Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week is a killer. Three killers, to be precise, and a wine pairing for each.
Back when I was a music director for a radio station, I would get a call every week from a record promoter who told me the same thing each time – “This record is deadly, Randy. Deadly. You gotta add it right away.” I usually told him that we had few enough listeners as it was – I didn’t need to be killing off any of them with a “deadly” record. Most of those records would probably only bore you to death, anyway. Our three movies this week all have a killer on the loose – and he’s deadly.
The 1956 film noir, The Killer is Loose, features Joseph Cotten, Rhonda Fleming and Wendell Corey. Cotten is a cop while Corey is a banker who is the inside man in a robbery of the institution where he works. Fleming is the cop’s wife, who becomes the target of revenge after the bank teller escapes from the prison term he was serving for the heist.
The cop was no fool, except maybe for shooting the banker’s wife dead by accident. The banker vowed revenge, killed a guard to break free and hightailed it to the cop’s neighborhood. At this point, the cop was possibly a fool for leaving his desk job when the force asked him to help find the killer. He put his wife in hiding, to which she somehow took exception (fool) and came out into the open, acting as beautiful bait to lead the criminal to John Law.
The film was viewed rather favorably by critics of the day, and who can argue about the casting? I’ll watch anything with Joseph Cotten in it, not to mention Fleming and Corey.
I ran across a photo from the ‘90s, showing Cotten and his real-life wife tasting sparkling wine at Henkell in Weisbaden. Today, the outfit is known as Henkell Freixenet, maker of German bubbles (sekt) as well as Spanish (cava) and Italian (Prosecco). These international sparklers are less expensive than Champagne, but just as much fun, if you ask me. Be careful where you aim that cork, killer.
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, from 1976, was written and directed by John Cassavetes, so you know you’re getting a work that is a little bit off the wall. Ben Gazzara stars as the owner of a Sunset Strip nightclub. Gazzara says the character has a deep appreciation for the art of his establishment, while the customers are mainly there for the naked ladies. He says the character has a lot of Cassavetes in him.
Gazzara’s Cosmo falls into a big debt while playing poker with the wrong crowd. The mobster to whom he owes the money assigns him to perform the task of the title, a job he’s not supposed to survive. He does survive, however, although he takes a bullet for his trouble. Back at the club, he is inspired to give his troupe a pep talk, urging them to live their roles while giving the patrons a means of escape from their own troubles. Bullet or no bullet, the show must go on.
You may want to stop into Gil Turner’s liquor store for a wine to pair with Bookie. Turner was once known as Mr. Sunset Strip, so the ad blurb says. The store stocks a ton of cult wines that would be welcome at the Riot House, many of which can be had for less than a hundy.
1964’s The Killers is a remake of the 1946 film noir classic of the same name. It was made for TV, but TV didn’t want it. NBC deemed it too violent to air, so it was sent to movie theaters. What a cast: Lee Marvin, Clu Gulager, Angie Dickinson, Ronald Reagan, John Cassavetes, Claude Akins, Norman Fell – it’s easy to see why people still like it, despite the violence. Or maybe it’s because of the violence.
The story revolves around a robbery, a handful of killings, a double-cross, some brutal mistreatment of Dickinson’s character and a suitcase full of missing money. If you can stomach it, it’s a killer film.
Killer Drop wine owes more to surfing and snowboarding than actual killing, but let’s pop a cork. The northern California Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah blend sounds like a killer combination.