AshEdit—News About Books & Writers

January 30, 2012

James M. Cain and The Birth of Noir

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 7:21 pm

Joan Crawford as MILDRED PIERCE, the film based on JAMES M. CAIN's novella.

On Saturday September 28th, 2012 the JAMES M. CAIN BIRTH OF NOIR bus tour rolled out of The Big Bang Coffee Shop parking lot in downtown Los Angeles, hosted by histnoirians (my own coinage of historian + noir) Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, owners and operators of ESOTOURIC TOURS.  Cain is often cited as “the father of hardboiled,” and very few writers possess his startling vision and insight into dark side of human nature. My very favorite of his novellas is SERENADE, and the tour did not disappoint: great emphasis was given to the story, including a nod to Cain’s operatic influences. Only histnoirians could somehow dig up a photo of Cain’s own opera-singing mother–just one of a full slide and movie-clip presentation screened on the bus’ on-board video screen. Here are some highlights from the day. –Elaine Ash



WHOOPS, I’VE JUST BEEN CORRECTED: It was not James M. Cain who spent his entire check, it was John Fante’s hero, Arturo Bandini. My apologies.


The MILDRED PIERCE movie home, exterior, 1945

The MILDRED PIERCE home circa 2012, just one of stops on the tour. Note how the palm tree has grown!

DOUBLE INDEMNITY -- Walter Neff and Phyllis contemplate her husband, whom they've just murdered, on the train tracks at the Glendale Train Station, 1945

Interior Glendale Train Station and a reading from DOUBLE INDEMNITY, where scenes from the movie were shot. Screenplay by Raymond Chandler, Director: Billy Wilder.

Meeting place for the tour: THE BIG BANG COFFEE SHOP, where cops in uniform get a 20% discount. Top right, a corner of the building which houses the LA CRIME LAB.

JAMES M. CAIN -- A never-published novel titled THE COCKTAIL WAITRESS has been unearthed, slated for publication in 2012. CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Planning a trip to Los Angeles? Don’t miss one of the incredible noir tour-offerings from Kim and Richard at Esotouric. Check them out:



  1. Booze and a B-girl. He obviously had his priorities straight!

    Comment by Al Tucher — January 31, 2012 @ 6:19 am

  2. Thanks for joining us on the bus, the great photos and kind words. Swell to have you aboard!

    Comment by Kim Cooper — January 31, 2012 @ 7:59 am

  3. I guess I don’t have a bar where I spent most of my early days. sigh.

    Comment by charlesgramlichCharles Gramlich — January 31, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  4. You are too funny Charles! With the way you work, who has time for drinking?

    Comment by ashedit — January 31, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  5. Looks like a good way to spend a few hours!

    Comment by Oscar Case — February 2, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

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