A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Hardboiled July on TCM

A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Hardboiled July on TCM

Cagney_DawnDie“You’re the second guy I’ve met within hours who seems to think a gat in the hand means a world by the tail.” – Phillip Marlowe in Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep

(Gat — Prohibition Era term for a gun. Shortened version of Gatling Gun)

So, TCM was afloat in hardboiled/noir/crime flicks, with Edward G. Robinson as the May Star of the Month. June was at least as good, with Ann Sheridan in the spotlight. Alas – July’s Star is Tony Curtis. Good actor, who made some fun movies. But there’s less of our favored genres with him in the spotlight. Fortunately, TCM is still an excellent network, and we have some things to look forward to:


9:00 AM – Jailbreak

Also called Murder in the Big House, this 1936 crime film is about a reporter who goes inside a prison to solve a murder. And the lead is Barton MacLane, who is probably my favorite Warners supporting actor in the gangster/crime heyday. He popped up in good movie after good movie, such as The Maltese Falcon, High Sierra, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Manpower, and All Through the Night. He was the second-lead in the Torchy Blaine movies (his character was actually the main one in Frederick Nebel’s short stories). He did get the lead in some B-movies, but they’re not around much. So tune in and see him out front for a change.

2:15 PM – Each Dawn I Die

Quite a performance by James Cagney as a crusading reporter who undergoes quite a personality change when he’s framed and imprisoned. This was George Raft’s first movie after signing with Warners. The first thing he did was bump Bogart from the part of Hood Stacey.

4:00 PM – Blackwell’s Island

John Garfield, who was saw a lot of in June, is back in this one as a reporter who gets himself sent to prison to get a mobster. Rosemary Lane (of the singing Lane Sisters) is the female lead. She was in two Bogart movies: Oklahoma City, and The Return of Doctor X.

5:15 PM – Twelve Crowded Hours

Lucille Ball is in this kind of pre-noir. The more-than prolific Lew Landers directed. He directed sixty-eight movie from 1934 through 1943! And his pace didn’t slow down much for a while. I’d like to read a book about him.


4:15 PM – Gaslight

The 1944 suspense classic with Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, and Joseph Cotten. Quite a film.

9:45 PM – Pickup on South Street

Richard Widmark is a pickpocket who makes the big mistake of stealing some microfilm from a spy. Widmark, Jean Peters, and Thelma Ritter all receive strong reviews for their performances.

1:15 AM (Wed) – Underworld USA

I think this was a Noir Alley selection last month. Cliff Robertson stars. In this Sam Fuller-directed flick.


Bribe_TaylorGardner11:45 AM – The Long Night

Also A Time To Kill, I’m interested in the casting. Somebody said, “You know who we need in this movie? Let’s get Henry Fonda, Barbara Bel Geddes, Vincent Price, and Ann Dvorak. And what the heck, send a letter up into the hills to Elisha Cook, Jr.. And give Charles McGraw a part. That’s quite a diverse cast. I’ve not seen this, but might do so this time around.

3:45 PM – The Bribe

South American noir as Robert Taylor plays a noble federal agent, after a smuggling operation. Is he strong enough to resist sultry Ava Gardner (who could?). Charles Laughton, Vincent Price, and John Hodiak round out a nice cast.


The Falcon
Starting at 7:30 AM in the morning, it’s NINE consecutive The Falcon films. There you go! All nine starred Tom Conway, who succeeded Bail Rathbone as radio’s Sherlock Holmes.

The first seven start The Falcon, then…Strikes Back, In Danger, And the Coeds, Out West, In Mexico, In Hollywood, and In San Francisco. The last two break the format: The Falcon’s Alibi, and The Falcon’s Adventure.


8:45 AM – The Wild One

Marlon Brando in a famous role as leader of a gang of motorcycle delinquents who terrorize a small town.

6:15 PM – Point Blank

Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson in an adaptation of Richard Stark’s The Hunter. This is the first Parker novel. You should read the book, and watch the movie. It is hard-boiled.


2:00 PM – Murder My Sweet

Dick Powell’s tour de force, which reshaped his career. My favorite Marlowe movie. You can read about Powers Boothe’s Marlowe series, here.

