Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: keine, University of Leipzig (Institut für Anglistik), course: Spy Novels, language: English, abstract: Eric Clifford Ambler was born in 1909. His parents were very creative in earning money: they ran a string puppet-show (Ambler 1986, p. 61). Every now and then, they performed their show in public and were even able to gain quite a reputation. Little Eric Ambler was interested in reading mystery stories and started to spend his time on chemical experiments in a friend’s garage (Ambler 1986, p. 93) to find out how things work. Eric Ambler took up a job in an advertising agency where he kept on writing plays and his first novel The Comedian, which was never completed. (Ambler 1986, p. 143 et seq.) A very good friend of Ambler encouraged him to write mystery stories just as Somerset Maugham (Ambler 1986, p. 199), which he liked to read as well. In the following two years, Ambler wrote The Dark Frontier (1936) and Uncommon Danger (1937). The young man quit his job at the advertising agency and now worked as an author in fulltime (Ambler 1986, p. 211). He travelled a lot – to France, Spain and the USA, where he got to know his future wife Louise Crombie (Ambler 1986, p. 242). Ambler joined the army and soon became a screenwriter for educational films for the army film unit (Ambler 1986, p. 276 et seq.). After World War ll, Ambler worked on films about civilian professions and everyday things which might have been changed during the war to give former soldiers a certain security back in the civilian life: A British Diary supplied this information (Ambler 1986, p. 352f.). Writing novels again turned out to be difficult, since Ambler was not used to work with concentration for a longer period anymore. He himself had changed over the years and needed to find out what to write next. (Ambler 1986, p. 361) Ambler also kept on writing screenplays and even received an Academy Award nomination in 1953 for The Cruel Sea .He died in 1998 in Switzerland. The Mask of Dimitrios was written in 1939. In the novel, Ambler perpetuated to create another kind of criminal – one with credibility and realistic features. The reader does not ‘see’ Dimitrios until the end of the novel, but Charles Latimer, who writes detective stories, decides to research the bad guy’s life, which puts him in danger and tests his mettle. On the following pages, Dimitrios’ life is depicted and parallels are shown to a real life criminal named Basil Zaharoff. Moreover, important themes of the spy novel such as internationalism and crime by itself are explored.
This book explores why crime fiction so often alludes to Shakespeare. It ranges widely over a variety of authors including classic golden age crime writers such as the four ‘queens of crime’ (Allingham, Christie, Marsh, Sayers), Nicholas Blake and Edmund Crispin, as well as more recent authors such as Reginald Hill, Kate Atkinson and Val McDermid. It also looks at the fondness for Shakespearean allusion in a number of television crime series, most notably Midsomer Murders, Inspector Morse and Lewis, and considers the special sub-genre of detective stories in which a lost Shakespeare play is found. It shows how Shakespeare facilitates discussions about what constitutes justice, what authorises the detective to track down the villain, who owns the countryside, national and social identities, and the question of how we measure cultural value.
The first full biography of this major actor draws upon more than 300 interviews, including conversations with directors Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, John Huston, Frank Capra, and Rouben Mamoulian, who speak candidly about Lorre, both the man and the actor.
Whether writing about the Beat Generation or Umberto Eco, Picasso's Guernica or the massacre at Tiananmen Square, Marcus uncovers the histories embedded in our cultural moments and acts, and shows how, through our reading of the truths our culture tells and those it twists and conceals, we situate ourselves in that history and in the world.
For almost thirty years, David Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film has been not merely “the finest reference book ever written about movies” (Graham Fuller, Interview), not merely the “desert island book” of art critic David Sylvester, not merely “a great, crazy masterpiece” (Geoff Dyer, The Guardian), but also “fiendishly seductive” (Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone). This new edition updates the older entries and adds 30 new ones: Darren Aronofsky, Emmanuelle Beart, Jerry Bruckheimer, Larry Clark, Jennifer Connelly, Chris Cooper, Sofia Coppola, Alfonso Cuaron, Richard Curtis, Sir Richard Eyre, Sir Michael Gambon, Christopher Guest, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Spike Jonze, Wong Kar-Wai, Laura Linney, Tobey Maguire, Michael Moore, Samantha Morton, Mike Myers, Christopher Nolan, Dennis Price, Adam Sandler, Kevin Smith, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlize Theron, Larry Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, Lew Wasserman, Naomi Watts, and Ray Winstone. In all, the book includes more than 1300 entries, some of them just a pungent paragraph, some of them several thousand words long. In addition to the new “musts,” Thomson has added key figures from film history–lively anatomies of Graham Greene, Eddie Cantor, Pauline Kael, Abbott and Costello, Noël Coward, Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Gish, Rin Tin Tin, and more. Here is a great, rare book, one that encompasses the chaos of art, entertainment, money, vulgarity, and nonsense that we call the movies. Personal, opinionated, funny, daring, provocative, and passionate, it is the one book that every filmmaker and film buff must own. Time Out named it one of the ten best books of the 1990s. Gavin Lambert recognized it as “a work of imagination in its own right.” Now better than ever–a masterwork by the man playwright David Hare called “the most stimulating and thoughtful film critic now writing.”
This book begins with a history of the detective genre, coextensive with the novel itself, identifying the attitudes and institutions needed for the genre to emerge in its mature form around 1880. The theory of the genre is laid out along with its central theme of the getting and deployment of knowledge. Sherlock Holmes, the English Classic stories and their inheritors are examined in light of this theme and the balance of two forms of knowledge used in fictional detection—cool or rational, and warm or emotional. The evolution of the genre formula is driven by changes in the social climate in which it is embedded. These changes explain the decay of the English Classic and its replacement by noir, hardboiled and spy stories, to end in the cul-de-sac of the thriller and the nostalgic Neo-Classic. Possible new forms of the detective story are suggested.
Besides pointing out the contrasts between Ambler's late and early work, Peter Wolfe's subtle, insightful Alarms and Epitaphs also develops the continuities. Most notable among these is a fear and hatred of male authority rivaling that of Kafka; no self-starter, the archetypal Ambler hero drifts into danger and finds himself, despite his resolutions, doing the bidding of strong, decisive men who care little about him. A unique feature of Wolfe's study is a chapter on the five novels, beginning with Skytip (1951), published under the name of Eliot Reed. These collaborations with the Australian detective-story writer Charles Rodda capture both the spirit and style Graham Greene admired in Ambler when he called him "our best 'thriller' writer."