of his home studio, Lang next cranked out a couple of competent exercises in genre (something he was always capable of doing), Spies (Spione, 1928) and The Woman in the Moon (Die Frau im Mond, 1929), a sci-fi thriller.
The working title of M was The Murderers among Us, since the film was about a sexual psychopath who violates and murders little girls.
Lorrea€™s terrifying rant is an anomaly in what is an essentially cold Langian cinematic landscape. Langa€™s only film made in France, Liliom (1934), was given contradictory reviews at the time, no doubt in part because halfway through the film, the eponymous lead, a Parisian mauvais garA§on played by Charles Boyer, leaves the Parisian zone for a fantastic journey to heaven. In any case, Lang remembers that the front office took one look at Fury, his harrowing study of mob rule, and decided that it was too grim to appeal to the mass audience. Lang was invited to United Artists to make his next picture, You Only Live Once (1937), and he accepted the offer. Be that as it may, Lang's version of Ministry turned out to be one of his most accomplished spy melodramas.
During the period when Lang was filming his anti-Nazi movies, he also made two film noir classics which featured the same leads (Edward G. Woman in the Window pulled its punch by having the Robinson character wake up from a nightmare at the end, but Scarlet Street reduced him to being a homeless street bum, haunted by the murder that he pinned on Joan Bennetta€™s boyfriend (Dan Duryea, who is executed unjustly) and for which he had escaped prosecution. Langa€™s career foundered a bit after the war, when he completed only three nondescript films in six years. In Rancho Notorious Lang employed a theme song even more effectively than he did in Scarlet Street. In 1952, the same year Rancho Notorious was released, Lang found himself out of work for several months. When I came to this country in 1934, I was asked to join several anti-Nazi organizations; and I did join one.
It seems that someone from the American Legion had gone to the studio's front office and said, 'We have no proof that Lang is a Communist, but we know that he has friends who are. Forda€™s choice not to proceed with his vendetta is valorized in The Big Heat, for it represented a triumph in the fight against fate, a struggle that Lang embraced at least since Destinya€?s heroine tried to cheat Death out of her boyfriend. As Lang himself observed in an extended interview with Peter Bogdanovich, one of the most important transformations in his work from the German to the American period was a shift in focus from Nietzschean supermen like Mabuse, Siegfried or the Master of Metropolis to depictions of 'average Joe' protagonists, played so convincingly by Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford. By the mid-a€™50s, however, Lang was fed up with fighting the collaborative studio system and all the creative compromises it demanded. When Lang returned to Berlin in 1958, he went virtually unrecognized in the capital that he once took by storm.
What's more, Lang consistently expressed his personal vision both in his German and his American films: that is, his conviction that each of us must valiantly struggle against Fate in an indifferent universe in order to emerge from the contest bloodied but unbowed. In short, Lang was able to impose the personal stamp of his thematic vision on his films while working in the American film industry, just as he had done while working in the German film industry. During his last years Lang received official recognition for his life work throughout the world.
I mean the quotation from the bar bill at some long-ago BSI Dinner, listing the number of whiskies, gins, and scotches consumed, and "1 beer"? Anxious to avoid another failure through lack of support, he was appealing to 60 BSI a€?old-timersa€? (a€?in order to spread the clerical load, and to facilitate the voluntary work by which alone the Journal can keep goinga€?), to renew their subscriptions for 1952 right away without waiting for the renewal form that would accompany the October issue, the final one of the year.
1 and 2 a€?reproduction issuesa€? had to wait until the NS BSJ seemed securely on its feet, its subscriber base grown to a safe point and new subscribers seeking copies of the first two Numbers. I contacted Mike Whelan about it: I thought he would know enough about it that I could get another copy. Someone (dona€™t remember who it was) who fancied himself a bit of a conjuror was at the head table, which included Alfred Drake as then-president of The Players, and seated next to Drake. Julian told me later that the bar bill was of the magnitude of treble the food bill.A Thing was, the bartenders, of whom there were several, strategically located around the rooms,A were pouring generously, including for themselves, encouraging BSIs to put down their partially consumed glasses and get fresh ones -- and soon lost the ability to check off accurate numbers of drinks served.
A Both for its own sake, and because it suggests what the typewriter that Conan Doyle owned in the early 1890s may have been like. Symons a€” author of The Quest for Corvo a€” and am thus reading his brother Juliana€™s biography of him.
