The Pic­tures BY GUY BOLTON

BY GUY BOLTON (ONEWORLD) OUT NOW

Crime Scene - - POST MORTEM - By JONATHAN WRIGHT

Jonathan Craine is cor­rupt. Nom­i­nally, he’s em­ployed as a de­tec­tive with the LAPD, but that’s re­ally just a cover for his role as a “fixer”, a man who en­sures that scan­dal never at­taches it­self to Hol­ly­wood stars and ex­ec­u­tives. He’s also a man in mourn­ing fol­low­ing the death of his ac­tor wife, an event that’s con­vinced him to start anew. Shame no­body told MGM boss Louis B. Mayer, who calls on Craine when a pro­ducer work­ing on The Wiz­ard Of Oz is found dead in his home. Craine’s role is clear: to have the death de­clared a sui­cide and to pro­tect Gale Good­win, the newly wid­owed star­let, from the press. Ex­cept that’s not how things work out. Partly be­cause a young cop, O’neill, won’t take short cuts and be­cause he finds his own son threat­ened, Craine ends up be­com­ing, once again, a good cop in a bad city.

Per­haps in­evitably, it’s dif­fi­cult not to read The Pic­tures with­out think­ing of, say, Chan­dler, Bog­art or LA Con­fi­den­tial. Pit­ted against such strong an­tecedents, Guy Bolton’s de­but seems slightly over­writ­ten, too con­cerned with estab­lish­ing pe­riod de­tail when noir should be eco­nom­i­cal. Nonethe­less, Craine is a well-drawn char­ac­ter. Get him mov­ing through a sat­is­fy­ingly grisly case more quickly next time around, and he has real box­of­fice po­ten­tial.

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