The Dresden Files as Classic Noir

So what would happen if the Dresden Files was made as a 1950s-era film noir?

Well, the supernatural elements would have to be definitely toned down. Instead of Dresden being a straight-up capital-w Wizard who can throw fire and lightning, the emphasis would be on the nigh-impoverished gumshoe Harry. Magic would have to be hinted at–odd coincidences and small hacks only. Harry throwing a fireball would cost too much in SFX and not look good in black and white. Harry’s eyes glowing strangely and the cigarette in his hand lighting by itself? Perfect. Red Court vampires being hideous batlike monsters beneath their human fleshmasks? What, when you can see the edges of the rubber masks? Laughable. But, throw enormous amounts of chiaroscuro lighting at it, keep them off-screen as much as possible, use implications, hints, and innuendo: terrifying. Murphy being a crack shot with her little Belgian P-90, of course, will have to be modified–but could you just imagine her opening up with a Tommy-gun instead?

And the cast?

Harry Dresden – Jimmy Stewart
Karrin Murphy – Barbara Stanwyck / Maureen O’Hara
Susan Rodriguez – Loretta Young
Carmichael – (That Weedy Guy…Thomas Mitchell, I believe the name is?)
John Marcone – Michael Rennie / Robert Mitchum / Dana Andrews
Hendricks – Kirk Douglas

Thomas Raith – Errol Flynn
Lara Raith – Ava Gardner
Lord Raith – Gary Merill
Inari Raith – Margaret Sheridan

Charity Carpenter – Honor Blackman
Michael Carpenter – Charlton Heston
Molly Carpenter – Debra Paget

Sanya – Woody Strode
Shiro Yoshimo – The Seven Samurai leader guy

Warden Donald Morgan – Stewart Grainger / Jeff Chandler
Warden Anastasia Luccio – Eva Marie Saint as Luccio Prime (because while it’s possible to believe that Claudia Cardinale or Sophia Loren will kill you, it would be during a fit of passion, not coolly or when following orders).
The Merlin: Christopher Lee
Ebenezer McCoy: Burl Ives

And, since this is the unenlightened ’50s:
Injun Joe: Bruce Cabot in brownface.


Angelique, the Countess of the Angels: mv5bmtg0mzg1nty1m15bml5banbnxkftztcwnzq3mzqymq-_v1_

–Is a  1964 movie based on the 1957-novel of the same name by Sergeanne (AKA Serge and Anne) Golon. The book is first in a series that, according to Wiki, has not yet been concluded, although I’m forced to assume that the 2011 and unreleased entries are just Sergeanne’s kids doing unto Angelique what Frank Herbert’s heirs did unto Dune. Also, it’s originally French, and the English translations are a pain and a half to come by. (Who knew my hours spent searching for the subtitles to pirated Chinese TV shows would pay off?…for a given value of “pay.”)

The movie, which does its best to cram an 800+ page story into two hours, covers the life of Angelique from her childhood in early-1700s France (unconvincingly portrayed by the same actress, Michele Mercier, the entire time), to her marriage to the limping, scarred, cultured, talented, intelligent, witty, athletic, charming, and rich Joffrey, Comte de Peyrac. Vivacious and independent Angelique is horrified at the match, naturally, and we get a Beauty & the Beast segment as he treats her with respect and she learns to appreciate him for himself. And his really large….gold mine.

The gold mine is a problem, however, because Joffrey has discovered using lead/mercury to extract the gold in a fashion the credulous, grasping, greedy, narrow-minded, and fanatical clergy (this film does not like the Catholic church), don’t approve of. Furthermore, he manages to incur the King’s dislike (for some reason), which doesn’t help matters.  Eventually, Joffrey is arrested and tried for witchcraft, found guilty, and burned at the stake. Angelique, completely without options, is forced to give up her children and attempt to build up a new life with the help of a childhood friend turned eyepatch-wearing bandit leader, roll credits.

The series is apparently beloved in its native France: the 1964 movie is just the first of five, as Angelique travels the world, remarries, consorts with pirates, enters business, joins and leaves harems, deals with kings, et cetera, and eventually emigrates to America to continue the process of adventures.

The movie is quite good, for something as rushed as it is. It’s also incredibly sixties. Check it out. Book review to follow when I actually finish reading it.