4:00 PM – Bad Day at Black Rock

Spencer Tracy leads a deep cast in this crime (noir?).

5:30 PM – Rio Bravo

My favorite John Wayne Western

8:00 PM – The Maltese Falcon

My favorite PI novel by Dashiell Hammett and my favorite PI movie, starring Humphrey Bogart. I wrote about a bunch of Falcon stuff here at Black Gate.

10:00 PM – High Sierra

ThreeStrangers_LorreGreenstreetClassic gangster flick that started Bogart’s launch to becoming ‘Bogie.’ Ida Lupino (who had just been in They Drive By Night with Bogart), did not enjoy working with him, and refused to let him have the male lead in Out of The Fog, which went to John Garfield instead. Bogie was pissed. Lupino later softened on her stance towards him.

12:00 AM – Three Strangers

This is Eddie Muller’s Noir Alley entry for the week. Not a classic, but starring Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. This the ‘old script’ that John Huston wanted to repurpose as a sequel to The Maltese Falcon. Warners (and Huston) discovered they only had the right to the novel; not Sam Spade. But couldn’t they have made a deal to use the character for one more film? Whatever. Howard Koch (of Casablanca) revised the script and they made this film. It’s not great, but I like Lorre and Greenstreet together in it.


6:45 AM – Three on a Match

This is interesting to me because Humphrey Bogart was a gangster and was fairly prominent in the last part. He left Hollywood, for the second time, after this one. He would come back to stay in The Petrified Forest. Joan Blondell and Bette Davis are in the cast. Director Mervyn Leroy followed this with Paul Muni’s I Was a Fugitive on a Chain Gang.

10:00 AM – Three Strangers

Noir Alley rerun from midnight on Saturday. See above.


Bogart_RacketBusters7:00 AM – Racket Busters

One of the few Bogart movies I don’t own, and I haven’t seen it in over twenty years. Bogie is a gangster taking over the trucking racket. Lloyd Bacon directed six movies which Bogart was in (at various credit slots) before Bogie became a star. He did get him one more time after that. Action in the North Atlantic followed Casablanca.

2:30 PM – Smashing the Money Ring

Ronald Reagan is a Secret Service agent on a case. Nothing else to say, just a Gipper sighting.


10:00 AM – The Breaking Point

Rebroadcast of last night’s Noir Alley at 12:30 AM. John Garfield in an adaptation of Hemingway’s classic, To Have and Have Not. I’ve not seen this, and I’m looking forward to watching it.

2:00 PM – Arsenic and Old Lace

Just about my favorite comedy. I LOVE this movie, which I wrote about, here.


6:00 AM – The Thin Man

Hammett_ThinManMovieDashiell Hammett is my favorite hardboiled author, but I don’t really care for The Thin Man – book or movies. But an awful lot of my pulp fans love these movies. Which is fine. Here’s the first one.

2:15 AM – Arsenic and Old Lace

Rerun from Sunday the 26th. Doesn’t matter if you saw it. Watch it again.


There are quite a few other crime and mystery movies I didn’t mention. Check out the schedule a couple times a week and find some good stuff for yourself. Most, but not all, of these movies will be on Watch TCM for somewhere between a week and a month. The Search feature stinks. Ignore it. Just go to the bars in the upper left corner, click and select ‘Films.’ Then, scroll down. They go from most recently added to longest on the list. You’ll be surprised how many movies stay up after they air. I love Watch TCM.


