|Side Streets and Back Alleys:
The 5th Annual Festival of Film Noir
by the Lloyd E. Rigler - Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation
Media Sponsors: FEMME
FATALES Magazine & LA WEEKLY
More than 60 years after it began in the pulp magazines and
expressionistic, doom-laden thrillers and crime movies of the 1930s and 1940s,
Film Noir continues to cast its wicked spell on us. This year, we continue our quest to
bring renowned classics back to the big screen, and to unearth obscure delights that have
slipped beneath the radar screen of even the savviest noir fans. The Festival kicks off
with a special in-person Tribute to one of the most acclaimed actors of the noir era, Farley
Granger, wholl be making a very rare Los Angeles appearance with screenings of
the Alfred Hitchcock classics STRANGERS ON A TRAIN andROPE, Nicholas Rays superb
THEY LIVE BY NIGHT, and Mark Robsons elusive EDGE OF DOOM.
Photo: Farley Granger (left) in EDGE OF DOOM. Courtesy of
Other highlights of the series include brand-new 35 mm. prints of
William Dieterles DARK CITY, Rudolph Mates UNION STATION, Frank Tuttles
THE GLASS KEY and Abraham Polonskys FORCE OF EVIL, screenings of long-lost crime
gems STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR, WOMAN ON THE
RUN, BLACK TUESDAY, FOURTEEN HOURS and ABANDONED, plus a special Hugo Haas double-header
of the delirious, low-rent melodramas BAIT and PICKUP and much more!
Were thrilled to welcome as guests for this
years Noir Festival actresses Coleen Gray, Patricia Hitchcock OConnell, Julie
Adams, Joan Evans, Jan Sterling and Nancy Olson, actors Peter Graves and Kevin McCarthy,
writer A.I. Bezzerides, composer David Raksin, and long-time Fest favorite, director
Joseph Newman - ! Festival co-programmer Eddie Muller will also be joining us for a
special booksigning of his new crime novel Shadow Boxer and his poster book The
Art Of Noir.
Friday, April 4 - 7:00 PM
Farley Granger and Patricia Hitchcock OConnell
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN,
1951, Warner Bros., 101 min. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. A chance encounter on a train
triggers an unstoppable race toward double-murder. Hitchcocks classic thriller is a
finely-tuned engine of suspense, taking barely a breath as it steams through a
spine-tingling story of fate, coincidence, guilt and psychopathy -- favorite themes of
noir writer Patricia Highsmith, whose novel is adapted by the legendary Raymond Chandler. Discussion following with actor Farley Granger. Actress Patricia
Hitchcock O'Connell will not be able to attend. (schedules permitting).
Friday, April 4 - 9:45 PM
Proto-Noir Double Header:
New 35 mm. Print! THE GLASS KEY,
1935, Paramount (Universal), 80 min. Dir. Frank Tuttle. Our excavation of
"proto noir" offers this rare screening of the first version of Dashiell
Hammetts novel of corrupt big city politics. This one features several highly
evocative passages that presage the 1940s shadowy evocation of hardboiled detective
fiction. Tight-lipped George Raft fits right into Hammetts cynical and
sinister world. Look for Ray Milland in one of his earliest roles!
STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR,
1940, RKO (Warners), 64 min. Dir. Boris Ingster. A newspaper reporter plunges into
a nightmare of guilt, fearing that his "evidence" has sentenced the wrong man to
death. A stunning example of cinematic expressionism, cited by many as the first studio
film shot in a completely noir style. Featuring the astounding art direction of Van Nest
Polglase and the brilliant photography of Nicholas Musuraca. Dont
miss this chance to see one of the rarest of all film noirs on the big screen!
Saturday, April 5 4:00 PM
Photo: Author Eddie Muller with noir chanteuse Jill
Tracy in a sinister situation. Photo: Jim Ferreira 2003.
Please join Noir Festival co-programmer Eddie Muller for a special booksigning of his acclaimed
new crime novel Shadow Boxer and his superb poster book The Art Of Noir!
In the Egyptian Theatre Lobby.
Saturday, April 5 - 5:00 PM
Brand New 35 mm. Print!!
DARK CITY, 1950, Paramount, 98 min.