Rated: four flasks of vitriol out of five.

Tarzan Tuesday

LORD GREYSTOKE was hunting, or, to be more accurate, he was shooting pheasants at Chamston-Hedding. Lord Greystoke was immaculately and appropriately garbed—to the minutest detail he was vogue. To be sure, he was among the forward guns, not being considered a sporting shot, but what he lacked in skill he more than made up in appearance. At the end of the day he would, doubtless, have many birds to his credit, since he had two guns and a smart loader—many more birds than he could eat in a year, even had he been hungry, which he was not, having but just arisen from the breakfast table.

The beaters—there were twenty-three of them, in white smocks—had but just driven the birds into a patch of gorse, and were now circling to the opposite side that they might drive down toward the guns. Lord Greystoke was quite as excited as he ever permitted himself to become. There was an exhilaration in the sport that would not be denied. He felt his blood tingling through his veins as the beaters approached closer and closer to the birds. In a vague and stupid sort of way Lord Greystoke felt, as he always felt upon such occasions, that he was experiencing a sensation somewhat akin to a reversion to a prehistoric type—that the blood of an ancient forbear was coursing hot through him, a hairy, half-naked forbear who had lived by the hunt.

And far away in a matted equatorial jungle another Lord Greystoke, the real Lord Greystoke, hunted. By the standards which he knew, he, too, was vogue—utterly vogue, as was the primal ancestor before the first eviction. The day being sultry, the leopard skin had been left behind. The real Lord Greystoke had not two guns, to be sure, nor even one, neither did he have a smart loader; but he possessed something infinitely more efficacious than guns, or loaders, or even twenty-three beaters in white smocks—he possessed an appetite, an uncanny woodcraft, and muscles that were as steel springs.

Later that day, in England, a Lord Greystoke ate bountifully of things he had not killed, and he drank other things which were uncorked to the accompaniment of much noise. He patted his lips with snowy linen to remove the faint traces of his repast, quite ignorant of the fact that he was an impostor and that the rightful owner of his noble title was even then finishing his own dinner in far-off Africa. He was not using snowy linen, though. Instead he drew the back of a brown forearm and hand across his mouth and wiped his bloody fingers upon his thighs. Then he moved slowly through the jungle to the drinking place, where, upon all fours, he drank as drank his fellows, the other beasts of the jungle.

As he quenched his thirst, another denizen of the gloomy forest approached the stream along the path behind him. It was Numa, the lion, tawny of body and black of mane, scowling and sinister, rumbling out low, coughing roars. Tarzan of the Apes heard him long before he came within sight, but the ape-man went on with his drinking until he had had his fill; then he arose, slowly, with the easy grace of a creature of the wilds and all the quiet dignity that was his birthright.

Numa halted as he saw the man standing at the very spot where the king would drink. His jaws were parted, and his cruel eyes gleamed. He growled and advanced slowly. The man growled, too, backing slowly to one side, and watching, not the lion’s face, but its tail. Should that commence to move from side to side in quick, nervous jerks, it would be well to be upon the alert, and should it rise suddenly erect, straight and stiff, then one might prepare to fight or flee; but it did neither, so Tarzan merely backed away and the lion came down and drank scarce fifty feet from where the man stood.

Tomorrow they might be at one another’s throats, but today there existed one of those strange and inexplicable truces which so often are seen among the savage ones of the jungle. Before Numa had finished drinking, Tarzan had returned into the forest, and was swinging away in the direction of the village of Mbonga, the black chief.

I Like My Ideas Better: Terminator 3

So everybody gets bitten by the “I can do it better” bug every so often. Usually, it’s a harmless enough itch to scratch. “I’d have him shoot the bad guy FIRST! Then he could shoot the other bad guys! It’d be an awesome scene!” or, “I’d have him keep his mouth shut and not blab the secret to everyone,” or even, “I’d have been recording this conversation since before he walked in the door, and then he could prove to the detective that it wasn’t him.” –little fixes of that nature, generally.

Some times, of course, the thing you love is there, looking like its wonderful self, but….it’s dumb and shallow and, really, wouldn’t it be better, even if you started at the same approximate point, taking a different direction? Or, putting some trust in the audience’s intelligence and not just taking baby steps? Or stealing from someone else who had clever ideas and filing the serial numbers off? Or trying to insert some actual depth and complexity? Or getting rid of Jar Jar Binks?

