Drifting and striding, in Hollywood and elsewhere, with Geoff Nicholson - author of The Lost Art of Walking, and Walking in Ruins withcholson, author of Toff Nidrifting and stomping withcholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking, considers the narrower and wider shores of obsessive pedestrianism.
Showing posts with label Sinatra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sinatra. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I seem to have seen more than the usual numbers of trailers for the new movie Gangster Squad, which may mean that the movie’s very good, or it may mean it’s very bad – large amounts of bought publicity attach to both.  Either way, there seems to be something all too familiar about the way it’s being sold: lots of images of dangerous looking men walking (or I dare say striding or strutting) across the screen or into the camera.

We’ve seen a lot of this before haven’t we?  If we’ve seen Mulholland Falls we’ve already seen Nick Nolte, who actually appears in Gangster Squad, doing something very similar indeed.  
          If you saw any of these guys walking down the street towards you, you’d cross the street to avoid them right?  The fact that they’re cops, that they’re morally ambiguous, but they’re more or less on our side, really doesn’t make any difference, does it?

Gangster Squad is based on a “true” story - which somebody, somewhere, decided long ago was a selling point for a movie – and it deals with the take down of gangster Mickey Cohen.  There’s no denying that Cohen was a very bad guy, but as a walker, above on the right, he just didn’t have that dangerous, threatening stride.

Compare and contrast with the Kray brothers.  If you saw these two psychos walking towards you, you wouldn’t just cross the street - you’d leave the neighbourhood.

Certain kinds of rock band have always liked to employ a dangerous strut, or swagger, as well as a bit of moral ambiguity.  For me there’s always been some serious disconnect between the image and the reality of the Clash, but there’s no denying they looked and dressed the part, above.

And finally this image, by Terry O’Neill, of Chairman Frank Sinatra, accompanied by admittedly fringe members of his “board.”  To some eyes, this picture shrieks “links to organized crime,” though defenders say no, no, he’s actually with his stunt double, his bodyguard, his personal assistant and the film set's head of security, who was an ex-cop.  The fact these guys just happen to look like mobsters is  a complete accident.
And even if Sinatra’s guys are complete softies, the image still delivers the same message: “I’m walking here, get out of my way.”  And you can see in the picture that everybody has.
         “Your way Frank, sure.”