Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the swingin’ after-party for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. I hope you all had a good weekend. If you spent it at the Cubs convention, we’re glad that you’ve decided to continue the good times with us. Come on in out of the cold. If it’s raining or snowing where you are, come in and get dry. The dress code is casual. We can check your coat for you. Buy a round for the house—but 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 who you thought would be the Cubs’ “ace” next year. By that, I didn’t mean “ace” in the scouting sense of a number one pitcher, because I don’t think the Cubs have one of those. Most teams don’t have one. (And the Mets have two.) But what I did mean is: who do you think will be the Cubs’ best starter in 2022? Who is the guy you want starting a decisive playoff game, should the Cubs’ play one?
It was close, but by a margin of 33 percent to 29 percent, you said you thought it would be Justin Steele over Marcus Stroman. The rookie Hayden Wesneski got a lot of love too with 17 percent of the vote.
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.
With Trey Mancini being the subject of the day and many of you last week expressing your admiration for guitarist Jeff Beck, who died last Wednesday, it seemed like a natural to feature this performance of the theme to Peter Gunn, featuring Beck on guitar and Trombone Shorty. This appears to be from New Year’s Eve in 2010.
The Peter Gunn theme was written by Henry Mancini, of course. There’s no relation, as far as I can tell.
You voted in the BCB Winter Noir Classic and by an overwhelming margin of 70 percent to 30 percent, you picked Kiss Me Deadly (1955) to advance over Odds Against Tomorrow (1959). Now I can’t help it if you all picked wrong, but I respect the vote and I won’t bawl about the results. Kiss Me Deadly does have a whole lot of B-movie charm to it. I’ll also admit that it was one of the two films I included in the bracket that I hadn’t seen before the voting started. I’ve since watched it and it reminded me a lot of a seventies detective show, if you can imagine James Garner as Jim Rockford beating the crap out of a bad guy for the heck of it. (Jim Rockford would never do that.) Plus, not to spoil the ending, but there’s a bit of Cold War paranoia going on.
I’ve been awfully busy with my day job this week, so were going to do a matchup of two films we’ve already voted on. It’s the matchup between the two “girls name” noirs that I had hoped would meet in the second round. The first is Laura (1944) and it faces off against Gilda (1946).
I hope you’ll forgive me if I repeat some of what I wrote last time. I’ve been busy.
Laura: Directed by Otto Preminger. Starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb. An ambitious and gorgeous young advertising executive (Tierney) is murdered and a detective (Andrews) becomes obsessed with her as he investigates her death. There is big twist to this film in the middle, and I wrote about it here last year. Webb is magnificent as a older newspaper columnist who had been Laura’s mentor. Also features a pre-horror icon Vincent Price and Judith Anderson.
Adding to what I wrote last time, Laura is a good film for those of you who like murder mysteries with a twist. It’s popularity at the time was aided by the theme song “Laura,” which became a hit and a jazz standard. It’s been recorded over 400 times, including by Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald and many, many others. (They added lyrics to it later so it could be sung.)
Here’s the trailer for Laura.
Gilda (1946): Directed by Charles Vidor. Starring Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford and Charles Macready. Hayworth, in the title role, plays one of the all-time great femme fatales in movie history. Ford plays Johnny, a small-time gambler who finds himself working for a South American casino owner (Macready). When his boss returns from a vacation married to Gilda, an old flame of Johnny’s, the emotional ménage à trois begins. The casino is also threatened by some arrangements with some German mobsters who want their money now that the war is over. Gilda was also a very risqué film by 1946 standards. (Which means it isn’t risqué by today’s standards, just so we’re clear.)
Adding to what I wrote last time, Gilda also features two terrific musical numbers, “Put the Blame on Mame” and “Amado Mio,” both sung by Anita Ellis and lip-synched by Rita Hayworth in the film.
Here’s the trailer for Gilda.
Laura or Gilda?
This poll is closed
You have until Wednesday evening to vote. The good news for me is that I don’t think you can make a wrong vote this time. I think I know which one I’d vote for, but either way, I’ll be happy with the result.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.
I’ll repeat what I said in the movie section for those who skipped it: I’ve been a bit busy with my day job lately. In the middle of writing up one of my prospect articles late at night over the weekend, I got tasked to write a piece announcing the signing of first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini.
In my haste to write that piece welcoming Trey Mancini to the Cubs, I forgot to put in one of our standard “Yay/Nay/Meh” polls. I was kicking myself the next day over my omission, until I realized that my mistake allows me to put that poll in tonight’s After Dark. How unintentionally clever of me!
So here it is. You’ve probably seen the arguments for and against signing Trey Mancini. You know he’s on a two-year, $14 million deal with another $7 million in incentives. Mancini can also opt out after one year if he gets 350 plate appearances this season.
You probably also know that Mancini was a very good hitter with the Orioles until he missed the 2020 season while undergoing treatment for colon cancer. (He’s been declared cancer-free since then. That’s a 100% “Yay!” vote.) But the Trey Mancini of 2021-22 has not been nearly as good as the 2017-19 one. On top of that, he was very bad after getting traded to the Astros last year at the trade deadline.
So tell us how you feel about the signing of Trey Mancini.
This poll is closed
Thank you all so much for stopping by. I hope we’ve made your evening a little bit more pleasant. I know you’ve made our evening better. Please tip the waitstaff before you leave. Get home safely. Let us know if you need us to call a ride for you. And join us again tomorrow night for more BCB After Dark.