Will Witt does some man in the street interviews with Brandon Tattum.
I’m glad I could join a new women’s group who brought lunch to a Chicago Police Station on Friday. We were lucky to express our gratitude to the 75 police officers and staff who protect the city.
While police forces across the country have some bad cops who should be removed, the vast majority of officers are willing to die for our security. They’re brave, strong, kind and rational. In Chicago, they’re working 12 hour shifts every single day with no days off since May. They’re getting sworn at, insulted, beaten, and targeted weekend after weekend and often every day of the week.
It was a great chance to meet some wonderful people and to show thanks and support, which doesn’t come through when rioters are making havoc as they did again last night.
For some trenchant commentary of current events.
Famous for hard-boiled police stories, Ed McBain delights with And all through the House. Set in his 87th Precinct with thieves and drug dealers getting hauled in on Christmas Eve, McBain creates a – dare I say charming- modern nativity story with 16 year old, Puerto Rican Maria and her young husband José getting arrested for squatting in an abandoned building.
I enjoyed the tough guy bravado and the clever mix of the nativity with the police genre. Published with illustrations that have a straightforward look, this short story was a fun, quick read.
Gosnell, the movie about the raid and trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell whom the police learned about while tracking down illegal drug prescription sales. When raiding Gosnell’s clinic they discover a filthy facility where illegal activity is taking place. Gosnell, who comes across as creepy at best, was discovered to be performing illegal late term abortions, killing babies who survived abortions and of manslaughter in the case of one woman.
The film could be a lot more graphic. It protects viewers from the gore, but it is a violent topic and Gosnell seemed to relish and horde the remains of his work.
Much of the film follows the lead police officer and attorney who prosecute Gosnell. An important subplot involves a young, hip blogger who’s the only journalist with an interest in the story. She become key to the prosecution. It was particularly interesting to see how this young woman was initially given the brush off, but once the lawyer and officer listen, they realize that she has gotten crucial evidence.
The film was initially conceived as a TV movie and has that look. Still the acting was capable. At times the dialog was rather artificial in the way that Hollywood screenwriting can be. Nonetheless, I appreciated this film about a news story I knew little about.
While I’d heard of the Al Pacino movie Serpico, I didn’t know the plot or anything other than that Frank Serpico was a NY cop with a rebellious streak. This documentary, Frank Serpico, gives the story of Serpico often in his own words and in the words of New York Times reporters and cops who worked with him.
Frank Serpico is a colorful character and always has been. The film is chronological and provides background on his youth and family. I learned that before Serpico joined the police force, he was a teacher in New York.
Serpico seemed to be a skillful cop who from the start was on the periphery of the force because he wasn’t Irish American. Irish Americans made up the majority of the force. The film makes much of how Serpico was an outsider which made him more likely to speak out, report and testify against the pervasive corruption in the NYPD in the 1970s.
While working in narcotics, Serpico soon discovered that most of his peers were on the take. Another investigation supported Serpico’s conclusion. Cops on up the hierarchy were taking in millions. As predicted, Serpico was targeted by the cops who resented him. If you’ve seen the movie from the ’70s, you know he was shot and abandoned by the other cops. Because a civilian called the police, Serpico got medical attention and lived.
Now in his 80s, Frank Serpico describes what happened and why he was so ethical. There’s an interesting scene when Serpico was reunited with one of the cops who didn’t report Serpico getting shot.
The good cinematography that adds point of view. The movie with Pacino is brought up a lot and as Serpico wasn’t after fame, he exiled himself far from the city. A few areas could have been eliminated or shortened as they were repetitive. All in all, this was a film that held my interest that apparently isn’t as embellished as the Hollywood production. So if you’re interested in the police in general or Frank Serpico in particular, check out this film.
This week bloggers are challenged to share photos of police. To see more posts on this week’s prompt, click here.
Coral Gables Police, 1926, from Florida Memory on Flickr Commons
From Bell Telephone Magazine, 1922, from Internet Archives
Mounted police, New York, 1911 from LOC, Flickr Commons.
From around the world:
Indian and Chinese police, 1910, University of Washington, Flickr Commons
1. Each week, WordPress will provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Wednesday when the next photo theme will be announced.
2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.
3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.
Just a few wonderful posts:
- smile (daily post)
- smile (half a photograph)
- smile (q’s place)
- smile (travel with intent)
- smile (stenoodie)
- smile (jinan daily photo)
- smile (ungemaltes)
- smile (no fixed plans)
- smile (from hiding to blogging)
- smile (stenoodie)
- smile (city sonnet)
- smile (simply photos)
- smile (beijing daily photo)
- smile (|cee’s photography)
- favorite place (stenoodie)
- favorite place (ruined for life)
- favorite place (woollymuses)
- favorite place (nomad)
- favorite place (no fixed plans)
- favorite place (travel with intent)
- favorite place (a wandering memory)
- favorite place (la parole été donneé . . .)
- favorite place (come walk with me)
- favorite place (yi-chin ling)
- favorite place (spirit in politics)
The first noir crime film in Japan, in Kurosawa’s Stray Dog (1949) rookie detective, Murakami, gets his pistol stolen while he’s riding a crowded bus. Humiliated, Murakami (Mifune) takes responsibility for his carelessness and begs his boss to fire him. The pragmatic boss brushes his request away and pairs the rookie with a veteran detective (Shimura) named Sato. The two set out to track down the pistol.
Plagued by guilt, Mifune is obsessed with finding his pistol and disguises himself to search the black markets of aprés-guerre Tokyo. We see the squalor and darkness of these markets (which aren’t quite as bad as the poverty in Dos’ka den). These scenes are beautifully and masterfully shot to show this underworld full of hustlers, prostitutes, bums and drunks.
Aprés-guerre is a term Murakami and Sato discuss at length as Sato notices the difference between the pre-WWII generation and the aprés-guerre generation. A WWII veteran, Murakami expresses his sympathy and understanding for the culprit whom he imagines is a product of a rough society. Yusa, the thief, also is a veteran so Murakami identifies with him and knows how the war damaged the soldiers.
However, Sato tells him that thinking is generational and won’t help a cop do his work. If a cop’s philosophy views a criminal as being without choice or responsibility, the officer just won’t be able to work as he should, Sato asserts. Sato reminds Murakami that he’s chosen law and order, while Yusa’s chosen exploitation and crime. There is a difference, a big one.
As time passes, the missing gun is used in robberies and a murder. Murakami knows the pistol had all seven bullets and the plot becomes a race to get to the gun. In this race, the heroes’ search takes us through Japanese society from local watering holes, to a packed baseball field, to a burlesque hall, to a filthy shanty and to Sato’s simple, loving home. Along the way we’re treated to Sato’s wise practice. It’s fascinating to see him deal with each subject, be it a showgirl or a pickpocket, with just the right approach. His understanding of people makes chasing and shootouts unnecessary.
I learned about Stray Dog from the commentary feature with the Drunken Angel DVD. Mifune and Shimura starred in Drunken Angel. Here they both play completely different characters. Mifune moves from angry gangster to exemplary rookie cop and Shimura shifts from righteous drunk doctor to wise, veteran cop. Another pivotal performance was given by Keiko Awaji, who plays a showgirl, an uncooperative witness. In the extra features, Awaji explains how she didn’t want to be in this or any film. She wanted a career in operettas, but she got talked into this role. She was terribly pouty and unpleasant about the filming process and this difficult attitude made her performance work.
I never intended to get into Japanese films as much as I have. I now have been so impressed with the performances that it’s clear that it’s high time I learn the names of these actors.
Here’s a compilation of Mifune’s performances: