Film noir by Annie Leibovitz

Photos: Anne Leibovitz. Text excerpts: Vanity Fair.


THE GUMSHOES
Oscar: There’s only two types of people in this town: the Killers and the Killed. If you’re not the one, you’re gonna end up the other.
Jimmy: What about the dames, chief? Where do they fit in?
Oscar: Have you seen the dames in this town? Warm beneath the sheets, hot under the collar, and ice-cold under the skin. That reminds me—I’ve got an appointment. Don’t wait up, fellas. I might be a while.


THE CRIME SCENE.
On a hard bed of wet L.A. pavement, Oscar has begun his eternal rest. Sweet dreams, detective.


LAST RITES.
There are three types of funerals: celebratory, sad, and sad-sack.


THE LADIES OF L.A.
“Lemons grow on trees. “Reputations, decidedly, do not.”


THE INTERROGATION.
Det. Archer: Murder is a savage affair, Miss Slade.
Muriel: And what kind of affairs do you prefer, Detective?
Det. Archer: That’s my own business, Miss Slade.
Muriel: Your own business, huh? Any chance I could make partner?
Det. Archer: Lady, your partner is murder. And it’s a silent partner.


THE DRESSING ROOM.
He may have heard things, though. What kinds of things? Just things, that’s all.


THE RING.
The true meaning of boxing: when they tell you to take out your opponent in the fourth, you take him out in the fourth, and you don’t ask questions—got it?


THE SNOOP.
Stay real quiet-like … and very still … Don’t even breathe.

THE GETAWAY.
Sometimes a woman needs a man who’s man enough to remind her that she’s a woman—that is, if she’s woman enough to take it.


LOBBY OF THE DAMNED
The place is a rattrap, but that’s why they’re here: to trap rats.


END OF THE PARTY
For most of L.A., it’s morning. For those here, it will always be last night.


THE SHOOT-OUT
And when her pistol starts talking … well, like a lot of ladies, it’s hard to shut up.


THE BIG REVEAL
…the face of this man, who kills for love, or money, or some combination of the two. Or maybe it’s just for kicks. Wherever people try to make themselves into something good and decent, wherever a man tries to make that one last score, wherever a woman feels like yielding to a fellow, he is there. In a town where the law is kill or be killed, die or die later, he is always watching, always waiting for his chance, and revealing himself only in the final reel, with the City of So-Called Angels spreading below him like a still-warm bloodslick.

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