Artist Figure Drawing Resource
Although lesser known than peers Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, David Goodis (1917–67) also wrote small press pulp fiction during the 1940s and 1950s. Dark Passage (1946), perhaps his most recognized work in this genre, became a film with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in 1947 and was later the subject of a lawsuit over copyright infringement. His books, characterized by self-effacing archetypal antiheroes and cold-hearted femme fatales, also saw great popularity in France. Apart from a brief stint in Hollywood, where he worked as a screenwriter, Goodis spent a somewhat reclusive life in Philadelphia until his death. This modestly unassuming film, produced and narrated by the son of a woman to whom Goodis was briefly married, combines interviews with archival photographs and newsreels, along with family photos, home movies, letters, and newspaper clippings, all of which are also included as bonus features. Goodis/noir fans as well as general audiences will enjoy this short, personal, and quirky biography.
A literary historian wrote that pulp fiction writer David Goodis “didn’t write novels, he wrote suicide notes.” Best known for Dark Passage, a novel adapted into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Goodis was mysterious and tempestuous, according to this engrossing film. Filmmaker and narrator Larry Withers became interested in the author after discovering that his mother had been secretly married to Goodis in the 1940s. Film outtakes, vintage photographs, archival footage, dramatizations, and interviews with relatives, friends, writers, and historians make up the bulk of the coverage. Dramatic excerpted readings of Goodis’ works showcase his realistic and stylistic prose, while appropriate background music, from classical to jazz, helps set the dark mood of this profile of a writer ”whose life remains full of mystery and speculation.” Will attract movie and pulp fiction aficionados who should also enjoy Pulp Fiction: The Golden Age of Storytelling from Global Science.
Midwest Book Review:
David Goodis...To A Pulp is the DVD biography of noir writer David Goodis, whose distinctively gritty and realistic prose distinguishes him. He was a screenwriter for the Warner Brothers movie Dark Passage, which was based on one of his novels. Yet shortly after this brush with fame he divorced, left Hollywood, and returned to living in his parent’s home in Philadelphia, where he continued to write dark paperback novels for the rest of his life. Just who was Goodis? What caused him to break with Hollywood? What was the end result of his lawsuit against ABC television over the series, “The Fugitive”? David Goodis...To A Pulp answers all these questions and more, revealing the reclusive life of an isolated yet gifted author. Highly recommended, especially for public library DVD collections.
In the pantheon of noir writers David Goodis is one of the best. Yet, today he’s probably one of the least known authors within the genre. He achieved his greatest fame when Warner Brothers produced the film Dark Passage, based on his novel, and hired him as a screenwriter. However, within a short time he was divorced, left Hollywood and retreated to his parents’ home in Philadelphia, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Now the story can be revealed. Using archival footage, rare photographs, dramatization and interviews with friends, relatives and scholars, this documentary traces the trajectory of a promising career and the quiet descent of a gifted and sad author.
Host: Larry Withers
Running time: 76 minutes