SCREENPLAY BY: A. I. Bezzerides

The coolest named screenwriter of them all is our SCREENPLAY BY star for Noirvember! Born in Samsun, Turkey in 1908, Albert Isaac Bezzerides emigrated with his family to the United States, settling in Fresno, California when he was two years old. During his time at the University of California, Berkeley, he published a short story, Passage into Eternity, in the Story Magazine, before writing the novel The Long Haul, which he adapted himself into They Drive By Night (1940, dir. Raoul Walsh). What followed was a streak of films noir, including Desert Fury (1947, dir. Lewis Allen), Thieves’ Highway (1949, dir. Jules Dassin), based on Bezzerides’ own novel Thieves’ Market, and On Dangerous Ground (1952, dir. Nicholas Ray). In 1955, came what is perhaps his greatest achievement. Based on Mickey Spillane’s novel of the same name, the screenplay of Kiss Me Deadly (dir. Robert Aldrich) was a turning point in the film noir universe, with its apocalyptic, allegorical and nihilistic style, as well as one of the first examples of ‘the great whatsit’ motif in the form of the glowing briefcase, which is still a beloved trope to this day (lookin’ at you, Quentin!). Ten years after this, he created the Western series The Big Valley with Louis F. Edelman. A prolific and underrated writer, A. I. Bezzerides died in 2007 at the age of 98.

5 thoughts on “SCREENPLAY BY: A. I. Bezzerides

  1. Mike Noonan

    Thanks again Carol for enlightening us about these underrated writers. He certainly had some impressive credits. He was one of the few from this era who succeeded in television.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Blair Schirmer

        Interesting. Other than the superb Thieves’ Highway I’ve usually found AIB to be sappy (On Dangerous Ground) or chaotic (the incoherent torture that is the dreary They Drive By Night, from which Bogie [Bogie!] disappears for close to an hour).

        Still, when you have Richard Conte to save your bacon…. Hey, speaking of which, I noticed Conte made it into your hommes fatale essay for The Big Combo. He was also exploited, rather typically for 30s, 40s, and 50s Hollywood on behalf of The (relentless) Female Gaze, shirtless on Thieves’ Highway’s main poster and sexually manipulating Rica and Polly throughout–not that they complained all that much.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Distraction Blogathon – Kiss Me Deadly (1955) and the glowing box… – The Old Hollywood Garden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s