Monday, February 20, 2006

Received the Criterion Shoot the Piano Player DVD from my parents for my birthday. While watching one of the extras, an early-‘80s documentary on director Francois Truffaut, I was quite pleased to learn the following regarding the book that the film was based on -- a pulp-noir novel called Down There by David Goodis:

The “imaginary landscape” is really Philadelphia, the city where Goodis was born in 1917, where he spent most of his life, and where he would set almost all of his books. Though Goodis himself might be found in the quiet, historical areas of Philadelphia, his characters only passed through there on the way to the slums they called home, the swampy hell of Port Richmond, Ruxton Street, Skid Row, and other seedy backstreets. To enter these neighborhoods isn’t just to enter a ghetto. It’s stepping into the first circle of hell, the circle of misery and ruin.
Well then. That’s a pretty dim view of Philly, even for me. Here is a Philly-centric article about Goodis, from an online ‘zine on pulp writers. It elaborates further on that bleakness, and it also explains "Ruxton Street."

Truffaut of course transplanted the scenario of Down There to France.


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