The notiona€™s wrong, and theA tip-off should have been the misapprehensiona€™s source a€” S. All it takes is to know the notiona€™s absurd is to look up what men Smith supposedly excommunicated. The first comprehensive if imperfect list of investitures and holders I know of is one by C. Ronald Knox, to explain away such an elementary (let us say, fundamental) mistake on Knoxa€™s part, but Ia€™m reminded, a bit sadly, of the famous exchange between Dr. Smith started talking to Christopher Morley about incorporating the BSI sometime the summer of 1947, both to create a lucrative publishing program (they thought), and to manage takeover of the BSJ if Ben Abramsona€™s publishing of it collapsed (as it did in 1949).
His cousin Frederic Dannay first attended it in 1942, and became part of the BSI for the rest of his long life (dying in 1982), and was invested as a€?The Dying Detectivea€? in 1950. I think the noted actor Alfred Drake was sitting next to the speaker and was, needless to say, quite startled by this.


The Constitution and Buya€”Laws, as well as the Musgrave Ritual and Sherlock Holmesa€™s Prayer, were read, and the Sherlockian songs of Jim and Bruce Montgomery were played and enjoyed. So I asked Jim Saunders (a€?The Beryl Coroneta€?) and George Fletcher (a€?The Cardboard Boxa€?), both invested in 1969, for their memories.
Nash was, Morley once said, one of the Doubleday, Doran a€?assembly mena€? present at the speakeasy in the East a€™Fifties in 1930 when Morley was commissioned to write his a€?In Memoriama€? foreword for the first Complete Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps the matter can be cleared up when I get to the a€™Fifties volumes of the Archival History, or perhaps Peter Blau or someone else can shed light on this. Smith that Stout would be a good person to attend the up-coming 1941 annual dinner (held the 31st) and respond to some awful things Somerset Maugham had said about the Sherlock Holmes stories in a recent Saturday Evening Post article. He had already turned down an invitation from favorite-contributor Elmer Davis to join the Baker Street Irregulars, on grounds of silliness. I cannot find the treatise that contains this absurdity and mention it only as an example of the frivolous speculation tricked out to look like scholarship with which the Holmes cult defrauds the reading public. A strident anti-isolationist before Pearl Harbor, he was off creating the Writers War Board to support the U.S. In 1961, when he became the BSIa€™s Commissionaire, he created the honor known as the Two-Shilling Award a€?for extraordinary devotion to the cause beyond the call of duty,a€? and the first one went that January to Rex Stout. You cana€™t copyright titles of books, and if you could, this one would belong to the Conan Doyle Estate;-- fortunately, my client in a different sphere of my Irregular life. How heavily attended are the all-male scion societies these days, setting aside the Pips, as it is not a scion society? The all-male scion societies 20 years ago that occur to me were The Maiwand Jezails of Omaha, Hugoa€™s Companions of Chicago, Philadelphiaa€™s Sons of the Copper Beeches, The Speckled Band of Boston, and The Six Napoleons of Baltimore. It has been a long time since the a€?Junior Sherlockian movementa€? of the 1960s replenished the BSIa€™s ranks during the a€™70s, and since the comparable a€?Sherlock Holmes booma€? of the 1970s flowed from the successes of the Royal Shakespeare Company revival of William Gillettea€™s Sherlock Holmes and Nicholas Meyera€™s novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.
I need to point out that the first woman to be an Irregular, mystery critic Lenore Glen Offord (a€?The Old Russian Womana€?), was tapped way back in 1958, but I also acknowledge that it didna€™t include invitations to the BSIa€™s annual dinners.
So far, in the Manuscript and International Series published by the BSI, why am I not seeing womena€™s bylines more often, if at all? Ita€™s a question youa€™d have to address to ones directly responsible for those series of books published by the BSI, or to the Big Cheese himself, Mike Whelan, who has also presided over the International Series from the start, I believe.
He was of course a notorious enfant terrible, and Ia€™m sure not above crashing a party given by a fellow book-caresser like Christopher Morley. But he sent Woollcott a copy of his 1939 Appointment in Baker Street lavishly inscribed to Woollcott as Baker Street Irregular, and Woollcott appears on Smitha€™s December 5, 1940, BSI membership list given in my BSJ Christmas Annual a€?Entertainment and Fantasya€?: The 1940 BSI Dinner. He has only one scene with a speaking part, and that in June 1940, but he was such a Fabulous Monster it was great fun to write him into the tale. As you know, ita€™s been my steadfast intention from the start to cover the years 1930 to 1960, when Edgar Smith died and Julian Wolff succeeded him, and then stop, since the decades which followed are too recent for sound historical judgments.
