Frye at the Movies: “Detective Story”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8NnjbzsTP8

Frye refers to this movie in his 1952 diary as a “sardonic masterpiece.” Detective stories generally were a source of almost guiltless pleasure for him (even putting aside their value in studying popular and primitive archetypes), and he made reference to them often. However, this personal account in his 1942 diary of reading them is easily the most charming:

I don’t think that I have either a highbrow or a lowbrow pose about detective stories, but I don’t really quite understand why I like reading them.  I read them partly for the sake of the overtones.  I’m not a connoisseur of them: I can never guess what the hell’s up when the detective pulls out a watch and shouts: “My God, we may yet be in time!”, shoves the narrator and half the country’s police force into a taxi, dashes madly across town and finds the girl I’d placidly thought was the heroine all equipped with a blunt instrument & an animal snarl.  I’m always led by the nose up the garden path in search of a false clue, and I never notice inconsistencies.  And I always get let down when I find out who dun it.  As I say, I like overtones.  A good style, some traces of wit & characterization, a sense of atmosphere, and a lot of the professional intricacies of the game can go to hell.  Yet I want a good novel in that particular convention & no other.  The answer is, I think, that I’m naturally a slow & reflective reader, & make copious marginalia.  In the detective story I live for a moment in the pure present: I’m passively pulled along from stimulus to stimulus, and, ignorant & idle as that doubtless is, I’m fascinated by it.  Yet I seldom finish without disappointment. (CW 8, 15)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXAJamX_9a4&feature=related

Part 2

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXoxktUZYg0&feature=related

Part 3

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPJlGZhkGSo&feature=related

Part 4

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9C6jbxHx6Y&feature=related

Part 5

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKuazlSIg44&feature=related

Part 6

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJQrRudqh8Q&feature=related

Part 7

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2S59kvEI9I&feature=related

Part 8

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrjXYn7zf4c&feature=related

Part 9

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_s6dxb_11g&feature=related

Part 10

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