Check out an upcoming film screening I’m programming for the Cinedelphia Film Festival:
Though he spent a stint living and working in New York and L.A., noir novelist David Goodis (1917 - 1967) was born and raised in Philadelphia. The city left an indelible stamp on his work and his fixation with Philadelphia’s poor urban areas and criminal life, as well as his tendency to sympathize with the city’s outsiders and outlaws often show up in his fiction. His novels such as The Burglar, Of Tender Sin, The Wounded and the Slain and Down There focus on criminals, fugitives, hard luck cases and lives gone wrong. These compelling stories attracted filmmakers, many of them French, where Goodis’ work is more popular than the U.S., and a number of his novels were adapted into well-known films, such as Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player (1960).
French director Henri Verneuil made a second adaptation of Goodis’ novel The Burglars (1971) aka Le Casse, which was also partly a remake of a ’57 version of the film scripted by Goodis, shot in Philadelphia, directed by Philadelphian Paul Wendkos and starring Jayne Mansfield. Verneuil’s version stars Omar Sharif and Jean-Paul Belmondo. A dirty police inspector purses a gang of burglars who are seeking out a cache of emeralds. This Euro-crime film is relatively obscure within the U.S., but became known for a famous car chase sequence through the streets of Athens, some impressive cinematography from the prolific Claude Renoir, and a great score from composer Ennio Morricone. This stunt heavy, noir tinged heist film is an entertaining look at Goodis’ Philadelphia by way of Europe. Before the screening, a panel of local experts, such as film critic Steven Rea, writer and Poe Guy Edward Pettit, Noir Con founder Lou Boxer, and crime novelist Duane Swierczynski will come together for a panel moderated by film writer Samm Deighan to discuss The Burglar and how Philadelphia shaped Goodis’ life and work.