Those acquainted with the doings of The Afghan Perceivers of Tulsa know well the daring of their intrepid exploits, which have struck awe (and some terror) in small towns throughout the American Southwest. To have been at the dedication last summer, complete with the Afghanistan Perceiversa€™ widely dreaded drum-and-bugle corps, must have been a marvelous one-of-a-kind occasion; but much of its charm and wit is surely captured in this little chapbook. When Bishop Eusebius Beltran told Dick that the hill needed a name a€?more meaningful to his work,a€? a lesser mortal would have taken no for an answer, and returned to whatever one does on a windswept prairie. This letter was promptly bounced back to the esteemed Bishop Eusebius Beltran (fiction writers, I defy you to create a more dazzling cognomen), who replied on behalf of his Pontiff.
Rabe will get a chapter of his own in the first a€?Fifties volume of the Archival History, along with his Old Soldiers of Baker Street (the Old SOBs). I find I reviewed this item myself in Baker Street Miscellanea when it came out in 1990, see here. Katz: Will Ourslera€™s talks at BSI dinners are said to be legendary, although I am not sure why.
But I doubt that anyone who does not remember her for anyone else would "remember" her for The Sound of Music. It is one of the all time successful movie musicals and in Australia is screened regularly on either free to air or subscription television.
His place in film history is equally high, for he is generally considered to be one of the genuine pioneers of motion picture history. But he was often dissatisfied with the liberties taken with his scripts when they were filmed.
Langa€™s first wife was named Lisa Rosenthal although no source is absolutely positive about that.
The critics found the technical effects that Lang employed in this exotic fantasy original and impressive, and the movie proved to be his first international success. In his book From Caligari to Hitler, Siegfried Kracauer suggests that such scenes in the film foreshadowed the pageantry of the parades and processions at the Nazi rally portrayed in Leni Riefenstahl's documentary Triumph of the Will (1935). Moreover, Lang underscores the fact that he is depicting the adventures of a legendary superhero by placing Siegfried in vast, Expressionistic settings that match the grandeur of the heroic national epic he is portraying on the screen.
This is evident in its spectacular Expressionistic sets, such as the three-tiered city of Metropolis itself, and in its larger-than-life characters, most notably Dr. Visionary in its scope and innovation, childish in its treatment of political and romantic themes, Metropolis is a magical behemoth that still leaves contemporary film students shaking their heads in wonder.
He later decided to abbreviate the film's title to the single letter 'M', which is short for 'murderer'.
Die Neue Sachlichkeit (a€?The New Objectivitya€™) was a grittily realistic and highly popular artistic style in Berlin in the late a€™20s, and its influence would help Lang overcome his early obsession with the fantastic. Like Spielberg, he could make a good action-adventure movie, and like Lucas he was fascinated with futurism, but like both of them he could come off as either naively sentimental or simply out of touch with the human side of things. As an elite member of the German film industry, like his friend Erich Pommer, he was able to make extensive preparations for his departure from an increasingly anti-Semitic and xenophobic Berlin. Many of Liliom's critics also pointed out the national hybridity of the film, which was based on a play by the Hungarian playwright Frederic Molnar, produced by the renowned Ufa producer Erich Pommer, and directed by Germanya€™s most famous director, Fritz Lang. Selznick, who represented Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at the time; on 1 June 1934, Lang met with Selznick in London and signed a contract to direct films for MGM in Hollywood. Finally he advised the front office that he had come across a four-page synopsis of a story by Norman Krasna called Mob Rule, about lynch law; the studio gave him the green light. Lang's second American film dealt with a man who, like Joe Wilson in Fury, faces death for a crime he did not commit.
A ladiesa€™ man accustomed to a lavish lifestyle, he struggled with bouts of depression as the time between pictures grew. The last-named film was derived from a novel by Graham Greene, whom Lang had always admired.
Robinson and Joan Bennett) and similar themes: Woman in the Window (1944) and Langa€™s personal favorite from the period, Scarlet Street (1945). Scarlet Street was also the first time Lang ran afoul of the Hays Office, which objected to his protagonist getting away with the crime. That's when I thought of having him wake up to discover that he had fallen asleep in an armchair at his club. From the opening credits, where the cheery strains of the song give no hint of the road to hell Chris will take, to the thunderous Wagnerian finale, the song is heard in numerous versions, each one more emotional than the last. Rancho Notorious was one of the first dramatic films to use a title song composed especially for the film; it is sung during the opening credits and then repeated at various times throughout the film to comment on the action. He discovered that he had been blacklisted in Hollywood because there was suspicion in some quarters that he might be a Communist.
