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James M. Cain

On July 1, 1892, James Mallahan Cain was born in Annapolis, Maryland into an Irish Catholic family to James William Cain, an English professor, and Rose Mallahan, a professional opera singer. He was the eldest of five children. As a young man, he wanted to be an opera singer, but he didn’t have a strong enough voice. So, in 1910, Cain graduated from Washington College, becoming a journalist for the “Baltimore American”, then the “Baltimore Sun” in 1914. Two years later, he was drafted into the United States Army, serving as a Private. During the final year of the first World War, while in France, he wrote for an army magazine. Later, he returned to the Baltimore Sun where he would remain until 1923.

In 1931, Cain moved to Hollywood, spending several years as a screenwriter. Mostly uncredited, Cain preformed touchups and revisions for other screenwriter’s work. He was only credited on two movies, “Stand Up and Fight” (1939) and “Gypsy Wildcat” (1944). He would receive an “additional dialogue” credit on the film “Algiers” (1938).

Cain became a novelist with his first book “The Postman Always Rings Twice” being published in 1934 after it being rejected twice. He would go on and scribe nearly 20 more books, including “Serenade” (1937), “Mildred Pierce” (1941), and “Double Indemnity” (1944).

Cain would continue writing up until his death in 1977 at the age of 85.

“Gypsy Wildcat”(1944)is the chosen film for the month. When the body of Count Orso is found in the woods near a gypsy campsite, a Wicked Baron charges the travelling performers for his murder. While held imprisoned in his castle, the baron uncovers a secret about Carla, a lovely dancer. A secret that she, herself, is unaware of.

Directed by Roy William Neill, the Universal Pictures production in technicolor starts Maria Montez as Carla and Jon Hall as her love interest. Co-written by our honored pick of the month, Mr. Cain, is filled with action, romance, and drama. The 77 minute flick is an entertaining ride. A little hokey but fun all the same.

So, grab your favorite coffee, tea, or hot coco with chocolate sparkles, kick up your feet, and it ready for a little adventure. “Gypsy Wildcat” can be seen on YouTube for free.

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