FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: March 11, 1999

Contact: Margot Gerber

Tel.: 323/466-FILM ext. 115

 

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE’S FIRST ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF FILM NOIR HIGHLIGHTED BY IN-PERSON APPEARANCES BY LEGENDARY FILM NOIR FEMMES FATALE AND THEIR DIRECTORS

Appearing in-person: Marie Windsor, Evelyn Keyes, Ann Savage, Coleen Gray, Audrey Totter, Lizabeth Scott and Rhonda Fleming, plus master directors Robert Wise, Budd Boetticher and Richard Fleischer

April 2 - 15, 1999

 

HOLLYWOOD – The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian presents SIDE STREETS AND BACK ALLEYS: THE FIRST ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF FILM NOIR (April 2 -15, 1999). This eight night series features special in-person appearances by legendary femmes fatale Marie Windsor (THE NARROW MARGIN), Evelyn Keyes (THE KILLER STALKED NEW YORK), Ann Savage (DETOUR), Coleen Gray (NIGHTMARE ALLEY), Audrey Totter (TENSION) and Rhonda Fleming (THE KILLER IS LOOSE), as well as master-directors Robert Wise (BORN TO KILL), Budd Boetticher (THE KILLER IS LOOSE) and Richard Fleischer (ARMORED CAR ROBBERY, VIOLENT SATURDAY). Also in attendance is Eddie Muller who recently published DARK CITY: THE LOST WORLD OF FILM NOIR (St. Martin’s Griffin Press), an analysis of one of the rare organic artistic movements in Hollywood history -- the doom-laden crime dramas that came to be known as film noir. On Saturdays April 3rd and 10th Muller will sign copies of his book which will be on-sale throughout the series. If you think you’ve mined all the jewels this classic era has to offer, think again, the Cinematheque has rediscovered a veritable gold mine of botched bank jobs and lethal love-nests, hidden away in long-forgotten alleyways and high-risk hotels. These jewels range from rarely-screened classics like BRUTE FORCE and NIGHTMARE ALLEY, to neglected gems by B-movie maestros Felix Feist, Cy Endfield and Russell Rouse. Other highlights of the series include screenings of such Noir classics as THE NARROW MARGIN with Marie Windsor in-person; DESERT FURY starring Lizabeth Scott; new 35 mm prints of Phil Karlson's 99 RIVER STREET and KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL; ARMORED CAR ROBBERY and VIOLENT SATURDAY with director Richard Fleischer in-person; and Sabucat Films’ Ultra-Rare FILM NOIR TRAILER SHOW. [All films in 35 mm., except TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY, THE THIEF and THE UNDERWORLD STORY.

"Film Noirs were distress flares launched onto America’s movie screens by

artists working the night shift at the Dream Factory," says Eddie Muller in

his book, DARK CITY: THE LOST WORLD OF FILM NOIR. No one knows when it

began. Was it in the cruel shadows of Fritz Lang’s M? The expressionistic

paranoia of Boris Ingster’s STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR? Or the hardboiled

duplicity of John Huston’s THE MALTESE FALCON? Erupting full-scale in the

late Forties and all but extinguished by the mid-Fifties (well before the

term film noir ever caught on in this country), Film Noir’s dark sorcery

lingers on, in works both revisionist (L.A. CONFIDENTIAL) and parodic (THE

BIG LEBOWSKI).

Friday, April 2, 1999

The Friday, April 2nd program begins at 7:00 PM with THE NARROW MARGIN

(1952, RKO (Warner Classics), 71 min.) and will feature an in-person

appearance to Marie Windsor. Directed by Richard Fleischer, this film always

receives its share of votes as one of the finest noirs ever made -- and the

spiciest of its many ingredients is the unforgettable Marie Windsor. She

and co-star Charles McGraw trade priceless putdowns as he ferries her across

the rails from Chicago to L.A., where she’s scheduled to testify in a

racket-busting trial. With excellent camerawork by George Diskant.