The deaths of several gambling cohorts leads a small time racketeer (Charlton Heston,
in his first leading role) to suspect a serial killer bent on vengeance. A complex tale
roaming from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, evocatively directed by William Dieterle
(PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME). Featuring film noirs favorite
thrush, the lovely Lizabeth Scott. Unfortunately
there will not be a discussion following with actress Lizabeth Scott as was previously
Saturday, April 5 - 7:45 PM
Double Feature -- Actor Farley Granger In Person!!
THEY LIVE BY NIGHT, 1949,
RKO (Warners), 92 min. Nicholas Rays directorial debut is a deeply-felt tale
of young love struggling to survive in a cruel, unforgiving world. Farley Granger and
Cathy ODonnell are memorable as star-crossed lovers Bowie and Keechie in this
darkly romantic and melancholy adaptation of Edward Andersons depression-era crime
classic Thieves Like Us. In Rays hands, its Romeo and Juliet for the
film noir era.
ROPE, 1948, Universal, 80 min. This
startling Alfred Hitchcock film was doubly daring for 1948: first, it risked
depicting the Leopold & Loeb-like tale of homosexual lovers committing murder solely
for the thrill. If that wasnt enough, it told the tale in a series of long, 10
minute takes, unlike anything any director had previously attempted. Having passed over
the heads of most audiences when originally released, the film is a revelation by
todays standards. With James Stewart, Farley Granger, John Dall. Discussion between films with actor Farley Granger (schedule
Sunday, April 6 - 4:00 PM
Composer David Raksin In Person! New 35 mm. Print!
FORCE OF EVIL, 1948, Paramount,
78 min. One of the most distinctive and revelatory works of the classic film noir era, Abraham
Polonskys directorial debut is both a detailed exposť of the numbers racket
(based on Ira Wolferts jormalistic novel, Tuckers People), and a
riveting tale of a fallen mans search for his soul (John Garfield, who also
produced, burns up the screen in one of his best roles). An innovative and superlative
film in every respect, including an unusual, highly evocative score by David Raksin. Discussion following with composer David Raksin (schedule permitting).
Sunday, April 6 - 6:30 PM
Mark Robson Double Feature Farley Granger and
Joan Evans In Person!!
EDGE OF DOOM, 1950, MGM/UA, 99
min. Dir. Mark Robson. A young New York slum-dweller (Farley Granger) kills
the parish priest in a rage when the church denies his devout mother a lavish funeral.
Suspected by the cops and tormented by his guilty conscience, he flees into the pitiless
urban catacombs (dynamically lensed by Harry Stradling). The only crime drama ever
produced by Samuel Goldwyn is a bleak and bitter depiction of urban loneliness and
despair. With Dana Andrews, Paul Stewart, Joan Evans, Mala Powers. (Note: This, the only
surviving 35 mm. print, has French subtitles but dialogue in English!)
THE 7TH VICTIM, 1943, RKO
(Warners), 71 min. Dir. Mark Robson. A young woman (Kim Hunter) searching
for her missing sister in New Yorks Greenwich Village wanders into a society of
devil-worshippers. One of the first of producer Val Lewtons legendary series
of mysterious RKO horrors, this brilliant B-movie is actually closer to film noir than the
supernatural. Stunning visuals by master cameraman Nicholas Musuraca make this a genuinely
creepy film, with a spooky, unforgettable finale. An absolute must see in 35mm! Introduction to screening by actor Farley Granger and actress Joan
Evans (EDGE OF DOOM), (schedules permitting).
Wednesday, April 9 - 7:30 PM
WOMAN ON THE RUN, 1950, 77
min. Dir. Norman Foster. Part thriller, part poignant love story, this exceptional
film had been feared lost. We proudly present it in a rediscovered 35mm archival print!! A
fearful wife (Ann Sheridan) teams with a charming reporter (Dennis O'Keefe)
to locate her missing husband (sole witness to a gangland killing) before the killer does.
This tightly-wrought script is as good as it gets in packing a thoroughly satisfying
thriller into a scant 78 minutes. Be here for the resurrection of a lost classic!
