Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Guilty Bystander

As I've mentioned in a couple of earlier posts, The Dark Brink of Love is the noir volume at BYNWR, the website devoted to little known and eccentric films given loving restoration. Filmmaker Nicholas Winding Refn started the site, and the three chapters of the noir volume are curated by William Boyle.

After chapters devoted to the films Stark Fear and One Shocking Moment, the third and final chapter features a restoration of the grungy and low budget noir film, Guilty Bystander, starring Zachary Scott and Faye Emerson.  If you ever saw the version of the film that's been available on You Tube, you know how much this film needed a restoration. It has now been transformed from something nearly unwatchable into something gorgeous.  And as with the previous chapters, there are a wealth of pieces to dive into and keep you busy.

Here's the link to the film: Guilty Bystander.

As for the lineup of pieces, they include contributions from William Boyle, Philippe Garner, Marya E. Gates, and Sarah Weinman, Ogden Elson and Jack Pendarvis, and Charlie Rahway.  Richard Koszarski provides a vintage audio interview with the director of the film, Joseph Lerner.

In this chapter also is a piece I contributed, called "Things Ain't What They Used to Be".  It 's the real story about a great uncle of mine, the jazz trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, a guy who was a professional musician from the late 1920s through the 1960s and who lived a pretty noir life himself.  He toured around the country, played in Europe, had periods of relative fame and others of stark obscurity.  Alcohol figured heavily.  I didn't know all that much about his life before I started the piece, so it was all quite interesting to research,

Anyway, here it is, Things Ain't What They Used to Be, complete with photos and plenty of footage of J.C. playing.

The noir volume, The Dark Brink of Love, is now complete at ByNWR, and it has a variety of riches worth checking out.

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