Discussion following with actress Marie Windsor, director Richard Fleischer

and producer Stanley Rubin. Following at 9:30 PM, is a Richard Fleischer

double feature. First is the noir master’s ARMORED CAR ROBBERY (1950, RKO

(Warner Classics), 67 min.). Sensational B-movie cops and robbers stuff in

which steely Charles McGraw tracks down the gang that killed his partner in

a daring daylight robbery outside Wrigley Field ballpark. Featuring the

stunning Adele Jurgens and an especially reptilian performance by noir

villain extraordinaire William Talman. A sturdy crime thriller without a

single wasted movement. Next on the same bill is a screening of a new 35 mm

print of VIOLENT SATURDAY (1955, 20th Century Fox, 91 min.), a vivid

adaptation of W.B. Heath’s classic caper novel. Film noir gets the full

mid-Fifties treatment -- lush color and Cinemascope -- in this Victor Mature

and Sylvia Sidney starrer. The terrific cast includes Lee Marvin in his

thuggish prime. This complex tale is about the build-up to a small-town bank

heist. Director Richard Fleischer to introduce screenings.

Saturday, April 3, 1999 at 5:30 PM

Booksigning with Eddie Muller - author of DARK CITY: THE LOST WORLD OF FILM  NOIR [Egyptian Theatre Lobby]. No charge to attend.

Saturday, April 3, 1999

The Saturday, April 3rd program begins at 7:00 PM with THE KILLER THAT

STALKED NEW YORK (1950, Columbia, 79 min.).Star Evelyn Keyes will appear

in-person. Radiant Keyes glows with something deadly in this underrated tale

of a jewel-smuggler spreading smallpox throughout the Big Apple. Earl McEvoy

directs this classic noir tale of infidelity and deceit played out against

the escalating panic of a city-wide epidemic. The vertiginous climax is a

noir classic, heightened by Joseph Biroc’s moody cinematography. Discussion following with actress Evelyn Keyes. Following

at 9:30 PM is a Phil Karlson double feature beginning with the screening of

a new 35 mm print of 99 RIVER STREET (1953, U.A., 83 min.). An aspiring

actress (Evelyn Keyes again!) gets entangled with a washed-up boxer (John

Payne) framed for his trampy wife’s murder. They’ve only got a few hours to

hunt down the real killer. Nobody crafted rugged crime dramas better than

director Phil Karlson, and this is one of his best. Keyes lights up the

screen in her breathless "confession" scene, and crooner Payne is a

convincing noir nighthawk. Next on the same bill is a screening of a new 35

mm print of KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952, U.A., 98 min.) in which bitter

ex-con John Payne vows vengeance on the mastermind who set him up as the

patsy in a daring Kansas City robbery. When the gang meets later in a

Mexican fishing resort to split the spoils, the double-crosses fly fast and

furious. The indelible cast includes Preston Foster, Coleen Gray, Lee van

Cleef, Neville Brand and Jack Elam.

Tuesday, April 6, 1999

The Tuesday, April 6th program begins with a screening of BORN TO KILL

(1947, RKO (Warner Classics), 92 min.) featuring an in-person appearance by

director Robert Wise (who at the other end of the spectrum directed THE

SOUND OF MUSIC). Unquestionably the most depraved picture made in Hollywood

in the 1940’s, BORN TO KILL stars Lawrence Tierney (the meanest man in noir)