I haven’t seen Terminator 3 yet, but apparently it’s the weakest one of the trilogy (there are only three movies. Shhhh.) –which is one I enjoy and want to see justice done to. So, here’s what The Rider of 2015 would have done:

The world war is over—and now Skynet begins to act–subtly at first.

Soldiers are innoculated with slow-acting poisons. Children and elderly are euthanized. Able-bodied survivors are sent to “refugee” camps; people are still needed to restart the manufacturing base for Skynet’s own use, and as test rats for its experiments. Helped by the assurances that they’re being protected from terrorists, i.e., John Connor, it takes people an appallingly long time to realize they are being exterminated. (John Connor is a strong, courageous, charismatic and far-sighted leader; his character flaws exist but do not need to be exploited for drama, and absolutely will not include self-doubt or despondency. He’s saving the human race from extinction. That’s a good thing. Self-loathing and recriminations can wait for the war crimes trials afterwards.)

Meanwhile, John is organizing and training his men. This war is global, although the main battle is in North America, as Skynet’s brain is there. Aid and supplies are smuggled in from other countries. (Mexico resurges as a manufacturing powerhouse?) Skynet commands the air with drones and satellites, but the sea is free and belongs to the steely-eyed sea captains who keep the supply lines open. (Hot sub on sub action, whoa.)

Third act climax: breaking the camps. Saboteurs come in through the wires, arm the slaves, motivate and rouse them to fight back. With outside military aid, they smash their way into the camp’s central Brain, lobotomizing and then killing it. (Some Brains later chose to suicide.)

A gamy teenager takes on a Dominator by himself. He is severely burned by nerve-whip fire, but stumbles victoriously from the wreckage.

“What’s your name, soldier?”


“Well done, Kyle.”

Fanfic can’t be shameful…

…if you take no shame in it.

Ineluki, we are calling
as our women one day called.
Prince, our cries are harsh with hatred
and our hearts are turned to stone.
We would face now any horror,
we would stand who fled before.

Ineluki, we are calling
as our children one day called.
Prince, our hearts are cold within us,
and our souls grow sharp as steel.
We would take for ours the fire:
we would burn who burned before.

Ineluki! Lord, we hail you!
Wake, o Prince, from thy dark dreaming,
Rise, retake thy iron sword.
We are weak no more with anguish,
we are stilled no more by sorrow.
Prince, our hearts burn high with fury,
and our hands are hard with hate.

Ineluki! Do you sleep yet?
Here we bring your arms before you,
Here we lay them, at your feet!
From your long sleep wake and lead us,
Rise, o Prince, loose hell and tempest!
Ineluki! Wake, and lead us on again!

I really was not impressed with Tad William’s Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series.


– JRRT’s The Fall of Arthur fragmentary poem. It’s brilliant…and fragmentary.
Iron Gold, Pierce Brown
Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (damnit where is the House of Assassins EARC!?)
Soul Music, Terry Pratchett

Apache Rifles (Audie Murphy)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Some Guy)
Sharpe’s Rifles, Sharpe’s Eagle (Man, Sean Bean was fine when he was young.)

Girl Power Thursday

….Lady, you crazy.

Ashley Horner is attempting 50 Ironman triathlons.

In 50 days.

 120 miles of swimming (Los Angeles to San Diego), 5,600 miles of biking (New York to Cairo, Egypt), and 1,310 miles of running (Miami to Chicago). She has never completed a single Ironman-distance triathlon — 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run — in her life.

“I’ve done several Olympic distances, several sprint triathlons, and a half Ironman, which is 70.3 miles,” Horner says. “But I’ve never actually done a full distance Ironman triathlon.”

It’s not a vanity project:

With this upcoming challenge — she’s dubbed it #WomanOfIron — she’s aiming to raise $100,000 for the Maison Fortuné Orphanage, her most audacious fundraising goal to date. With the funding, MFO will be able to hire more teachers, provide more books and courses, and offer more programming for the almost 400 children it serves in the village of Hinche, Haiti.

For the past three years, Horner has been MFO’s biggest donor, thanks to her fitness fundraising efforts.


Run Ashley, Run.