Girlfriend In A Coma is another happy song from The Smiths.
The song is straight forward. It is literally about a girlfriend in a coma. The only question is whether her boyfriend is being sincere when he sings that he hopes that everything will be okay or is he instead telling the truth when he says that he doesn’t want to see her.
Some clue as to how the singer feels about his girl comatose girlfriend might be found in video’s use of clips from The Leather Boys, a British film from 1964. An example of British kitchen sink realism, The Leather Boys is about a biker named Reggie (Colin Campbell) who marries his girlfriend, Dot (Rita Tushingham), but would still rather spend most of his time with his fellow biker, Pete (Dudley Sutton). At the time of its release, the film was considered to be shocking because it openly dealt with gay themes at a time when homosexual activity was still illegal in the UK. Just as the film ends with Reggie still unsure about his sexuality, Girlfriend In A Coma ends with Morrissey still sounding unsure about whether or not he wants his girlfriend to wake up.
Girlfriend In A Coma was the first single to be released from The Smiths’s final studio album, Strangeways, Here We Come. The album was named after Strangeways, an infamous prison in Manchester. Before the UK absolished the death penalty, Strangeways was famous for its gallows. A total of 100 prisoners were hanged at Strangeways between 1869 and 1964.
Never Trust A Gambler is a 78-minute noir gem from 1951.
It tells the story of Steve Garry (Dane Clark) and his ex-wife, Virginia (Cathy O’Donnell). Virginia divorced Steve because he was a degenerate gambler but that doesn’t mean that she no longer has feelings for him. Or, at the very least, that’s what Steve is hoping when, out of the blue, he shows up at her door and tells her that he needs a place to hide out.
As Steve explains it, a friend of his had been accused of murder and Steve is being pressured to testify at the man’s trial. In a move of pure gaslighting, Steve explains that his friend is innocent but, if Steve testifies, it will lead to his friend being wrongfully convicted. Hence, unless Virginia wants to be responsible for sending an innocent man to death row, she has to give Steve a place to hide out. Furthermore, Steve swears to her that he’s no longer a gambler and that he’ll only need to stay with her for a few days. Reluctantly, Virginia agrees.
Later, while Virginia is at a grocery store, she’s approached by a police sergeant named McCloy (Rhys Williams). At first, it seems like McCloy might be following her because he’s looking for Steve but, instead, it turns out that he used to date Virginia’s former roommate, Delores. After clumsily trying to flirt with her at the grocery store, McCloy follows Virginia home. When McCloy tries to force himself on her, Steve comes out of the shadows and beats McCloy to death.
So now, Virginia and Steve have a dead body to contend with. Because Steve is hiding from the cops and Virginia’s been allowing him to hide out in her house, calling the police is not an option. Steve promises Virginia that he’ll take care of the whole thing. Steve’s solution is to put McCloy in a car and push it over the edge of a cliff. Given that McCloy was a drunk, it’s reasonable to think that the police might assume that McCloy was driving drunk and cashed his car. Now, Steve and Virginia both wait to find out whether or not Steve’s plan worked….
Technically, the protagonist of this film is Sgt. Donovan (Tom Drake), the detective who investigates McCloy’s death but, for the most part, Donavon’s something of a stiff. Instead, the film really belongs to Dane Clark and Cathy O’Donnell. Cathy O’Donnell gives a poignant performance as a woman whose efforts to escape the past and live a normal, drama-free life are continually made unnecessarily difficult by the selfish men surrounding her. Meanwhile, Dane Clark tears through the film like a force of nervous nature. Clark always seems to be on the verge of jumping out of his own skin and a good deal of the film’s suspense comes from wondering when Steve is going to lose control. At the same time, Steve Garry is a character about whom most viewers will have mixed feelings. On the one hand, he’s sleazy and selfish but, on the other hand, he saved Virginia from someone who was even worse. Does Steve really love Virginia or is he just taking advantage of her? This movie will keep you guessing.
Never Trust A Gambler is a well-done and intelligent film noir and definitely one that deserves to be better known.
Take a trip into the past with this selection of paperback covers, all done by the British artist James E. McConnell! Born in Bedlington, Northumberland and educated at St. Martin’s School, McConnell went freelance in 1933 and subsequently became one of the most prominent and prolific paperback artists in Britain. Though he worked in all genres, he is best remembered for his western and historical work. His western covers epitomized how many in Europe visualized the American old west, complete with manly gunslingers and the women who loved them.
Here’s a small selection of some of McConnell’s work:
Financial scandals are nothing new.
Long before the financial crisis of 2007 and the Great Recession that followed, 1992 saw the collapse of several economic institutions. That was the year that the European Stock Market crashed and it was revealed that the powerful Bank of Credit and Commerce International was a massive money laundering scheme. Following the mysterious death of British tycoon Robert Maxwell, it was discovered that he had been propping his companies up by stealing from other people’s pensions. In the United States, the House banking scandal revealed that hundreds of Congresspeople were being allowed to bounce checks without being penalized by the House bank.