On the letterhead of this society I saw the names of novelist Thomas Mann and other eminent Germans, so I signed my name to the list of members. Clash by Night (1952), The Blue Gardenia (1953), The Big Heat (1953) and Human Desire (1954) are definitive works of late film noir, full of expressionistic chiaroscuro and hothouse desires.
While some Langian protagonists seem to have no choice at all (Hans Beckert in M and Eddie Taylor [Henry Fonda] in You Only Live Once being preeminent examples), others exert their will admirably and do the right thing despite the strong temptation to do otherwise (Glenn Ford in both The Big Heat and Human Desire). The bleakness of German expressionism gave way to a guarded optimism in the Glenn Ford films, which no doubt reflected the mellowing impact of over two decades in Hollywood. A deep thinker (a rare commodity in Hollywood), his work exhibited a surprising disconnect with human emotion, a charge often leveled at another of cinemaa€™s deep thinkers, Stanley Kubrick.
As a result, he thereby built up throughout his career a single, coherent body of work, which clearly demonstrates his eminence as one of the first auteur directors. He accepted the Golden Ribbon of Motion Puicture Arts at the 1963 Berlin Film Festival; and in 1965 the French government bestowed on him the award of Officier des Arts et Lettres. A prolific music and theater critic in Los Angeles area newspapers and magazines, he died in May, seated at his keyboard writing a review when the fatal heart attack came.
Ia€™m sure Tom said he had it and did not want to pass it on to the BSI, and even more sure it wasna€™t a a€?blanka€? book: why was it called the Grillparzer Book if it was blank?
He received the Two-Shilling Award in 1983 for the immense help he gave Julian Wolff with the BSJ over many years, and was its actual publisher a number of years when he ran Fordham University Press. Based on the description of the bartending, it was a case of if you can remember it you weren't there.
This Irregulara€™s shtick (excuse me, a€?papera€?) included, and ended with, igniting a bit of flash paper that erupted and fell from his hand onto the tablecloth, thus landing in Drakea€™s immediate proximity. I recall one bartender as being just this side of falling-down drunk.A Many BSIs were only too happy to get a fresh one when the old ice cubes had dwindled or the mixer had lost its fizz, or some combination thereof, and I recall the vast array of partially consumed drinks sitting all over the place. A His dreadful son Adrian swore that his father never owned or used one, but in fact Conan Doyle mentions having one in letters written from South Norwood, though it appears his sister Connie, living there at the time, used it mostly to prepare replies to correspondence hea€™d received.
But Bigelow had only been invested in 1959, hadna€™t known Smith long or well, was outside the mainstream of the BSI, and looking for a reason to explain his receiving an investiture someone else still in the ranks had.
Leslie Marshall (a€?A Scandal in Bohemiaa€?), who returned to the fold after many yearsa€™ absence. Stix, Jr.), by Bill Jenkins a€” to end a€” the reports of the Scion Societies, followed by the usual informal discussions. And then your old fellow saddle-tramp Lenore Carroll touched on the same thing in a€?Exploring a€?The Country of the Saintsa€™: Arthur Conan Doyle as Western Writera€? in BSM 51 (Autumn 1987). In stating here the insoluble problem which will always frustrate biographers of Nero Wolfe I confine myself, as a member of the American Historical Association in good standing, to examining the source documents according to the approved methods of historical research. Baring-Gould, already the author of Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street and editor of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, made the idea a foundation-stone of another book, Nero Wolfe of West 35th Street. My experience of Hugoa€™s Companions is limited, and nil in the case of The Maiwand Jezails and Speckled Band, but none of them have changed their policies.
Even the wave of newcomers from the television series starring Jeremy Brett that debuted in 1984 was a long time ago now. Leavitta€™s expostulations to the contrary in his 1961 BSJ two-parter a€?The Origins of 221B Worship.a€? When Edgar W.
So I presume Woollcott had been invited to the January a€™40 dinner at the Murray Hill Hotel too. But none have reached so high a pinnacle as the naming and ascent of Holmes Peak, which rises majestically 262 feet above the prairie floor, and from whose wind-swept summit practically all of Osage County, Oklahoma, can be seen.
