Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the swingin’ spot for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. The party at the Winter Meetings is still going on and you can swing to all the groovin’ deals here. Come on in and enjoy the nice San Diego weather. See if you can spot an agent or general manager in the audience. There are still a couple of tables available. 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.
Last week I asked you if you thought the Cubs would make a big move during the Winter Meetings. So far, the 58 percent of you who said “No” are in the right, but that could change at any minute. Another 24 percent thought they’d sign a big free agent.
Speaking of which, the Winter Meetings are on the West Coast and when that happens, news can break in what is the middle of the night in Chicago. I just want to let you know that if the Cubs make a big move after about 8 pm, there likely won’t be a BCB After Dark that evening. That’s true even after the Winter Meetings end. The purpose of this feature is to give our readers something to discuss late at night and early in the morning. If word leaks out that the Cubs have signed Aaron Judge at 9 pm, we’re not going to have an issue finding something to talk about around here. (I used Aaron Judge as an example there because he’s the one big name free agent that I haven’t heard the Cubs connected to today.)
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.
We’ve got a busy night tonight, so I’m just going to give you a holiday jazz track that’s self-explanatory. Here’s the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis playing “We Three Kings.” Enjoy.
I promise you that someday I will give my thoughts on the BFI Sight and Sound Greatest 100 films of all-time, which released their once-a-decade list of the best in movie history. I’ve mentioned it before as the one list of great films that gets taken more seriously than any other. This year we have a new “Greatest Film of All Time” and it’s 1975’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, directed by Chantel Akerman. This knocks Vertigo off the top spot, which won the poll in 2012, which in turn beat Citizen Kane, which won the poll every decade from 1962 to 2002. What I have to say about Jeanne Dielman right now is what I always think to myself whenever I come across it: “That film is supposed to be good. I should watch it. Oh man, it’s 3 1⁄2 hours long. Let’s watch a 90 minute film noir or screwball comedy instead.” So I should probably hold my tongue on that one for a while at least.
But speaking of film noir, it’s time for the first BCB Winter Noir Classic! The general agreement was that we were only going to consider “classic” noir from the period of 1940 to 1960. We also limited the list to American and UK films. There were a lot of great suggestions and honestly, I had trouble cutting it down. The fact that we excluded non-English language films and neo-noir may have ended up saving my sanity after all. In the end, I put 26 films in the tournament, because I just couldn’t bear to leave any of these films off the list. So if one of your favorites didn’t make the cut, believe me, several of mine did not make the cut either. The Naked City, for example, didn’t make the cut, not because I believe the films on the list are better than it, but because in the end I questioned its noir-ness. It’s always classified as one, but I’m not sure that’s not a miscategorization. So films may have gotten left off for totally arbitrary reasons.
I constructed the list from my own favorites, films you suggested and looking up several “Best Film Noir” lists on the internet. In the end, I think I’m happy with the list and I hope you are too. I will admit that there are two films on the list that I haven’t seen and no, I’m not going to tell you which ones they are. I hope to watch them before we get too deep in the tournament.
The films that made the list are as follows. The year the film came out, the director and the top two billed stars are included.