Be Quick or Be Dead, the first single to be released off of Iron Maiden’s Fear of the Dark, was inspired by these scandals. If there was ever any doubt, the video, which specifically calls out both BCCI and the Federal Reserve, left no doubt that the members of Iron Maiden were as pissed off as everyone else in the world.
Be Quick or Be Dead peaked at number 2 on the UK charts. It may be best remembered for the cover of its single, which featured Ed getting vengeance on a suit-wearing banker who bore a resemblance to Robert Maxwell.
The holidays approach!
Movies I Watched:
(TCM did a Billy Jack marathon on Wednesday! I was up until 5 in the morning, live tweeting it!)
- The Born Losers (1967)
- Billy Jack (1971)
- Billy Jack Goes To Washington (1977)
- Bring It On (2000)
- C-Man (1949)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
- The Girl In the Spider’s Web (2018)
- Hotel Artemis (2018)
- I Was A Communist For The FBI (1951)
- Loan Shark (1952)
- The Man With My Face (1951)
- Shoot To Kill (1947)
- Suspiria (2018)
- Teenagers Battle The Thing (1958)
- The Trial of Billy Jack (1974)
- Undertow (1949)
- You Again (2010)
Television Shows I Watched:
(As you may notice from looking at the list below, I watched a lot of old TV shows on MeTV this week.)
- American Horror Story Apocalypse
- Antiques Roadshow
- Dancing With The Stars
- Dennis The Menace
- Doctor Phil
- Face the Truth
- Father Knows Best
- Ghost Whisperer
- Gilmore Girls
- The Good Doctor
- Hell’s Kitchen
- I Dream of Jeannie
- King of the Hill
- Last Call With Carson Daly
- Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
- The Partridge Family
- Party of Five
- Sabrina, The Teenage Witch
- Shipping Wars
- South Park
- Survivor 37
- The Walking Dead
- Welcome Back Kotter
- The Woman in White
Books I Read:
- Degrassi Extra Credit #3: Missing You (2007) by J. Torres and Eric Kim
- Degrassi Extra Credit #4: Saftey Dance (2007) by J. Torres and Steve Rolston
- Season Finale: The Unexpected Rise and Fall of the WB and UPN (2007) by Suzanne Daniels
- Suddenly Last Summer: Degrassi Extra Credit #2 (2007) by J. Torres and Ramon Perez
- Turning Japanese: Degrassi Extra Credit #1 (2006) by J. Torres and Ed Northcott
Music To Which I Listened:
- Adi Ulmansky
- Armin van Buuren
- Backstreet Boys
- Big Data
- Bradley Cooper
- Britney Spears
- The Chainsmokers
- The Chemical Brothers
- Elle King
- Ellie Goulding
- Lady Gaga
- Margo Price
- Saint Motel
- The Spice Girls
- Talking Heads
- The Ting TIngs
Links From Last Week:
- On SyFy Designs, I posted: My Friend John, Bring It On, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, and The Importance of Tradition, and My Favorite Year.
- On Reality TV Chat Blog, I reviewed the latest episode of Survivor!
- On my music site, I shared music from: La Casa Azul, Geri Halliwell, Subsonica, The Chemical Brothers, Ellie Goulding, The Ting Tings, and Sabrina Carpenter!
- From Erin’s photography site: View of White Rock Lake From The Pool, Looking At White Rock Lake, Empty, Flowers, Yellow, Bench, and Lookout Park!
- From Days Without Incident, Leonard shares Music: Paradise Circus (Gui Boratto Remix) by Massive Attack
- Fall CMBA Blogathon – Outlaws…
- The Last Soldier
- Who Gets To Live In Victimville?
- New suspect in D.B. Cooper skyjacking case unearthed by Army data analyst; FBI stays mum
- My sons have autism – so Stan Lee’s superheroes were invaluable to them
- RIP William Goldman
- Book Review: Exiled in America: Life on the Margins of a Residential Motel (Dum)
- Stan Lee: An Inspiring Life
- Kickin’ The Willy Bobo With…Christofer Nigro
Links From The Site:
- Erin shared the following artwork: The Spitfires, The Wow Factory, The Figure In the Dusk, Planet Stories, Take A Murder, Darling, The Motel, and Dead Stop!
- Gary paid tribute to Stan Lee and Roy Clark and he reviewed The Sands of Iwo Jima, Bait, Tarzan, and Mandingo!
- Jeff also paid tribute to Stan Lee and shared the following music videos: True Faith, Don’t You Want Me, Heart and Soul, Shout, Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Ball of Confusion, and Night Boat to Cairo!
- I reviewed Hotel Artemis and, for Noirvember, The Hitch-Hiker, Undertow, Shoot To Kill, The Man With My Face, I Was A Communist for the FBI, Loan Shark, and C-Man!
- Ryan reviewed One Dirty Tree and Accursed, along with sharing his weekly reading round-up!