Farina Walks Along

Dennis Farina was brilliant in Michael Mann’s “Crime Story”

Aw crap, Dennis Farina is dead. The ex-cop was fantastic as a mob boss in one of my favorite road movies, Midnight Run. Michael Mann was critical to Farina’s launch as an actor. He gave him a small part in his terrific Thief, which got edited down to essentially Dennis getting shot to death as an anonymous thug. However, Mann gave him the starring role he deserved and was made for in the retro TV series Crime Story.

No one walks down a dark street to Del Shannon like Farina, 1950s-style cool to the hilt.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College Lonon. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over ten thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

5 thoughts on “Farina Walks Along”

  1. If Michael Mann had been able to do “Crime Story” the way he wanted – as a 20 year story arc – it would have been brilliant. The first season was still great. Thanks for posting this. To me, Dennis Farina is always Mike Torello.

      1. Roger Ebert was a huge fan of Bruce’s Blog, and Anthony Bourdain got turned onto Bruce via Roger. Now Bourdain is about to publish a pile of Bruce’s blog posts as the second book out of Bourdain’s new book operation.

        Bruce is a real character, and I believe his serialized blog posts are almost a new literary form. Beware! If you start reading, you might get hooked. I did, and wound up driving from Detroit to Chicago to have a beer; check out Bruce’s lewd political paintings on the walls of the Old Town Ale House; meet the author and all real life folks who star as figures in his blog. It’s a happening, man!

  2. I was fortunate enough to see Farina in a couple of Chicago theatrical productions (his best-known role was probably in “Bleacher Bums”) early in his acting career. It was his career as a Chicago cop that led to Mann’s casting him (in 1981) in “Thief.” On stage, Farina had a remarkable presence and a wonderful voice. In his TV and film work, his sense of humor touched everything he did.

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