- The Maltese Falcon (1941) John Huston—Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor
- Double Indemnity (1944) Billy Wilder—Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck
- Sunset Boulevard (1950) Billy Wilder—William Holden, Gloria Swanson
- The Big Sleep (1946) Howard Hawks—Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
- The Third Man (1949) Carol Reed—Joseph Cotton, Orson Welles
- In a Lonely Place (1951) Nicholas Ray—Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame
- Nightmare Alley (1947) Edmund Goulding—Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell
- Laura (1944) Otto Preminger—Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews
- Gilda (1946) Charles Vidor—Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford
- Sweet Smell of Success (1957) Alexander Mackendrick—Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis
- The Big Heat (1953) Fritz Lang—Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame
- The Night of the Hunter (1955) Charles Laughton—Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters
- The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) Tay Garnett—Lana Turner, John Garfield
- Night and the City (1950) Jules Dassin—Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney
- Detour (1945) Edgar G. Ulmer—Tom Neal, Ann Savage
- Gun Crazy (1950) Joseph H. Lewis—Peggy Cummins, John Dall
- They Live By Night (1948) Nicholas Ray—Cathy O’Donnell, Farley Granger
- The Asphalt Jungle (1950) John Huston—Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern
- The Killing (1956) Stanley Kubrick—Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray
- Scarlet Street (1945) Fritz Lang—Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett
- Touch of Evil (1958) Orson Welles—Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh
- The Set-Up (1949) Robert Wise—Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter
- Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) Robert Wise—Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan
- The Killers (1946) Robert Siodmak—Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner
- The Hitch-Hiker (1953) Ida Lupino—Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy
- Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Robert Aldrich—Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker
All of the films on this list are classics. I was amazed when I started making up the list how hard it was to give them all seeding.
And here’s the bracket.
You do not need to have actually seen the films to vote. How would I know if you’ve seen it or not? As I said, there are two I haven’t seen. But you can vote for whichever one you’d more want to see if you’d like.
So the top six seeds get byes into the next round. That means our first contest is between #7 Nightmare Alley and #26 Kiss Me Deadly.
Nightmare Alley: We discussed this film a lot around here last winter, so here’s a quick refresher. Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray and Helen Walker star in the story of carnival life and a seedy barker who learns a mind-reader act. But when he moves on from deceiving the rubes at the sideshows to conning the rich and powerful in nightclubs, he discovers a whole new world of danger.
Here’s the trailer for Nightmare Alley:
Kiss Me Deadly: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart and Juano Hernandez bring Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer detective to the screen for the second time. Cloris Leachman also makes her film debut in a small supporting role. Considered one of the most violent and dark of the “classic” noirs, it was condemned by a committee of the United States Senate as “designed to ruin young viewers.” Mike Hammer picks up a hitchhiker, which leads him on a violent and terrifying journey.
The trailer for Kiss Me Deadly:
Nightmare Alley or Kiss Me Deadly?
This poll is closed
Kiss Me Deadly
Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies, although you missed the start of the Winter Noir Classic.
As I write this, there are about a million rumors flying about the Cubs. There have been no trades or signings, but that could change at any minute. Or it might not. We’ll see.
Because of that, I’m going to start out with something that we know has happened. The Texas Rangers signed right-hander Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 million deal. deGrom’s old team, the New York Mets, responded by signing right-hander Justin Verlander to a two-year, $86.6 million deal with a vesting option for a third year for another $35 million that becomes a player option if Verlander pitches 140 innings in 2024.
I’m sure you’re already familiar with the pros and cons of these two great pitchers. They are arguably the two best pitchers in the game right now, at least “when healthy.” So I’ll just leave it there.
For tonight, let’s pretend that either pitcher would have signed with the Cubs instead had the Cubs simply matched what the Rangers or Mets offered. The Cubs don’t have to beat either offer, they just have to match it. So if you’re the Cubs, which pitcher do you offer that contract to? Did the Mets or the Rangers get the better deal?
Also, remember that this is Tom Ricketts’ money and not yours. And Ricketts has reportedly given the team the green light to spend.
Multiple MLB sources just told me Tom Ricketts and the Ricketts family have told team president Jed Hoyer that he has a green light to spend what he needs to spend to turn the team around. That lines up w/@GDubCub reporting that the #Cubs met offsite with Carlos Correa today.— David Kaplan (@thekapman) December 6, 2022
Which contract should the Cubs have matched?
This poll is closed
Thank you so very much for stopping by. I hope you are having a great time this Winter Meetings week. Try not to party so hard you make yourself sick. If you need us to call you a ride home, let us know. Please recycle all your cans and bottles. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.