No one ever wrote better hard-boiled crime fiction than Jim Thompson, so it’s good news that “The Grifters”
and “The Killer Inside Me” will be released on Kindle September 1. (The Barnes & Noble website doesn't say if they are coming to Nook).
This is brought to mind by a story in today’s LOS ANGELES TIMES MAGAZINE in which suspense maven Otto Penzler selects his 10 favorite lines from film noir. Here's number six:
“He was so crooked he could eat soup with a corkscrew.”
(Annette Bening to John Cusack in the 1990 film version of “The Grifters.”
(You can read the Top Ten lines and link to the film clips in the Los Angeles Times story here
Several other Thompson novels, including “Pop. 1280,” are already on Kindle here
Unfortunately, “The Getaway” is not yet one of them. The road story was twice adapted into films. First was the outstanding 1972 version directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw. Then came the unfortunate 1994 re-make with Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. The novel, in both hardcover and paperback, is available at Amazon.
When I think of writers who have influenced my work, I look to John D. MacDonald, Raymond Chandler, Donald Westlake, and Thompson.
Here’s one of my favorite noir lines -- written by screenwriter-director Lawrence Kasdan -- also included in Penzler’s story today as number five:
"You're not too smart, are you? I like that it a man."
Kathleen Turner to William Hurt in "Body Heat." Not only is it a great line, it's a key plot point. Because of the way Hurt, a lousy lawyer, messed up an earlier probate case, Turner's "Maddy Walker" selects him to both kill her husband and take the fall for it.
What are your favorite noir or hard-boiled lines from either film or books?