By Richard Rayner

ISBN-10: 0385509707

ISBN-13: 9780385509701

Most sensible booklet of the YearThe la instances • The Washington submit l. a. was once the quickest becoming urban on the planet, mad with oil fever, get-rich-quick schemes, and megastar scandals. It was once additionally rife with prepared crime, with a mayor within the pocket of the syndicates and a DA taking bribes to throw trials. In A vivid and responsible position, Richard Rayner narrates the entwined lives of 2 males, Dave Clark and Leslie White, who have been stuck up within the crimes, murders, and swindles of the day. Over a couple of transformative years, because the increase instances shaded into the melancholy, the adventures of Clark and White may motivate pulp fiction and substitute L.A.’s reckless optimism with a brand new cynicism. jointly, theirs is the story of ways the town of light went noir.

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Additional resources for A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption, and L.A.'s Scandalous Coming of Age

Sample text

On the one hand noir is a narrow film genre, born in Hollywood in the late 1930s when a Euro­ pean visual style, the twisted perspectives and stark chiaroscuros of German Expressionism, met an American literary idiom. This fruitful comingling gave birth to movies like Double Indemnity, directed by Vienna-born Billy Wilder and scripted by Raymond Chandler from 5 Richard Rayner a James M. Cain novella. The themes—murderous sex and the cool, intricate amorality of money—rose directly from the psychic mulch of Southern California.

In time he, like Ray­ mond Chandler, would transform himself into a writer. For Clark, the veteran from WWI and high-flying attorney, the future would be very different. White, who was small and slight and peered at the world through hom-rimmed spectacles, proved himself undauntable. The tall and suave Clark, with his movie star looks and his huge promise, went wrong in a most spectacular way. These contrasting trajecto­ ries have much to say about Los Angeles, and maybe about America. The two men are symbols of light and dark, linked emblems in a city's scandalous process of becoming.

Doctors warned that he was developing tuberculosis and advised rest at a clinic in the desert near Palm Springs. White couldn't afford it. Instead he gave up his Ventura darkroom and moved with his wife down the coast to Los Angeles, for the dryness of the air. A. for his health. 15 3 A hero Married C l a r k I llness and one of California's worst disasters combined to bring Leslie White to Los Angeles in the summer of 1928. A. Clark's father was named William Alton Clark, the "Alton" having been taken from the town in Illinois near where explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (from whom this line of Clarks claimed dis­ tant descent) started their great westward journey of discovery in 1804.

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