Trailers From Hell.
This week's Blood of the Vines is a real killer. "Murder USA" hangs over the trio of classic films which get the wine pairing treatment this time. Hired henchmen who handle the dirty work for crime bosses - sounds like a job for Syrah. Isn't that what California winemakers put in their Pinot?
There could be good money in punching out an enemy - or punching up a Pinot Noir. I wouldn’t know. I tap out humorous "observations" just ahead of deadline. I get paid in popcorn for writing these weekly musings. Good thing I like popcorn.
The 1958 noir, Murder By Contract, stars Vince Edwards as a man who doesn't care how he makes his money, as long as he saves up for that cute little house over on Easy Street. Edwards may be better remembered for his early '60s role as TV's Dr. Ben Casey - who earned his scratch by saving lives, not taking them. Maybe his Ben Casey screen test was the Murder By Contract scene in which he impersonates a doctor. "Just tell me where it hurts, I'll get back to you in a few years."
In Murder, our killer gets more than bargained for. The target is a woman. Hmmm. Hired killer suddenly plagued by ethics? He has to draw the line somewhere - doesn't he? The storm drain shootout is as good a place as any.
Doffing my fedora to the feminine victim, I can't resist a bottle of Lady Wine with this film. Marketed by the Kentucky winery under the phrase, "Weep no more my lady, welcome to the taste of Louisville," they can ship this sweet, ten-dollar wine to 43 states. Unfortunately, California is one of them.
In 1995's To Die For, Nicole Kidman isn't the clueless target of murder. She's the one hiring the job out. In her world, husbands who stand in the way of wifey's rise to fame don't make it to the second reel. He wants her to give up her celebrity status as a TV weatherwoman to make babies and wait tables. Watch it, girlfriend. The karmic wheel is a bitch when it comes back around.
Deerfield Ranch Winery has a Chardonnay for the occasion - Blonde Ambition. This Russian River Valley bottling is dedicated to the winemaker's wife. Had the hubby in To Die For been as thoughtful, he might have made it to the final scene.
Rope is from 1948 - a good year for movies, Buicks and the Cleveland Indians. It wasn't the best year for Alfred Hitchcock, since the movie sort of flopped. Rope is now hailed as a taut masterpiece of noir. Its long scenes give movie nerds a launching pad for discussions that put regular people to sleep. Sort of like when wine nerds try to tell you about Riesling.
Rope features a "perfect murder" - committed not for money, but as a psychological exercise. The perfection gets tarnished at a dinner party where the buffet table holds the dead body. "Oh, no more for me, but that leg was delicious."
Hitchcock had a lavish getaway home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where he reportedly grew Riesling grapes. Called Heart O’ the Mountainhttp://www.heartothemountain.com/, it is now a winery. Their wine can be pricey, but the Chalone Pinot Noir goes for $25. Tastes pretty good with popcorn, too.
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