If you’re into noir movies, or architectural icons, this could be one for you.
The Empire State Building Murders promises to blur the lines between fictional drama and documentary.
Filmmaker William Karel uses footage from old Hollywood movies to string together a ‘Mafia drama.’
Footage from The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, The Big Heat, Young Man With a Horn, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, The Naked City, Casablanca and Gun Crazy, will combine with such glorious period lines as “A gorgeous blonde with a body that just wouldn’t quit”; “The city that never sleeps turned me into an insomniac”; and “…he decided to rub the other two out.”
It airs Sunday, 21 December at 8.30pm on SBS.
THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING MURDERS
Sunday, 21 December at 8.30pm
“By the time you get this tape, I should be dead, too. They won’t let me live Jim. I know too much. I’m counting on you to rid the nation of this filth. I love you. You’re the only one I’ve ever loved. How many times in our lives do we really fall for someone? Once, maybe twice, if we’re lucky. Goodbye Jim.” Penny Baxter.
In December 2007, a letter turned up at a post office in New York City that a certain Penny Baxter had written to Jim Kowalski, back in 1949. She claimed that her husband, Mafia godfather Tony Carlucci, wanted her dead. For the elderly Jim Kowalski, this letter brings back a lot of memories. He’s one of the few people left who experienced, first hand, the doomed love affair between an ambitious girl and her Mafia boss-boyfriend, and its impact on everyone around them.
So begins William Karel’s ode to American film noir that combines myth with reality and blurs fiction and non-fiction. The Empire State Building Murders which will screen on SBS on Sunday December 21 at 8.30pm is a feature film dressed up like a documentary.
Karel has edited countless film clips from old classics into a black-and-white drama in which the Empire State Building plays a key role. Using excerpts from such Hollywood classics as The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, The Big Heat, Young Man With a Horn, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, The Naked City, Casablanca and Gun Crazy, Karel also persuaded actors from the 1930s and 1940s to play characters in his Mafia drama. Living legends such as Kirk Douglas, Ben Gazzarra, Mickey Rooney, Marsha Hunt, Richard Erdman, and Anne Jeffreys, talk about a past in which Lauren Bacall is Penny, James Cagney is Tony. Even Humphrey Bogart and Glen Ford come along for the ride.
In style with the noir period is dialogue such as “A gorgeous blonde with a body that just wouldn’t quit”; “The city that never sleeps turned me into an insomniac”; and “…he decided to rub the other two out.”