SOMEWHERE IN THE NIGHT,
1946, 20th Century Fox, 111 min. Dir. Joseph Mankiewicz. An amnesiac vet (John Hodiak)
prowls through the Los Angeles underworld searching for the mysterious "Larry
Cravat," the lone clue to his true identity. Mankewiczs vastly underrated noir
is a timeless trip through the noir netherworld, a place where no one can be trusted. With
Richard Conte, Lloyd Nolan, Nancy Guild, and a rogue's gallery of familiar faces lending
Friday, April 11 - 7:00 PM
New 35 mm. Print! Actresses Jan Sterling and Nancy
Olsen In Person!!
UNION STATION, 1950, Paramount,
80 min. Dir. Rudolph Mate. This taut thriller is more policier than noir, but it
features plenty of memorable set pieces in the underground tunnels surrounding
Chicagos major throughfare. Lyle Bettger plays a desperate man whose kidnapping of a
young blind girl turns him into a frothing psychopath. William Holden and Barry
Fitzgerald are the dogged cops who must flush out the kidnapper without causing a
rush-hour panic. Featuring Nancy Olson and Jan Sterling. Discussion
following with actresses Jan Sterling and Nancy Olson (schedules permitting).
Friday, April 11 - 9:30 PM
Double Feature Actor Peter Graves In Person!!
BLACK TUESDAY, 1954, 80 min. Dir.
Hugo Fregonese. In this unjustly overlooked thriller, Edward G. Robinson and
Peter Graves are fantastic as convicts who pull off a daring prison escape on the
day of their planned execution. An absolutely first-rate script by noir scribe Sydney
Boehm, one of his best. Robinsons maniacal gangster, Vincent Canelli, leaves
"Little Caesar" in the shade!
FOURTEEN HOURS, 1951, 20th
Century Fox, 92 min. Dir. Henry Hathaway. Based on the true 1938 story of John
Warde, who held Manhattan spellbound for 14 hours as he threatened to jump from the eighth
story ledge of the Gotham Hotel. Writer John Paxton and director Hathaway flesh out the
tension with myriad backstories, including one that features Grace Kelly in her
debut role. Terrific turns from Richard Basehart, Paul Douglas, Agnes Moorehead and
Debra Paget. The discussion between films with actor Peter Graves
(BLACK TUESDAY) will not take place due to a schedule conflict for Mr. Graves. (schedule
Saturday, April 12 - 4:00 PM
Double Feature -- Screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides In
KISS ME DEADLY, 1955, MGM/UA,
106 min. Dir. Robert Aldrich. Many critics see it as the apotheosis of film noir
style. Others regard it as the definitive statement on American paranoia in the Atomic
Age. Still others see it as a proto-feminist send-up of author Mickey Spillanes
hugely popular macho fantasies, brilliantly adapted here by screenwriter A.I.
Bezzerides. Youll just have to watch it and decide for yourself, as Mike Hammer
(Ralph Meeker) bounces his thick head around Los Angeles in search of "The
ON DANGEROUS GROUND, 1951,
RKO (Warner Bros.), 82 min. Dir. Nicholas Ray. A violent, embittered metro cop (Robert
Ryan) gets sent upstate to cool off and help with a small town murder probe. The
search leads him into a fateful confrontation with his own black heart. Sterling
contributions all around: writer A.I. Bezzerides savvy script, Rays
vigorous direction, Bernard Herrmanns magnificent, brassy score, and
Ryans ferocious performance make this one of the genres most affecting
statements about anger and alienation in the big city. Discussion
in between films with screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides (schedule permitting).
Saturday, April 12 - 8:30 PM
Tony Curtis/Joe Pevney Double Header Actress
Julie Adams In Person!
SIX BRIDGES TO CROSS,
1955, Universal, 96 min. The factual story of Bostons legendary Brinks heist
is given its first cinematic treatment by director Joe Pevney in this
character-driven caper. Noir maestro Sydney Boehms screenplay delves into the
psychology of the perpetrators, as well as the intricate mechanics of the hold-up. Tony
Curtis heads a terrific cast that includes Julie Adams, George Nader, J.C
Flippen, and, in his movie debut, Sal Mineo.
