Author Archives: olivercraner

Slaughter Commissions: Crime Films and the Italian Crisis

Mario Imperoli’s 1976 film Like Rabid Dogs opens with a brutal armed robbery that takes place in the bowels of Rome’s Stadio Olimpico in the middle of a football match. The footage used to frame this scene is taken from … Continue reading

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‘Everyone Middle East is here’: The British in Iraq

The real difficulty here is that we don’t know exactly what we intend to do in this country. Can you persuade people to take your side when you are not sure in the end whether you’ll be there to take … Continue reading

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The Writing Racket: Balzac’s ‘Lost Illusions’

During his lifetime, Balzac’s debts were as famous as his novels and more widely discussed than his love affairs. Money was the great unifying subject of La Comédie humaine and the legal and moral dimensions of debt were an important … Continue reading

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On Marvin Gaye’s ‘Midnight Love’

In February 1981 Marvin Gaye moved to the seaside town of Ostend in Belgium, as a guest of the concert promoter Freddy Cousaert. This was a rescue mission for Cousaert, as well as an unmissable opportunity: a fan of Gaye, … Continue reading

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The Queen of Condé Nast

  I: Condé Nasties On the surface, Anna Wintour took public humiliation well. It was easier when The Devil Wears Prada was just a book, even if it was a New York Times bestseller and progenitor of an entire literary … Continue reading

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American Carnage: Sarah Palin’s Revolution

  I: Family  Sarah Palin was like a comet zooming across the American sky: out of Alaska, a blazing vision of the republic’s future. In the thick of this current political era, it is worth re-watching the first national speech that … Continue reading

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Alliance of Nations: Powell and Pressburger on Great Britain

Great Britain, as it emerged in the years between the Act of Union and the accession of Queen Victoria, and as it exists today, must be seen both as one relatively new nation, and as an alliance of several older … Continue reading

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‘The Town Blazing Scarlet’: Swansea’s Blitz

They take you up on Townhill at night to see the furnaces in the pit of the town blazing scarlet, and the parallel crossing lines of lamps…If it is always a city of dreadful day, it is for the moment … Continue reading

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Jungle Brothers: Antonio Margheriti’s Wars

Vietnam 80-83 When Hollywood tackled Vietnam in the late 1970s, it did so with a troubled conscience — The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now, for example, portrayed the conflict as a moral and psychological catastrophe — but the response of … Continue reading

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The Letwin Amendment

His political ideas are already as antiquated as Noah’s ark. I do not know a single one of the younger men in England who is influenced by them in the slightest degree, though one hears of one occasionally, just as … Continue reading

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