At one time we had passes for the ski lift, but I have seem to have misplaced them (as Dick seemed to have misplaced the lift). Dick showed this document to John Bennett Shaw, who was an active member of the Knights of Columbus and other arms of the Church. Smitha€™s death, he also edited the Baker Street Journal for many years, influenced the BSI weekenda€™s shape with his Saturday cocktail party (first in his home for those he invited, then at the Grolier Club when numbers grew too great, and after that it was Katie bar the door); and then, Julian also handed out more investitures than anyone else before or since. Ia€™m sure Tom said he had it and did not want to pass it on to the BSI, and even more sure it wasna€™t a a€?blanka€? book:A  why was it called the Grillparzer Book if it was blank?
If you get a chance have a look at the British thriller she also starred in from 1947 Take My Life.
I know a lot of people who seem to love it and view it often so if one views a moive over and over they most likely know who she is. As the industry grew, he grew with it and helped it to become an art form by becoming an artist himself. Lang's heritage was Jewish, but his mother was raised a Roman Catholic, so Lang was brought up in a Catholic environment. One of his wounds caused the loss of sight in his right eyewhich explains why he subsequently wore a monocle in that eye.
Finally, when he finished a screenplay entitled Half Breed (Halbblut, 1919), he told Pommer that he wanted to direct the film himself, and Pommer agreed. Little else is known about her and it is not her life that is fascinating as much as it is her death. Mabuse, der Spieler), which ran for over four hours in two parts in the original version and was the first in the Dr. Moreover, Destiny helped to inaugurate the Golden Age of German Cinema during the 1920s, when, in addition to Lang, directors like F. By this time Pommer had merged his Decla-Bioscop studios with another production company, the Universum-Film-Aktiengellschaft (Universal Film Agency), generally known as Ufa.
Asked about this, Lang replied, "In my opinion, this book is wrong about a lot of things.
To be more precise, Expressionism exaggerates surface reality in order to make a symbolic point. For his part, Lang insisted that Expressionism was a major element in only a few of his German films.
The influence of this monument of the silent era cannot be overstated; from mad scientist scenes in Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931) to the look of Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) it echoes down through the cinematic ages.
The psychopathic murderer of the film was based on Peter KA?rten, known as the Vampire of DA?sseldorf, who terrorized that city in the mid-1920s.
To the right-wing cultural press, for example, Liliom was a prime example of the dangers of having a multi-cultural film culture in France.
Commenting on the unvarnished realism of the film, Lang said that he often told his cameraman that he did not want any fancy photography in the movie. Sam Jaffe, who was a talent agent before fashioning his own distinguished career in front of the camera, sold Lang to a skeptical Darryl F.
Nevertheless, as Lang said, "When I came back to Hollywood from New York, where I had signed the contract, and read the script, I did everything I could to get out of making the film.
In fact, Lang's success in making his own a popular American film genre like the thriller is a clear indication that he had become an American filmmaker, not merely a German filmmaker transplanted to American soil. In both, Robinson plays an unlikely criminal brought to killing someone through contact with a femme fatale, with his fall from respectability reminiscent of The Blue Angel (Josef Von Sternberg, 1930). Lang remembered that the studio was worried that the film industry censor might object to the fact that Johnny (Dan Duryea) was executed for a crime that he did not commit, rather than Chris (Edward G. The last was a Western starring Marlene Dietrich who, like Lang, was a prominent German expatriate working in Hollywood. This was the tense Cold War period, which spawned Senator Joseph McCarthy's witch-hunt for Communists and the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Years later, HUAC declared this organization to be pro-Communist; and so I was blacklisted for having belonged to it.


The Big Heat is a particularly satisfying study of a husband out to revenge his wifea€™s murder in a car bombing meant for him. Produced on shoestring budgets in 1956, While the City Sleeps and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt lashed out at yellow journalism and capital punishment with a vitriol not seen since M, but not as eloquently.
