The Caller (2008)

Guest Blogger: John Grant, author of A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir: The Essential Reference Guide, due on shelves at the end of October. Check out Noirish, John Grant’s noir blog that goes above and beyond the Encyclopedia.

Jimmy Stephens (Langella) is a “numbers guy” who cooks up over-optimistic financial projections for US energy corporations so that the latter can use these figures in order to exploit developing countries and saddle them with debts they can never afford to repay. Sickened by the practices of the E.N. Corporation, whose habits include slaughtering foreigners who “fail to understand” the merits of having their nations economically ruined, he decides to blow their whole scam wide open—in so doing, of course, signing his own death warrant.

The corporation commissions a hit on him via artist and fixer Teddy (Ballerini), but Jimmy does a deal to postpone the killing by two weeks. During that time he makes his peace with his half-senile mother (Stenborg), his chanteuse girlfriend Eileen (Harring) and the local child whom he and Eileen have taken under their wing, Lila (Sosa). As importantly, he hires by phone—using a voice modulator and the false name John Doe—small-time PI Frank Turlotte (Gould) to follow one Jimmy Stephens (i.e., himself).

Find out the rest of the story on NOIRISH!

Featuring rumpled PIs, shyster lawyers, corrupt politicians, double-crossers, femmes fatales, and, of course, losers who find themselves down on their luck yet again, film noir is a perennially popular cinematic genre. This extensive encyclopedia describes movies from noir’s earliest days – and even before, looking at some of noir’s ancestors in US and European cinema – as well as noir’s more recent offshoots, from neonoirs to erotic thrillers. Entries are arranged alphabetically, covering movies from all over the world – from every continent save Antarctica – with briefer details provided for several hundred additional movies within those entries. A copious appendix contains filmographies of prominent directors, actors, and writers.

With coverage of blockbusters and program fillers from Going Straight (US 1916) to Broken City (US 2013) via Nora Inu (Japan 1949), O Anthropos tou Trainou (Greece 1958), El Less Wal Kilab (Egypt 1962), Reportaje a la Muerte (Peru 1993), Zift (Bulgaria 2008), and thousands more, A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir is an engrossing and essential reference work that should be on the shelves of every cinephile.



Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on September 20, 2013, in Film & TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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