|Side Streets & Back
Alleys: The 7th Annual Festival of Film Noir
of these films will take place at the Aero April 8
- 24, 2005.
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.
Highlights of the series include brand-new 35 mm. prints of such mouth-watering noir
rarities as William Castles long-unseen JOHNNY STOOL PIGEON, Ken Hughes
aptly titled WICKED AS THEY COME, Michael Gordons wildly expressionistic THE
WEB, and the insanely obscure BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN from director Gordon
Douglas. Were also bringing in prints of two films from the British Film Institute,
just for this series: William Cameron Menzies jaw-dropping, ultra-paranoid THE
WHIP HAND, and Edward Dmytryks crackling British crime drama THE HIDDEN ROOM.
Noir Fest programmer, film historian and crime novelist Eddie Muller will
present a special Double Bill of two classic Boxing Noirs, CHAMPION and THE
HARDER THEY FALL, with a special lecture featuring anecdotes and stories from the
great age of pugilism (Mullers father was a noted sportswriter for many years in San
Francisco.) Were thrilled to welcome acclaimed crime novelist and screenwriter Barry
Gifford (WILD AT HEART) to this years Festival, for a special evening featuring
the hallucinogenic modern noir LOST HIGHWAY, which he wrote with director David Lynch, and
one of Giffords own favorite noirs, DARK PASSAGE.
Thursday, March 31 7:30 PM
Noir Abroad Double Feature:
A LADY WITHOUT PASSPORT, 1950, MGM (Warners),
72 min. Dir. Joseph Lewis. Gorgeous Hedy Lamarr craves a passport out of
pre-Castro Cuba, so she lets herself be used by undercover agent John Hodiak who
wants to bust up a smuggling ring. Always reliable Joe Lewis (GUN CRAZY) leapt out of the
"B" trenches to helm this rugged thriller for high-toned MGM, creating a steamy
vision of Havana from a combination of backlots sets, process shots, and on-location
SINGAPORE, 1947, Universal, 79 min. Smuggler Fred
MacMurray (DOUBLE INDEMNITY), who lost his lover in a Japanese air attack, returns to
post-WW2 Singapore to recover a hidden cache of pearls. He discovers his old flame (Ava
Gardner, at her sexiest) is still alive, but suffering from amnesia! Can he outwit her
husband, the law, and rival gangsters? Director John Brahm (HANGOVER SQUARE) lays
on the atmosphere in this gorgeously photographed piece of noir exotica.
>> Both films also playing at the Aero on April 13.
Saturday, April 2 - 6:00 PM
New Restored 35 mm. Print!!
WICKED AS THEY COME (aka PORTRAIT IN SMOKE),
1954, Columbia, 94 min. Arlene Dahl (SLIGHTLY SCARLET) is terrific as a femme
fatale with a dark past, wholl stop at nothing to rise above her miserable origins.
Based on Portrait in Smoke, the breakout 1950 novel by hardboiled scribe Bill
Ballinger, this is the best in a series of fifties crime thrillers made by British
director Ken Hughes.
>> Also playing at the Aero on April 9.
Saturday, April 2 -- 8:15 PM
Noir Rarities from the British Film Institute
THE WHIP HAND, 1951, RKO (Warners), 82 min. A vacationing
journalist ends up stumbling across a dreadful plot unfolding in the wilds of Wisconsin.
This is a completely ridiculous but vastly entertaining curio from the Cold
War era, designed and directed by the legendary William Cameron Menzies (who worked
on everything from GONE WITH THE WIND to INVADERS FROM MARS) and wonderfully shot by
THE HIDDEN ROOM, 1949, Eagle Lion, 98 min. From the
ridiculous to the sublime. We proudly present one of the great forgotten masterpieces of
film noir, written by Alec Coppel (screenwriter of VERTIGO) and directed, in England, by
then-blacklisted Edward Dmytryk (CROSSFIRE.) Robert Newton gives a memorable
performance as a cuckolded husband who decides to take revenge on his wife (the stunning
Sally Gray) by making her latest lover disappear literally. Shrewd, suspenseful,
and long overdue for revival, this is one of Dmytryks finest films imported
here in a super-rare 35 mm. print from our friends at the British Film Institute, along
with the equally rare THE WHIP HAND! Stanley
Rubin, who was the original writer and producer of THE WHIP HAND (under the title of
"The Man He Found") will speak with the film. Howard Hughes took over the
picture, changed the ending drastically, and retitled it.
>> Both films also playing at the Aero on. April 9.
Daylight Savings Time Begins April 3! Spring Forward
To Be On Time!
Sunday, April 3 - 6:00 PM
Los Angeles Noir - Double Feature:
HOLLOW TRIUMPH (aka THE SCAR), 1948, Eagle Lion
(Paramount), 83 min. Dir. Steve Sekely. A gangster (Paul Henreid) usurps the
identity of a psychiatrist, with stunning results. The clever script will keep you
guessing, but the real attraction here is the amazingly evocative look at 1940s Los
Angeles, photographed by the great John Alton! Dont miss the revival of this
essential film noir classic! With Joan Bennett.