Yet it was Langa€™s social consciousness that was truly inspiring, and which makes his Hollywood career of greater value that his more artsy stint in Germany, (though none of his Hollywood creations are as visually impressive as Metropolis or M). Asked if he cared to comment on the theme that permeates his films, Lang replied, "Ultimately I don't like to dwell on the thematic implications of my films, to explain what they mean. He returned to his native Vienna in 1971, after an absence of nearly half a century, to receive the highest award that the capital of Austria could confer on a native son: the Medal of Honor of the City of Vienna. The BSJa€™s circulation wasna€™t the deep dark secret that it is today, but it will take further research to uncover just when those a€?reproduction issuesa€? were produced. George went on to be Astor Curator of Printed Books and Bindings at the Pierpont Morgan Library, later Director of Special Collections at the New York Public Library. Nor must we omit to mention those elegant keepsakes that we received through the courtesy of several Irregulars. Instead he agitated the Irregulars that night with his soon notorious talk a€?Watson Was a Womana€? (which included an acrostic in which titles of Watsona€™s tales spelled out the name Irene Watson). I construct only one hypothesis and I make no test of that one, leaving it for other scholars to test and apply as they may see fit. And Nicholas Meyer (a€?A Fine Morocco Case,a€? BSI) made use of the idea as well in his novels. Anderson, a valued contributor to Baker Street Miscellanea when he was was a professor of English at Texas A&M and Denison Universities, is now president of St. In fact Starrett proceeded to Christ Cellaa€™s by hansom cab that evening with Woollcott, from the lattera€™s apartment (known as a€?Wita€™s Enda€?) at 450 East 52nd Street.
Smith started organizing the 1940 revival dinner, Morley dug up an old invitation list for Smitha€™s use, and Woollcott was on it. He concludes by describing the Preservation Societya€™s elaborate future plans for Holmes Peak, including such juicy things-to-come as the Scenic Highway to the top, the Holmes Cenotaph (a design contest will be announced soon), the Doyle Ski Basin, and Holmesworld amusement park.
John told Dick the good Bishop had expressed himself harshly as a Bishop was allowed to, and still stay on the side of the angels. It would be interesting to learn more about his Whoa€™s Who, his role in the Voices of Baker Street, the formation of the Mrs.
Army directly into the BSI at the beginning of the a€?50s, and by 1955 had the investiture of a€?Colonel Warburtona€™s Madness,a€? which also tells us Edgar W.
Many of his Irregulars are gone today, like him, but lots of them made tremendous contributions to the BSI that are felt to this day. When I first attended the BSI annual dinner in 1973, he had been a fixture there many years, and I found it was a tradition for him to give one of the talks each year -- and for his talk to be totally unintelligible. George Fletcher and I had a drink at the bar afterward but they wouldna€™t let us pay.A They put everything on Juliana€™s membership account.
Lady Glennye also dies and "The Glennye Phantom" - a hooded skeleton - puts in an appearance too.
As Lang described it, the film was "a thriller about an archcriminal, and the public liked it for that. In making Die Nibelungen I wanted to show that Germany was searching for some ideals in her past, during the horrible time after her defeat in World War I, when the film was made. Furthermore, German Expressionism was rarely evident in his films once he began working in Hollywood.
House by the River, 1950), such gritty realism would come to characterize much of his subsequent work in America as well.
But his next film got him in trouble with the newly installed censors of culture, the Nazis. He departed for the French capital in late June 1933, but actually returned to Germany before finally leaving for good on 21 July 1933. Nevertheless, he was determined to remain in America, since returning to Germany was out of the question.
Fury was a thought-provoking tale of tragic coincidence, and of the corrosive effects of seeking revenge. He preferred instead cinematography that had a newsreel-like quality a style of photography he had favored as far back as Dr. Zanuck as the perfect director for The Return of Frank James (1940), a sequel to a recently successful Jesse James movie. But they did not get along while making the picture, and hence never worked together again. Finally, Harry Cohn, the top executive at Columbia, said to me, 'Fritz, is there any truth to this business about your being a Red?' I replied, 'On my word of honor, there isn't.' With Cohn's support I was able to go on making pictures.
There is a moment when an otherwise wooden Glenn Ford scans his now-empty living room (as he leaves the house for good and reminisces about his dead wife) that is as moving as anything in Langa€™s oeuvre, and Gloria Graham is heartbreaking as a gangstera€™s moll that exacts Forda€™s revenge for him when he cana€™t bring himself to break the law that he has served all his life.
While shooting While the City Sleeps and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Lang had several bitter quarrels with Bert Friedlob, the producer of both films. His genuine feeling for the workings of the criminal mind, antipathy for the death penalty, mob violence and sensationalistic journalism, and enthusiasm for other cultures and time periods marked him as fundamentally liberal, despite the monocle and aristocratic bearing.
Sometimes they have a very personal meaning for me, and I have never given an interview about my personal life. Financially, I showed a profit on the evening of $22, which I have posted against past deficits without a qualm. He is a leading member of the Grolier Club today as a rare books & manuscripts authority, and a bibliophile whose exhibitions there and elsewhere are glowingly reviewed in the New York Times. The bar tab at The PlayersA was a main incentive for finding accommodations at the Regency. The one from Lew Feldman(see Inventory)was most magnificent, and Fred Dannay generously supplied each of us with the Feb.