as a homicidal social climber who meets his match in debased San Francisco

socialite Claire Trevor. He marries her wealthy half-sister (Audrey Long),

but carries on his torrid affair with Claire while tenacious detective

Walter Slezak hunts him down. This murderous, panting pair make MacMurray

and Stanwyck in DOUBLE INDEMNITY, pale in comparison. Elisha Cook Jr. is

Tierney’s justifiably nervous pal. Discussion following with director

Robert Wise. Following at 9:30 PM is a Director Jules Dassin double feature

beginning with BRUTE FORCE (1947, 98 min.), an extremely intense, violent

and nihilistic prison drama. Burt Lancaster plots a breakout for the

inmates of Cell R-17, so that they can escape the inhuman sadism of jailer

Hume Cronyn. The climactic prison break was a shocker for its time, as the

bust-out erupts into full-throttle warfare. Still the most unforgettable

men-behind-bars picture ever made -- courtesy of noir-legend Dassin (NAKED

CITY, NIGHT AND THE CITY.) Next on the same bill is a screening of a rare 35

mm print of THIEVES’ HIGHWAY (1949, Fox, 94 min.) in which tough-as-nails

Richard Conte returns from the war to find his trucker-father crippled by a

shady "accident" and heads straight for San Francisco to take his revenge on

corrupt produce broker Lee J. Cobb. Complicating matters even more, he must

choose between cool blonde WASP Barbara Lawrence and earthy European refugee

Valentina Cortesa. Director Jules Dassin’s leftist leanings (which would

lead to his ouster from Hollywood) found their most subtle outlet in this

fabulous noir, written by A.I. Bezzerides (ON DANGEROUS GROUND, KISS ME

DEADLY). Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & TV Archive

 

Wednesday, April 7, 1999

The Wednesday, April 7th program begins at 7:00 PM with a screening of

DETOUR (1945, PRC (Wade Williams), 69 min.) featuring an in-person

appearance by actress Ann Savage. Hitchhiking to Hollywood, loser Tom Neal

takes several wrong turns and ends up on the expressway to hell -- Ann

Savage plays the vixen vagabond who ushers him there. She ends up paying a

stiff toll herself. This haunting film, shot in only six days, is for many,

the definitive example of noir fatalism -- be sure to check out our

retrospective tribute to director Edgar G. Ulmer in August at the Egyptian

Theatre! Discussion following with actress Ann Savage. Following at 9:30

PM is a Director Felix Feist triple bill beginning with THE DEVIL THUMBS A

RIDE (1947, RKO (Warner Classics), 62 min.), a strange film with legendary

status among "B" movies, due to the frigid, amoral performance of Lawrence

Tierney as a hitchhiking, homicidal maniac. He commandeers a car full of

innocents for a harrowing, dead-of-night adventure that veers from snide

comedy to cold-blooded shocks. Like DETOUR, this no-budget wonder is best

viewed late, when its black magic takes full effect. Next on the same bill

is THE THREAT (1949, RKO (Warner Classics), 66 min.) in which a vicious

gangster escapes from prison to capture and torture the cops and finks who

turned him in. As the fearsome hardcase, tight-lipped Charles McGraw runs

amok, slapping the entire cast senseless. Director Felix Feist had an

unsettling flair for eruptions of cruelty and violence, and this

little-known thriller is chock-full of them. Next on the same bill is

TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY (1951, Warners, 90 min.) starring Steve Cochran as

an ex-con who’s never been with a woman. Ruth Roman is a dime-a-dance dame

with no use for sappy men. A hotel room, a dirty cop, a gunshot -- the

perfect jump-off for a fugitives-on-the-run love story. This virtually

unknown noir is Felix Feist’s masterwork, packed with revelatory set-pieces.

Cochran was never more vulnerable, Roman never sexier. Imagine GUN CRAZY

scripted by Steinbeck!

Saturday, April 10, 1999 at 5:30 PM

Booksigning with Eddie Muller - author of DARK CITY: THE LOST WORLD OF FILM NOIR [Egyptian Theatre Lobby]. No charge to attend.

