Friday, April 26, 2024

Blood Of The Vines - On The Fritz

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌ ‌ This week, a trio of films directed by Fritz Lang. We have a wine to pour with each of them.

In my younger days, oh so long ago, I would occasionally have people over to my humble apartment to enjoy a fine beverage and some music. There would inevitably come a time when I was ready for them to leave. When that time came, I would grab my VHS copy (oh so long ago) of Fritz Lang's Metropolis and say, "Have you seen this? It's great!" Rarely would my guests feel that way about Metropolis, and I would be left alone, as I wished. 

By the way, the fine beverage back then was usually a PBR or MGD. Now I know better. I have wine. And friends who like Metropolis.

Oh, the things to which a drink can lead. Lang's The Woman in the Window is a 1944 film noir in which a completely innocent man gets wrapped up in a tangled web of deception. He admires a painting of a woman that he sees in a store window. She admires him admiring it. They go back to her place for that drink. Enter the jealous boyfriend, spoiling for a fight. The admirer kills him in self defense, and we're off to the races. 

Lang threw in an extra twist at the end of the picture, a trope that's been used several times since, always to good advantage. At least, I like it.

With a nod to the twist at the end, let's pair Dreaming Tree Wine with The Woman in the Window. The Crush Red Blend comes from Dave Matthews' winery in Geyserville.

Human Desire is a 1954 film noir taken from an Émile Zola novel. Glenn Ford gets top billing, but the real stars are the trains. Railroad buffs love to argue about which line is depicted, which car is shown, which engine is doing the work. Railroad buffs are almost as insufferable as wine aficionados. 

It is a noir, so you know there is a femme fatale involved (the glorious Gloria Grahame) and a burly guy who nobody likes (Broderick Crawford). Murder and jealousy roll along like a streamliner while good guys try to stay good and bad guys just don't give a damn. Let's have a fine beverage.

In fact, let's have a fine beverage from the Texas Hill Country. Barons Creek Vineyards does a Cabernet Sauvignon (What did you expect? It’s Texas) called Crazy Train. That certainly describes the vibe on the trains frequented by the characters in Human Desire.

Ford, Grahame and Lang had teamed up the year before in The Big Heat, a 1953 film noir. I love the one-sheet: "Somebody’s going to pay … because he forgot to kill me." I can picture some noirish oaf hitting himself on the forehead, saying, "Agh! I knew I forgot to do something!" Don’t you just hate that? When you forget to kill a guy? I know I do.

So this film noir is not The Big Sleep, and it’s not The Big Clock, it's The Big Heat. Look, we've got Ford and Grahame, which is ordinarily enough to warrant a viewing. But we also have Lee Marvin as a monster mobster, the kind of guy who throws a pot of hot coffee into a woman's face. Nobody, and I mean nobody, plays the bad guy like Lee Marvin. 

Michael Franzese runs a winery now. It's challenging, but not as much as his former job, mob boss. If you think making wine is difficult, try quitting the Columbo crime family. The Franzese Areni is an Armenian Pinot Noir which sells for about 30 bucks. If you're interested in decor, his pomegranate wine comes in a really cool looking bottle.

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