Ia€™m a member of the latter, and also of Chicagoa€™s Hounds of the Baskerville (sic), but while both have only male members, one sees many women at the Houndsa€™ sole annual gathering every autumn, and not only spouses but others invited on their own merits -- including you this year, or so I hear, Dahlinger. To please his father, Lang studied engineering for a while, but he eventually neglected his studies in favor of painting, which became his first love. He subsequently went on to direct, among other things, two companion features with the overall title of The Spiders (Die Spinnen, 1919-20), about a secret society of criminals known by that name. Lang claimed that he found his wifea€™s body in the bathtub, the victim of an apparent suicide.
Murnau and Ernst Lubitsch produced major silent films in Germany that were seen around the world. Nevertheless, it was also a picture of how crime was rampant in Germany after the First World War. I wanted to film the epic legend of Siegfried so that Germany could draw inspiration from her past, and not, as Mr. Die Nibelingen was a tremendous success all over Europe, but only mildly successful in the United States. He had experienced a great deal of studio interference while making his last silent picture, a science fiction film entitled The Woman in the Moon. M explored what would become characteristic Langian themes; it reflected his sympathy for the compulsive criminal, and initiated his campaign against the death penalty.
Unlike the case with many of his exiled compatriots who stayed in poorer Paris lodgings like the Hotel Ansonia, 8 rue de Saigon, Langa€™s luxurious room at the Hotel George V was proof of his status and economic mobility.
In due time he applied for American citizenship; in February 1935, he obtained his American citizenship papers.
Joe Wilson (Spencer Tracy, in his breakout role) is mistakenly jailed for murder and apparently immolated when a vengeful crowd torches his prison. Mabuse, the Gambler, with its brutally realistic shootout between Mabuse's gang and the police.
Lang was already an aficionado of all things Western, including Indian beadwork and cachinas, so he dove enthusiastically into an unlikely genre that would revive his career and to which he would return in Western Union (1941) and Rancho Notorious (1952). Greene portrays Stephen, the hero, as a deeply neurotic man in the novel, but in the screenplay Stephen's emotional problems seem to be largely behind him. Lang said that he mollified the censor by pointing out that "Chris is punished more by living with his guilt than he would have been by going to prison.
As far as Dietrich was concerned, Lang deserved his reputation as a tough taskmaster by being demanding with the cast and crew. Although The Big Heat was looked upon as a routine crime melodrama when it opened, the movie's critical reputation has grown steadily over the years, to the point where it is now justly revered as one of the all-time classic film noir. Part 1 is entitled Die Tiger von Eschnapur (The Tiger of Bengal) and part 2 is entitled Das Indische Grabmal (The Indian Tomb) The films were premiered in Germany in 1959, but the two parts were condensed into a single ninety-five-minute feature called Journey to the Lost City (1960) for the initial American release.
His approach to filmmaking in the Hollywood years was too staid to sustain his popular reputation into the 21st century, but his critical stature remains untarnished to this day. In addition, major retrospectives of Lang's work have been presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1967), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1969), and the Moscow Film Institute (1975). It has however been a very useful investment to me, for Connie often does as many as six or seven letters a day for me with it, and very well indeed she does them.
A Ia€™d be particularly interested if one of its members in the 1920s was Stanley Morison, because it was Morleya€™s chance meeting with him in New York in 1926, that revived Morleya€™s long-dormant boyhood enthusiasm for Sherlock Holmes.
Bigelow was scrambling to apologizeA for casting doubt on Lee Offorda€™s investiture (as a€?The Old Russian Woman,a€? 1958) genuineness or validity. Roberts did, of course, in his 1929 essay A Note on the Watson Problem, but I am far from home and without my copy to consult, to see if he had something to say about it. Taking place simultaneously with the Copper Beechesa€™ spring and autumn dinners every year is a dinner for wives called The Bitches of the Beeches -- started long ago by my late mother-in-law Jeanne Jewell, the idea being to get their drunk husbands home alive. Bill was an unforgettable personality with a zany streak of humor, and added something long-lasting to the BSI weekend in January with Mrs.
It not only had profound effects upon our scholarshipa€™s trajectory, it brought huge numbers of new adherents into the fold (including me).
Ia€™m not sure a€?legendarya€? is the word, but once youa€™d heard him, you didna€™t forget it; they were incoherent, phantasmagoric, even delusional, but delivered in a sort of bravura style that held your attention.