Prior posts in A (Black) Gat in the Hand – 2020 Series (9)
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Hardboiled May on TCM
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Some Hardboiled streaming options
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Johnny O’Clock (Dick Powell)
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Hardboiled June on TCM
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Bullets or Ballots (Humphrey Bogart)
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Phililp Marlowe – Private Eye (Powers Boothe)
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Cool and Lam
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: All Through the Night (Bogart)
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Dick Powell as Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar

A (Black) Gat in the Hand – 2019 Series (15)
Back Deck Pulp Returns
A (Black) Gat in the Hand Returns
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Will Murray on Doc Savage
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Hugh B. Cave’s Peter Kane
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Paul Bishop on Lance Spearman
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: A Man Called Spade
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Hard Boiled Holmes
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Duane Spurlock on T.T. Flynn
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Andrew Salmon on Montreal Noir
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Frank Schildiner on The Bad Guys of Pulp
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Steve Scott on John D. MacDonald’s ‘Park Falkner’
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: William Patrick Murray on The Spider
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: John D. MacDonald & Mickey Spillane
A (Black Gat in the Hand: Norbert Davis goes West(ern)
MacLane_JailbreakA (Black) Gat in the Hand: Bill Crider on The Brass Cupcake

A (Black) Gat in the Hand – 2018 Series (31)
With a (Black) Gat: George Harmon Coxe
With a (Black) Gat: Raoul Whitfield
With a (Black) Gat: Some Hard Boiled Anthologies
With a (Black) Gat: Frederick Nebel’s Donahue
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Thomas Walsh
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Black Mask – January, 1935
A (Black) Gat in the hand: Norbert Davis’ Ben Shaley
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: D.L. Champion’s Rex Sackler
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Dime Detective – August, 1939
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Back Deck Pulp #1
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: W.T. Ballard’s Bill Lennox
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Day Keene
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Black Mask – October, 1933
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Back Deck Pulp #2
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Black Mask – Spring, 2017
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Frank Schildiner’s ‘Max Allen Collins & The Hard Boiled Hero’
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: William Campbell Gault
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: More Cool & Lam From Hard Case Crime
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: MORE Cool & Lam!!!!
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Thomas Parker’s ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Joe Bonadonna’s ‘Hardboiled Film Noir’ (Part One)
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Joe Bonadonna’s ‘Hardboiled Film Noir’ (Part Two)
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: William Patrick Maynard’s ‘The Yellow Peril’
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Andrew P Salmon’s ‘Frederick C. Davis’
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Rory Gallagher’s ‘Continental Op’
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Back Deck Pulp #3
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Back Deck Pulp #4
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Back Deck Pulp #5
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Joe ‘Cap’ Shaw on Writing
A (Black) Gat in Hand: Back Deck Pulp #6
A (Black) Gat in the Hand: The Black Mask Dinner

Bob_Houston_HatCroppedBob Byrne’s ‘A (Black) Gat in the Hand’ was a regular Monday morning hardboiled pulp column from May through December, 2018 and again from August through December, 2019. It returned in June, 2020.

His ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ column ran every Monday morning at Black Gate  from March, 2014 through March, 2017 (still making an occasional return appearance!).

He organized ‘Hither Came Conan,’ as well as Black Gate’s award-nominated ‘Discovering Robert E. Howard’ series.

He is a member of the Praed Street Irregulars, founded www.SolarPons.com (the only website dedicated to the ‘Sherlock Holmes of Praed Street’) and blogs about Holmes and other mystery matters at Almost Holmes.

He has contributed stories to The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Parts III, IV,  V, VI and XXI.

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Michael Padgett

Because Howard Hawks is one of my absolute favorite directors it pains me to admit that “The Breaking Point” is a better movie than “To Have and Have Not”.

Thomas Parker

I know this is heresy (and I qualify it by first saying that I do love the movie) but Rio Bravo has some stretches that are embarrassingly slack, but “Relaxed” morphing into “slack” is a fault that Hawks displayed increasingly as the years went on. (Hatari, anyone? But I still love that movie too!) For my money, Red River is a better western and better John Wayne. (It’s something that scarcely anyone notices, but Wayne, the hero of heroes, was at his best playing losers – Tom Dunson, Ethan Edwards, John Stryker, Tom Doniphon, John Bernard Books – all losers.)

Thomas Parker

I agree about the supporting cast 100%. Angie Dickinson was never better and what can you say about Walter Brennan? I’m amazed he and Wayne didn’t get some sort of “Odd Couple” sitcom after Rio Bravo, they were so funny together. But for me, it’s Dean Martin who steals the show. He apparently never felt the need to act after that (with just a couple of exceptions) and that’s a shame.

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