Introduction to Seven Shadows by Andrew D.
For starters, if this is your favorite blog, then allow me to congratulate you on having exceptional taste. But back to my main point, which is introducing myself. My name is Andrew D. and back in the fall of 2009 I purchased a book entitled, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I’m sure many of you movie fanatics have seen it and if not, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. After perusing the book for a few days, I decided to put myself through a sort of personal film school and watch all of the movies that the text contained. I knew it was a big task, but I committed myself to seeing the project through to the very end. As I write this, I’m currently 419 films in and am certain that someday I’ll be able to flip through that book, with memories of watching each and every one of the 1001.
Not only did I start watching all of the films within the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, but I also decided to keep a diary of sorts, with detailed thoughts and analysis for each of the entries that I watched. It was never meant to be an attention getter, it was merely a way for me to collect my thoughts into a space and look back over it whenever I got the urge. However, I did get a little bit of attention – attention that I have always appreciated and accepted graciously. Last summer, one of the marketing directors over at Barron’s Publishing (the publishing company for the 1001 book) contacted me and complimented me on my success. He followed up the compliments with the mailing of the most recent edition of the text, a review copy for me to look over. In addition to that, I’ve also been lucky enough to get many comments on my writings and one of the fondest comments I remember was from Karen Burroughs Hannsberry. At the time, I had no idea who she was, but after publishing her comment and checking out her Shadows and Satin blog, I realized two things: (1) She had an immense passion for films, most notably film noir and pre-code films, and (2) She wrote about them with a lovely style. I also quickly realized that she wasn’t just another blogger and that she had actually written a few books of her own, something that only made me appreciate her comment to my lowly blog more.
So what am I doing here? Well, not long after Karen posted that particular comment to my blog, I contacted her, not only to thank her, but ask her to collaborate with me on a project that I was calling Seven Shadows Week – a week-long tribute to seven film noir films – films that were in the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book and films that I’d yet to check out. I figured she’d blow me off. I mean, let’s face it, why would this expert on the subject want anything to do with a little ol’ blog like mine? When she messaged me back, I realized it was quite the contrary. Her enthusiasm to participate in my project was mind blowing to me and since that day I’ve realized what a truly genuine and personable lady Karen really was. Unfortunately, every once and a while I have to step away from the cinema scene and recharge my batteries, and what was now OUR project was put on the back burner. But, I’ve since returned and we’re ready to present Seven Shadows Week, something we really hope you’ll enjoy and something that we’d like to present with both of our viewpoints intact.
To tell you the truth, I’m not much of a film noir expert, myself. However, the few noir films that I have seen, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Recently, for my blog, I’ve written reviews for The Big Heat – a film that was so good I added it to one of my TOP 20 lists, Detour – another really good one and one that even I underappreciated at first, and White Heat – which took my love for Jimmy Cagney to a whole new level. There have been a few others that I’ve seen and really took to (The Wrong Man and The Killing – one that I watched years ago, before I was a blogger), but trust me, I’m not the expert that Karen is on the subject. Nor am I the writer that she is. I’ve always told the visitors to my own blog that I’m not a writer, nor will I ever claim to be. I’m an average Joe, with an average job, but at the end of the day I love watching movies and I love sharing my thoughts, even though those thoughts don’t ALWAYS turn out well on paper (or computer screen, rather). I make grammar mistakes and sometimes I ramble, but I hope that when your eyes reach the end of the page, you realize the most important thing – I love movies! I love that every single one of them has a heartbeat of its own and when you don’t like one, there’s always another waiting, ready to wrap you in its embraces and put on a show just for you. Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you’ll hate it, but that’s the great thing about films – we all find different things to love and different things to hate. As far as film noir goes, as much as it’s a genre that I’ve yet to really explore, it’s also one that allows you to sink in your teeth and get lost in the underworld. You get to go on capers, watch the good guys AND the bad guys (and girls) tote guns, and it’s all happening in this shadowy underbelly, a sinful world where anything goes. So, I hope you enjoy this week that Karen and I will present over the following seven days. I’ll be bringing my “A” game and I know Karen never leaves home without hers. I’m excited for the films that I’ll be taking in for the first time (except for Out of the Past, which I did see years ago) and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you. So please allow me to intrude on your favorite blog for the next week – I promise to tread lightly.
Tune in tomorrow for our first film of Seven Shadows Week: Murder, My Sweet (1944), starring Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, and Anne Shirley. Starting at high noon, posts will be here at Shadows and Satin and at Andrew’s blog, 1001 Movies I [Apparently] MUST See Before I Die. Don’t miss ‘em! KH