His collaborator and mistress at the time (and soon-to-be second wife), Thea von Harbou, corroborated his testimony in a formal inquiry that found Lang free of any wrongdoing. The film reflected the demoralized atmosphere in Germany," in the wake of the nation's defeat in the war. Kracauer suggests, as a way of looking forward to the rise of a political figure like Hitler, or some such stupid thing as that.
Mabuse (Das Testament des Doktor Mabuse, 1933) had too many uncomfortable parallels to the behavior and repugnant pronouncements of the thugs the Nazis employed to consolidate their power early on. Erich Pommer had in early 1933 made detailed financial arrangements in the United States with Sidney Kent, president of the Fox Film Corporation, to set up a film production division based in Europe. He miraculously escapes, and then watches with glee as his would-be executioners are tried for mob violence in a sensational court of law. In both the German or the American versions of the film, however, Lang's Indian epic remains a rather routine costume drama. Moreover, the 1996 Berlin Film Festival paid tribute to the director by showcasing a restored version of M. Smith died in September 1960, and apparently posed an administrative burden without financial reward for his sons. I remember sitting there my first time wondering what the hell, because I didna€™t understand what was going on, but for others it was clearly an expected item on the bill of fare. Just at this time, however, an independent producer named Seymour Nebenzal invited Lang to make a picture for him. Lorrea€™s chilling description of feeling psychologically compelled to do his heinous crimes gets at the essence of the insanity defense, even if it didna€™t convince his criminal judge and jury. This enabled him to leave Germany for France with the knowledge that he had an established business to come to.
Revealing himself to a hushed courtroom after his vendetta has destroyed his life-affirming spirit, and alienated him from his one true love (Sylvia Sydney), Tracya€™s final speech is an eloquent plea for extending forgiveness, not for the othera€™s sake, but for the sake of the person who is obsessed with seeking revenge. Lang was then asked by the same German producer to make yet another sequel to the Mabuse films. These were delivered by Alfred Drake, whose address revealed him to be a real Sherlockian scholar; Thomas L.
Someone just the other day mentioned Bill referring, in a 1982 recording on Voices of Baker Street, to that yeara€™s Breakfast as the twenty-ninth, which means the first one would have been in 1954. Not only for the number and the jubilant spirit he brought to the process, but also for the displacement of the BSIa€™s previous center of gravity in the Northeast. Ia€™m not sure that everyone enjoyed it, but Julian Wolff always seemed to: in part with a ringmastera€™s satisfaction that the old boy had pulled it off once again, I think, and maybe also with a connoisseura€™s appreciation of a performer living up to or even exceeding the year before. What appears indisputable is that Rosenthal had been distressed for some time over her husbanda€™s flaunting of his relationship with von Harbou, and that he was furious with Rosenthal for not dutifully accepting the affair. Clarke, founder of The Five Orange Pips, and Carl Anderson of The Sons of the Copper Beeches. And for a few years, I had much the same reaction: a€?Here goes Will Oursler again, leta€™s see how wild it is this time, howa€™s he manage it year after year?a€? (This on the assumption that it was contrived. At one point, according to a witness, he had waved his revolver at Rosenthal during a heated argument about the matter.
Lang's insistence on making this film his own way brings into relief his striving to be an auteur long before the term was invented. By August, however, announcements were made in the French film press that Pommer had established a modus operandi which would stimulate French film production by producing French- and English-language films in Paris.
Smith, Edgar Smitha€™s stepson whoa€™d taken over the printing of the OS BSJ, and found it very hard to get paid by the failing Ben Abramson. I just figured that there was no way to define membership clearly for all those folks, and avoided doing so.
What remains in dispute is what happened when she later discovered him and von Harbou in a hotel room. Mabuse, 1960) which brought the Mabuse saga to a successful but not altogether satisfying conclusion. Contrary to Langa€™s and von Harboua€™s version, newspaper editor Hans Feld and cinematographer Karl Freund, both of whom were around at the time and familiar with all parties, believed that Lang shot Rosenthal in a fit of rage, or even premeditatedly. It already had the annual dinner and the Gillette Luncheon when he joined the growing throng in the early a€™50s, and he added Mrs.
One piece of circumstantial evidence, on top of the contentious backstory, lends the homicidal accusation credibility: shortly before her death, Rosenthal had called a girlfriend to go shopping with her after she took a bath.
His next picture was a genuine bomb, a musical comedy called You and Me (1938) with songs by Kurt Weill and script input from Bertolt Brecht.



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