Due to an unforeseen problem
with the print of this film, it will not be shown. In its place, SCANDAL SHEET (1952),
Phil Karlson's Sensational adaptation of Sam Fuller's Novel will be shown. New Restored 35 mm. Print! BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN, 1950, Columbia, 89 min. Dir. Gordon
Douglas. Noir stalwarts Edmond OBrien and Mark Stevens portray a pair of
LAPD prowl car cops hoping for an easy night in the City of Angels, faced with nothing
more serious than sparring over the affections of sexy-voiced radio dispatcher Gale Storm.
Guess again. Before sun-up there will be a prison break, a murder, numerous beatings, and
an incredibly tense climax with a kid used as a human shield. The model for just about
every TV cop show ever made!
>> Both films also playing at the Aero on April 10.
Thursday, April 7 - 7:30 PM
Boxing Noir Double Feature - New 35 mm. Prints!!
CHAMPION, 1949, Republic (Paramount), 99 min. Dir. Mark
Robson. Maybe the most brutal and uncompromising boxing film ever made. Kirk
Douglas gives a volcanic, Oscar-nominated performance as meglomaniacal fighter Midge
Kelly, wholl thrash anyone who gets in the way of his quest for the title. The great
supporting cast includes Arthur Kennedy, Ruth Roman and Paul Stewart. Harry Gerstads
brilliant editing won an Oscar, and has influenced virtually every boxing film made since
THE HARDER THEY FALL, 1956, Columbia, 109 min. In
this adaptation of Budd Schulbergs controversial bestseller, Humphrey Bogart
plays burned-out sportswriter Eddie Willis, employed by a crooked promoter (Rod Steiger)
to sell his freakish heavyweight as a legitimate contender. Based on the true story of
boxer Primo Carnera, director Mark Robson crafts an oddly fitting finale to
Bogarts legendary career, and lands a few devastating shots at the reputation of the
With a special "Boxing Noir" introduction by
author and Fest co-programmer Eddie Muller, who will also sign copies of his award-winning
crime novel "The Distance," set in the world of boxing (!), before the screening
and after the first film.
Plus, Eddie Muller has arranged for a private
film collector to loan him a 16mm copy of the third fight between middleweights Tony Zale
and Rocky Graziano, arguably the greatest series of boxing matches in history (they fought
three times). Its about 12 minutes long, and will allow the audinece to compare the real
thing to the fights staged for the movies.
>> Both films also playing at the Aero on April 8.
Friday, April 8 - 7:00 PM
New 35 mm. Print!
THE WEB, 1947, Universal, 87 min. Dir. Michael Gordon.
Sometimes "noir" is just flat-out fun. Especially when a thorny, what-the-hell?
plot is handed to scripter William Bowers (SPLIT SECOND, TIGHT SPOT) for a rewrite. What
emerges is a taut, snappy, carnival ride, featuring fantastic performances from a
venerable cast that includes Edmond OBrien, Vincent Price, William Bendix,
and the sensational Ella Raines! Unearthing little overlooked gems like THE WEB is
what this festival is all about.
>> Also playing at the Aero on April 24.
Friday, April 8 9:00 PM
2 x Anthony Mann
BORDER INCIDENT, 1949, MGM (Warners), 94 min. Mexican
cop Ricardo Montalban teams up with American agent George Murphy to stop a gang who
are killing illegal immigrants on the U.S./Mexico border. Filled with dark, brutal set
pieces (the tractor murder is arguably the most unsettling in all film noir) and played
with an almost psychotic intensity, BORDER INCIDENT ranks with T-MEN and RAW DEAL as one
of director Anthony Manns finest noirs. Brilliant cinematography by the great
SIDE STREET, 1950, MGM (Warners), 83 min. Farley
Granger and Cathy ODonnell re-teamed from Nick Rays THEY LIVE BY
NIGHT for this rarely-seen noir about a frustrated postman who steals a packet of
blackmail money and finds himself plunged into a coffin-like Manhattan of narrow
streets and swirling overhead crane shots. About his early crime films, director Anthony
Mann said: "It was a good school, the roughest but the best: the maximum
performance with the minimum means."
>> Both films also playing at the Aero on April 21.
Saturday, April 9 - 5:00 PM
Lucille Ball Noir Double Feature:
THE DARK CORNER, 1946, 20th Century Fox, 99 min. Dir.
Henry Hathaway. Wrongly convicted private eye Bradford Galt (Mark Stevens) is sprung
from prison, but bad luck sticks to his gummed shoes: whos the mystery man in the
white suit, and why wont he leave Galt alone? Whats his connection to the big
money boys on the Upper East Side? Galts no Marlowewithout his loyal gal
Friday, Lucille Ball (!), he wouldnt make it out from behind the 8-ball
alive. "Im backed up in a dark corner," he grouses, "and I dont
know whos hitting me." Co-starring Clifton Webb, William Bendix.