THE MIDNIGHT STORY, 1957,
Universal, 89 min. Dir. Joe Pevney. A San Francisco traffic cop (Tony Curtis)
is obsessed with solving the murder of his mentor, a popular North Beach priest. Not
allowed to follow his suspicions, he gives up his badge and becomes an undercover
vigilante. His prime suspect, Italian patriarch Gilbert Roland, ends up loving him
like his own son. But is he guilty of murder? In atmospheric black and white Cinemascope. Actress Julie Adams (SIX BRIDGES TO CROSS) will not be able to appear
for discussion between films. Argentine Brunetti (MIDNIGHT STORY) will introduce the film
Sunday, April 13 - 4:30 PM
Director Joseph Newman In Person!
ABANDONED, 1949, Universal, 79 min.
Another missing noir classic resurrected! Long-time Noir Fest favorite, director Joseph
Newman (711 OCEAN DRIVE) takes the audience on a down and dirty tour of the seamier
side of late 1940s Los Angeles, as a reporter (Dennis OKeefe) pursues a
missing girl into the bowels of a black market baby racket. Grim and relentless, but
enlivened considerably by the wit of writer Bill Bowers. Dont miss your chance to
see this long-lost noir gem, and to hear legendary 93-year-old director Newman (who was at
the Egyptian Theatre the night it opened in 1922!) speak in person. Discussion
following with director Joseph Newman (schedule permitting).
Sunday, April 13 7:00 PM
Actress Coleen Gray In Person!!
NIGHTMARE ALLEY, 1947,
Criterion, 110 min. Dir. Edmund Goulding. One of the most unjustly neglected films
of the 1940s returns to the Film Noir Festival for an encore performance! Based on a
classic cult novel by William Lindsay Gresham, NIGHTMARE ALLEY tells the
rags-to-riches-to-ruin story of carnival mentalist Stanton Carlisle (Tyrone Power,
in a daring and inspired performance). Superb supporting turns by Joan Blondell, Coleen
Gray, and Helen Walker, as the women in Stans life. Discussion
following with actress Coleen Gray (schedule permitting). As an added attraction, noir
chanteuse Jill Tracy will perform several songs after the screening, including her
signature song "Lets Spend An Evil Night Together" - !
Tuesday, April 15 - 7:30 PM
Hugo Haas Double Feature!
Never let it be said that the Festival of Film Noir shies away from
the esoteric and eccentric! Once again we push wide the boundaries of "noir" to
present a pair of films from one of the oddest cinema artists of the 1950s, Hugo
Haas. A comic star in his native Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, Haas fled to
Hollywood with the rise of the Nazis, worked as a character actor in the 1940s --
and then found his niche making weird, downbeat noir melodramas in the 1950s, in
which he invariably cast himself as a middle-aged loser having his life turned inside out
by a young temptress! First, a brand-new 35 mm. print of:
BAIT, 1954, Columbia, 79 min. Dir. Hugo
Haas. A platinum-haired vixen (Cleo Moore) leads a middle-aged miner (played by
Haas himself) to ruin, in this ultra-tawdry examination of unrequited love. Followed by:
PICKUP, 1951, Columbia, 78 min. Dir.
Hugo Haas. A platinum-haired vixen (Beverly Michaels) leads a middle-aged railroader (Haas
again) to ruin. Does anyone see a pattern here?!?
Wednesday, April 16 - 7:30 PM
Double Feature Actor Kevin McCarthy In
NIGHTMARE, 1956, MGM/UA, 89 min.
Director Maxwell Shane remakes his own 1948 film FEAR IN THE NIGHT, based on a Cornell
Woolrich short story. Jazz musician Kevin McCarthy dreams of a murder, only to
find his nightmare coming true. Is his helpful level-headed pal Edward G. Robinson
really on the level? Highly evocative use of the New Orleans setting, and terrific
performances by McCarthy and Robinson.
BLAST OF SILENCE, 1961,
Universal, 77 min. This engrossing independent production from late in the classic noir
era, shot entirely in New York, tracks a stoic hitman (played by director Allen Baron
himself, who also wrote the script) returning to his home turf for whats meant to be
a quick, efficient assigment. Fate, guilt, and double-crosses intervene. Like
Kubricks THE KILLING and Wendkos THE BURGLAR, this film represents the
transition from studio noir to independently produced "neo-noir." Discussion between films with actor Kevin McCarthy (NIGHTMARE),