Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the merriest meet-up for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. It’s our last performance before the holiday break and we’re so glad that you stopped by. We’re in the giving spirit and we hope you are too. Come on in and share some holiday cheer with us. It’s cold outside but it’s warm in here. There’s still room in here for our friends. Bring your own beverage.
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
Yesterday I asked you what you thought was the biggest need for the Cubs yet this offseason. It was a close vote with two clear candidates, but with a vote of 44 percent, you thought adding a corner infielder/designated hitter was the top priority. Close behind with 42 percent was adding a catcher.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
This is our final night of After Dark before Christmas, so I thought we’d just finish with Louis Armstrong playing “‘Zat you, Santa Claus?” Maybe you’ve heard it a lot already this holiday season, but hey, can you really hear too much Louis Armstrong? Plus, it’s kind of a fun video.
And for a bonus, even though this isn’t jazz, here’s Bob Dylan singing “Must Be Santa.” Why? Because it’s just insane enough to brighten your holiday.
The BCB Winter Noir Classic can declare another first-round winner and it’s Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat (1953). That movie topped Robert Wise’s The Set-Up (1949) and will take on Nicholas Ray’s In A Lonely Place (1950) in the second round. What a match-up that one will be.
Tonight, we have director Charles Laughton’s fable, The Night of the Hunter (1955) taking on director Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958).
The Night of the Hunter (1955). Directed by Charles Laughton. Starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish. A fable of good versus evil as well as the true meaning of Christianity, Mitchum stars as the “Reverend” Harry Powell, a con man and serial killer for whom the Gospel is just another tool to scam people out of their money. After a former cellmate of his, Ben Harper, (Peter Graves) is executed for a bank robbery, Powell marries and then murders Harper’s widow (Winters) in order to steal the money that Harper had stolen in the first place. But Harper gave the money to his young children, who then flee from the Reverend through Depression-era West Virginia. Powell chases the children with the intent of murdering them and stealing the money, but they are first found by the saintly Rachel Cooper (Gish), an old woman who takes in orphans.
The Night of the Hunter was not a success when it was first released, and that was probably why it ended up being the only film ever directed by Laughton. But Laughton incorporated several film techniques of German expressionism which gave the film a haunting and quite unreal look. The screenplay was credited to James Agee based on a novel from Davis Grubb, but most accounts have Laughton and Mitchum completely re-writing Agee’s script themselves.
Even though the original film was a flop, the reputation of The Night of the Hunter has only grown since then. It was just this month ranked as the 25th-best film of all-time in the BFI Sight and Sound Top 100 greatest films.
And while I didn’t plan it, it is a bit of a Christmas movie as the film ends with a Christmas celebration.
Here’s the trailer for The Night of the Hunter.
Touch of Evil (1958). Directed by Orson Welles. Starring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Orson Welles. Directed, written and starring Orson Welles, it was the last film that he’d make for an American studio. Some call it the last great film noir.
The story of a corrupt and seedy town on the Mexican-American border, Heston plays Ramon Vargas, a Mexican prosecutor who investigates the murder by car bomb of two people as they cross the border. Leigh plays Vargas’ young bride and Welles is the local police captain who is certainly not immune from the corruption the town, but he’s straight now. Or is he?
Marlene Dietrich appears in this film in a small part for scale because she wanted to work with Welles.
The plot of Touch of Evil is notoriously hard-to-follow, but Welles concentrates on developing the rich characters and mysterious atmosphere of the film. If you liked the look of Citizen Kane, you’ll probably love the look of Touch of Evil.
Like a lot of Welles’ Hollywood projects, the final project was taken out of his hands and re-edited in a much more-straightforward manner against Welles’ wishes. The film was reconstructed in 1998 to be as close to Welles’ original vision as possible from the surviving film. (From what I understand, that’s actually pretty close.) Since then, the film has only grown in its reputation.
Here’s the trailer for Touch of Evil.
The Night of the Hunter or Touch of Evil?
This poll is closed
The Night of the Hunter
Touch of Evil
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.
Tonight I’m going to ask you about the gifts we get as Cubs fans. Specifically, I’m going to ask you which Cubs jersey you’d ask for under the tree for Christmas, Or any other holiday.
Personally, I only have one Cubs jersey and it’s an authentic Derrek Lee #25 road jersey. I suppose I should get another one, but it’s still in good shape and nowadays, it’s a classic. Besides, that one has special meaning to me as I got it for my very first Father’s Day.
But tonight I’m going to ask you which Cubs’ jersey you would like to get under the tree. I’m not going to poll you for home or road or City Connect or anything because that would give us way too many options to vote on. I’m just going to ask you which Cubs player jersey you’d like to get as a present this year. But if you would please, tell us which jersey (home, road, whatever) you’d like in the comments.
Obviously I’m going to include all the big new free agent signings and other current favorite players. I’m expecting a lot of good little boys and girls asking for a Dansby Swanson jersey this year, but maybe I’m wrong. If there’s someone whose jersey you want and I didn’t list them, please tell us in the comments.
And no, grinch Manfred will not allow you to get a Cubs jersey of anyone not currently on the Cubs. Sorry.
Which Cubs players’ jersey would you like as a gift this holiday season?
This poll is closed
Someone else (leave in comments)
It’s been a great evening and a great year with all of you around here. We’re so thankful for all our customers and especially everyone who comments. Please stay warm and have a wonderful holiday. Get home safely—we want to see you again next year. Tip your waitstaff. Have a merry Christmas. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.