LURED, 1947, Douris Corp., 102 min. Dir. Douglas Sirk.
If you only know Lucille Ball from "I Love Lucy" you owe it to yourself
to see her in her gorgeous youth, being used by Scotland Yard as bait to catch a serial
killer. More a series of character sketches then a flat-out thriller, this moody
atmospheric drama features a stellar supporting cast: George Sanders, Charles
Coburn, Alan Mowbray, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, George Zucco, and, in one of the most vivid
roles of his career, an astonishingly creepy Boris Karloff.
>> Both films also playing at the Aero on April 22.
Saturday, April 9 - 9:00 PM
2 x Dan Duryea:
New 35 mm. Print! JOHNNY STOOL PIGEON, 1949, Universal, 76 min. Dir. William
Castle. Everybodys favorite noir sleazeball, Dan Duryea, gets a juicy
role in this exposť-style thriller about heroin smuggling. Heroin? In 1949? You bet, and
narc Howard Duff needs to spring shady Dan in order to crack the smuggling ring
thats taking hold all over the western U.S. Sexy Shelley Winters complicates
their already-endangered lives. One of the rarest of all "lost" noirs, finally
LARCENY, 1948, Universal, 89 min. Dir. George Sherman.
As if unearthing the long-lost JOHNNY STOOL PIGEON wasnt enough for Dan Duryea
fans heres another of his most obscure titles, also notable for being crooner
John Paynes (of 99 RIVER STREET and KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL fame) first
foray into film noir. The two slicks play hustlers trying to bilk a war widow (Joan
Caulfield) out of her money. Uh oh, guess whos back for more? Pistol-packing Shelley
Winters, who Duryea cant seem to get rid of. Wisecracking scriptwriter Bill
Bowers has a field day with all the slang-spewing sass.
>> Both films also playing at the Aero on April 24.
Sunday, April 10 - 4:00 PM
Brand New 35mm Print!!
POSSESSED, 1947, Warner Bros., 108 min. Dir. Curtis
Bernhardt. Joan Crawford scored yet another Oscar nomination portraying a woman driven
to madness by obsessive, unrequited love. Van Heflin (THE PROWLER, ACT OF VIOLENCE)
is the lover who spurns her, Raymond Massey the man who tries to save her, and
Geraldine Brooks the stepdaughter who drives her over the edge. Bernhardt used very
effective subjective camera techniques to depict Joans gradual descent into
darkness. One of Crawfords best, but most rarely-screened films.
>> Also playing at the Aero on April 23.
Sunday, April 10 - 6:30 PM
2 x Ida Lupino
THE MAN I LOVE, 1946, Warner Bros., 96 min. Dir. Raoul
Walsh. As flinty torch singer Petey Brown, Ida Lupino offers a radiantly
romantic vision of the post-WWII American woman able to settle everybodys
hash but her own. Set in a world of nightclubs, tenements, and backlot streets, this
majestic melodrama is part-noir, part-soap opera, and pure Hollywood magic. Reportedly the
film that inspired Martin Scorsese to make NEW YORK, NEW YORK.
DEEP VALLEY, 1947, Warner Bros., 104 min. Dir. Jean
Negulesco. Proving her incredible range, Ida Lupino followed up the glossy
romance of THE MAN I LOVE by playing a miserable, stuttering country girl who shelters,
and falls in love with, an escaped convict (Dane Clark, in perhaps his finest
role). It may not truly be a noir, but we cant pass up the chance to show this
wonderfully dark drama.
>> Both films also playing at the Aero on April 23.
Wednesday, April 13 - 7:15 PM
Novelist/Screenwriter Barry Gifford In Person!
LOST HIGHWAY, 1997, Focus Features, 135 min. Dir. David
Lynch. Did jazzman Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) murder his wife? Drawing on many
of noirs most familiar themes the crumbling of a guilty psyche, the distrust
between men and women, the erotic allure of the dark side LOST HIGHWAY brazenly
deconstructs a noir narrative and reconfigures it all as balls-to-the-walls cinematic
poetry. With Rosanna Arquette, Balthazar Getty. Discussion
after the film with acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Barry Gifford (LOST HIGHWAY, WILD
AT HEART), followed by a screening of one of Barrys favorite noir films:
DARK PASSAGE, 1947, Warner Bros., 106 min. Dir. Delmer
Daves. A man convicted of killing his wife (Humphrey Bogart) escapes from
prison, changes his identity, and careens through a nocturnal world in pursuit of the
people he believes are truly responsible for his wifes death. Hmmm, havent we
just seen this movie? OK, maybe not, but this Bogey/Bacall classic, written by David
Goodis, was certainly in Barry Giffords memory-bank when he and Lynch concocted
LOST HIGHWAY. With Lauren Bacall.
>>LOST HIGHWAY also plays at the Aero Theatre on April 14.
DARK PASSAGE is an Egyptian Theatre exclusive!