Hollywood – or at least the Hollywood John Fante knew, all cigar-wielding moguls, scriptwriters passing one another on the road, on their way in and out of bars, the doorways lit up under neon signs like electrified siren calls, the dream of the Golden West, palm fronds biting the sky (blue of course) – has a tight hold on my imagination.
A hold that’s fuelled by nuggets like this, pruned from a cursory roam around the Internet after an initial pointer from Covenger & Kester.
Bezzerides’ most famous script was Kiss Me Deadly, which was a masterful film noir and influenced many directors in France shortly after its release. Bezzerides transformed the novel by Mickey Spillane into an apocalyptic, atomic-age paranoia film noir. When asked about his script, and his decision to make “the great whatsit” the Pandora’s Box objective of a ruthless cast of characters, Bezzerides commented: “People ask me about the hidden meanings in the script, about the A-bomb, about McCarthyism, what does the poetry mean, and so on. And I can only say that I didn’t think about it when I wrote it . . . I was having fun with it. I wanted to make every scene, every character, interesting. A girl comes up to Ralph Meeker, I make her a nympho. She grabs him and kisses him the first time she sees him. She says, “You don’t taste like anybody I know.” I’m a big car nut, so I put in all that stuff with the cars and the mechanic. I was an engineer, and I gave the detective the first phone answering machine in that picture. I was having fun.”