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April 16, 2024, midnight

Kiss Me Deadly, More AI Bezzerides Films at American Cinematheque - IndieWire

When asked about the intricate layers of meaning in his adaptation of Mickey Spillane's crime novel "Kiss Me Deadly, " screenwriter A. I. Bezzerides denied any conscious intention of exploring the post-WWII anxieties that gave the film its tense core. He confessed that he simply wrote the script for fun and didn't consider the hidden messages related to the A-bomb, McCarthyism, or the poetry. However, Bezzerides, along with director Robert Aldrich, inadvertently crafted one of the greatest film noirs of all time—a gripping detective story that delves into the heart of 1950s America and reveals impending chaos. In an upcoming retrospective by the American Cinematheque titled "Written by A. I. , " Bezzerides' significant contributions as a novelist-turned-screenwriter receive well-deserved recognition. The retrospective presents five essential films either scripted by Bezzerides or based on his fiction, symbolizing the fusion of film and technology prevalent in his work—depicting humanity's intricate relationship with machines that both ease life and contribute to its downfall. Although "Kiss Me Deadly" stands as Bezzerides' most prominent and noteworthy film, his devastatingly dark and ironically humorous talent is evident throughout his body of work.

Nicholas Ray's 1951 thriller "On Dangerous Ground" displays equally compelling storytelling with an even more ruthless protagonist—Robert Ryan's cop, trampling civil rights. Another example is "They Drive By Night, " adapted from Bezzerides' novel "The Long Haul, " which seamlessly combines gripping suspense and social realism as it unravels the tale of long-distance truckers whose pursuit of the American dream leads to murder. Adding to the program are the technicolor noir melodrama "Desert Fury" and the action-filled "Sirocco, " set in Syria, featuring impeccable performances by Humphrey Bogart and Lee J. Cobb. All these films are essential viewing, providing a crash course on the irreplaceable voice of one of Hollywood's most vital creators—an irreplicable voice that artificial intelligence can never replicate. The American Cinematheque will showcase "Written by A. I. " from April 20 to May 19.

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