Not For All the Money in the World

December 15, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | CRIME, Drama Film, FILM, HISTORY, USA History |
jp111

December 15: John Paul Getty III, kidnapped and ransomed, turned up alive near Naples on this day in 1973. He’d been missing for months.  A letter had arrived the previous month with an accompanying parcel and the curt message: “This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits.” His grandfather, J Paul Getty Snr., who was worth over $2 billion US, was a tad parsimonious about paying the ransom (although with 14 other grandchildren and a loathing of appeasement, he must have thought…

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Murders on the Orient Express

November 30, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | CRIME, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
Ken

By Agatha Christie (1934) Directed by Sidney Lumet (1974) Directed by Kenneth Branagh (2017) The Varnished Culture has been a fan of Agatha Christie novels for yonks – she’s really terrific – but surprisingly for her very theatrical books, they don’t tend to translate to the screen too well.  Whether Poirot is played by Peter Ustinov, David Suchet or Albert Finney, he doesn’t seem to be just right.  And his supporting casts, possibly from snobbishness, act like a bunch of rejects from a provincial repertory company. The scenery-chewing is entirely superfluous in filming a Christie – certainly she deployed ‘types’ as characters, so why slice…

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The Lawyer in the Freezer (Part II)

August 25, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | AUSTRALIANIA, CRIME, Non-Fiction |
Szach

Unley Town Hall, 24 August 2017 We have written previously on this strange case: see our earlier piece here. The Varnished Culture had a representative at this lecture by Tom Mann, re-visiting his book on the Stevenson / Szach case.           There’s not not too much new in Mann’s thesis: the forensic evidence as to time of death is wobbly – the distance travelled by Szach to Coober Pedy overnight is inconsistent with his presence about the time of the killing – the execution-style and surfeit of possible suspects – the dodgy identification evidence – the…

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Death of Marat

July 13, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, CRIME, HISTORY, POLITICS |
Jacques-Louis David's rather heroic treatment

Jacques-Louis David's rather heroic treatment

13 July 1793: Jean-Paul Marat dies at 50 after Charlotte Corday goes all Norman Bates on him.  Although Marat thereby became seen as a hero for the sans-culottes and a martyr to the revolutionary cause, in fact he was a bloodthirsty little cuss, with a legendary hatred of Girondins and a disregard for what we might nowadays call ‘due process.’  Carlyle, in his brilliant, excoriating book on the French Revolution (1888), described his assassination in the following pitiless and sneering manner, redolent of Virgil but with added acrimony: “It is yellow July evening, we say, the thirteenth of the month – eve of the Bastille…

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The “Rainbow Warrior”

July 10, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | CRIME, HISTORY, POLITICS |
Drawing of 'Rainbow Warrior 1' by Rama

Drawing of 'Rainbow Warrior 1' by Rama

10 July, 1985: Greenpeace’s protest ship is blown-up in Auckland Harbour, New Zealand by 2 bombs planted by French agents. One crew member, photographer Fernando Pereira, made an ill-timed decision to return the ship after the first blast, in order to recover his photographic equipment. He was killed by the second explosion. Justice was not fully brought to bear on the agents, or the ones who gave the order. Our fictional doggerel based on the incident can be found here.

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