Tuesday, October 16, 2012

James M. Cain And The Cocktail Waitress

New Book by Cain. Click to enlarge the photo.

James M. Cain. Click to enlarge.


Link above is to a good article on Cain.

Still from Double Indemnity. Fred McMurray is the sap. The patsy. The fool lusting after Barbara Stanwyck.
Click on the photo to enlarge it.

It was a real revelation reading Cain for the first time. When I picked up THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE and read the first sentence I could not put it down until I finished the book.
Cain knew how to grab you and not let you go.

He made a big mistake moving back to Maryland and Hyattsville, Maryland. Nobody is interested in fiction set in Hyattsville, Maryland no matter how good it is.

LA sells and Hollywood really sells.  There is not much there there in Hyattsville. Who cares what a waitress in Hyattsville does or does not do? Nobody that's who.

Cain wrote for the movies and his books read just like a movie. They are that direct and visual. The dialogue is as realistic as you can get. He was fascinated with the way people really speak. Working class people talking street talk.

People reading Cain for the first time don't know what to make of his style. Is he a first rate fiction writer or is he a pulp fiction writer or is he both?

What he is is very entertaining. A master of his craft. Just like Patricia Highsmith, and Raymond Chandler, and Hammett.

I wanted to go visit him in Hyattsville back in 1968 and 1969 and never got around to it. But from what I have learned of him and his life at that time it might have been a bad time to try to visit him with his health failing and his wife dying.
I suspect he was a quiet man who did not want to be bothered. He was a real writer. He lived his life on paper. And even though he thought his life was not interesting his books sure were.

I have other posts on the blog about James M. Cain. Check them out. Click on the label James M.Cain in the Labels box below.