It’s a Bitter Little World
The Smartest, Toughest, Nastiest Quotes from Film Noir
by Charles Pappas
Writer’s Digest Books, 2005
$14.99 paperback, 224 pages
About the Book
If you want to know the meaning of life, don’t study Shakespeare, don’t peruse Plato. Everything you need to know in life you can learn from film noir. And everything you can learn from film noir, you can find in It’s a Bitter Little World.
Author Charles Pappas scavenged sixty years of film noir—from The Maltese Falcon to Sin City—to find the answers to everything that ever perplexed men and vexed women—from love and money to law and order to why stealing’s just like sex, and how come, if you really want to hurt somebody, you need a New Yorker.
Arranged by decade, the scalding quotes and cigarette-burn dialogue reflect an America morphing from Sinatra and fedoras to P. Diddy and Botox. The language is a swig of Rum-and-Coke at breakfast. It’s the last words at a funeral nobody came to. It’s a saxophone on a rainy night when you can’t sleep. It’s all the loneliness and despair and romance and courage in your life rolled up into one neat package. It’s poker player Mike McDermott warning in Rounders, “If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.” And finally it’s femme-fatigued Jeff Bailey in Out of the Past explaining that there isn’t a way to win, but “there’s a way to lose more slowly.”
“Pappas’ twin loves of language and film noir are brilliantly blended into this endlessly entertaining book.”
—Phil Hall, contributing editor to Film Threat and author of The Encyclopedia of Underground Movies