In Michael Innes’ Death on a Quiet Day  (1957) some university chaps, on a study retreat (a “reading-party”) in the English countryside, are driving looking for the right spot on the road for a game of American chicken.  The five in the car are followed by the non-participating but watchful Leon on his motor-bike.  “David, twisting round to have a look at him, was vaguely reminded of something sinister in a film.  They swept round a bend and Leon vanished.”    “David turned again and saw Leon swing after them.  A Death-Rider in the fantasy of Cocteau’s  —   that was it.  Something between a speed cop and a Royal Automobile Club patrol  —  and waiting to convoy you to another world.”

The next day, in another part of the countryside, a murderous trio is pursuing David (they are all on foot) and they’re armed.  David is running towards the nearest village as his best hope of haven.  “They couldn’t  —  they just couldn’t  —  pursue him into that with guns blazing.  This that he’d strayed into wasn’t a 3-D western.”

Then, when David is doing some pursuing of his own afoot, he grabs his prof’s car.  “He had it started in a flash.  With a fantastic effect of unreality  —  of the unashamedly cinematographic  —  the pursuit and flight were continuing.  In  a whirl of dust the two cars disappeared down the track.”  (Michael Innes, Death on a Quiet Day, New York, Dodd, Mead, 1957.)

AND  —  CAN YOU GUESS which novel these two short squibs are from?

“He guessed nowadays you could see all there was to see in the world if you just took a season ticket at the nearest movie show.”

“”Sprawling here while you’re sitting in a chair makes me feel like a vamp in a talkie.”

The words vamp and talkie and the term movie show mark this as clearly from an earlier work, correct?  Correct.  Edith Wharton’s novel The Gods Arrive.

COMING SOON from Rick’s Flicks to that screen nearest you:

Red Road
My Beautiful Laundrette
Kenji Mizaoguchi’s Ronin
The Devil’s Own


Until then,
See you at the movies,




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