Saturday, April 10, 1999

The Saturday, April 10th program begins at 7:00 PM with a screening of THE

KILLER IS LOOSE (1956, U.A., 73 min.) featuring in-person appearances by

director Budd Boetticher and actress Rhonda Fleming. Best-known for his

awesome Randolph Scott-westerns (THE TALL T, RIDE LONESOME), here, director

Budd Boetticher turns his camera on the ‘50s suburban frontier -- where he

finds a crazed psycho stalking the streets. Wendell Corey is the disturbed

Korean War vet who decides to punish his life-long persecutors, Joseph

Cotten is the cop in hot pursuit and wife Rhonda Fleming the dazzling lure.

With terrific photography by cinematographer Lucien Ballard. Discussion

following with director Budd Boetticher and actress Rhonda Fleming.

Following at 9:30 PM is a Director Russell Rouse double feature beginning

with a screening of a new 35 mm print of WICKED WOMAN (1954, U.A., 77 min.).

In this racy little B-movie, scarlet woman Beverly Michaels cons saloon

owner Richard Egan into bilking his boozy wife out of her dough, then toys with the affections of devote Percy

Helton. She plans on dumping both and leaving a dust trail to Mexico.

Michaels was definitely director Rouse’s kind of woman: they married after

making this picture -- an extra twist to this juicy noir. Next on the same

bill is THE THIEF (1952, Wade Williams , 87 min.) Who on earth would make a

silent film in 1952? Russell Rouse, that’s who! His take on the Red Menace

genre is utterly unique: told from the P.O.V. of scientist Ray Milland, who

is selling secrets to the Communists, THE THIEF features not a single word

of dialogue!! The suspenseful storytelling is propelled by a terrific score

by Herschel Burke Gilbert. A true noir rarity!

Sunday, April 11, 1999

The Sunday, April 11th program begins at 5:00 PM with an ultra-rare

screening of a 35mm print of NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947, 20th Century Fox, 110

min.) featuring an in-person appearance by Coleen Gray. Directed by Edmund

Goulding, this film is one of the bleakest and most audacious "A" picture

ever to emerge from Hollywood. When handsome heartthrob Tyrone Power read

William Lindsay Gresham’s scathing novel, he snapped up the rights, eager to

broaden his range (and tarnish his good-guy image). He is terrific as a

carnival roustabout who hits the big-time as a phony "mentalist," but gets

caught between the longings of devilish Helen Walker and angelic Coleen

Gray. Long unavailable due to rights problems, NIGHTMARE ALLEY gets an

ultra-rare screening here in a beautiful 35mm print. Discussion following

with Coleen Gray. Following at 7:45 PM is a Director John Auer double

feature which begins with a brand new 35mm print of THE CITY THAT NEVER

SLEEPS (1953, Republic (Kit Parker), 90 min.). A a down-and-dirty crime

potboiler filled with ingenious plot twists and eccentric characters engaged

in life-or-death struggles. Producer/director John H. Auer and writer Steve

Fisher present a sordid tale about one night in the urban jungle, narrated

by the city (Chicago) itself! A superb cast of B-movie stalwarts (Gig

Young, Edward Arnold, William Talman, Marie Windsor) highlights the story of

a young cop ensnared in the shady dealings of a slew of sinister suspects --

including the tear-jerking Mechanical Man! Next on the same bill is a

screening of a 35mm print of HELL’S HALF ACRE (1954, Republic (Kit Parker),

91 min.) which is filmed in the notorious red light district of Honolulu.

Evelyn Keyes becomes a taxi dancer to hunt for her missing G.I. husband

Wendell Corey, who she believes is alive and writing hit songs in Hawaii!

Little does she know he’s more than a simple songsmith -- he’s also a

gangster vying with Philip Ahn for control of the island’s vice rackets.

Toss the sultry and statuesque Marie Windsor into the mix, and it’s pulp

nirvana. Imagine film noir with a slack-key guitar soundtrack... as good as

trashy B-movies get! Print courtesy of UCLA Film & TV Archive! Plus,

Sabucat’s ultra-rare FILM NOIR TRAILER SHOW! Join us for an hour-long blast

of some of the best (and rarest) film noir trailers courtesy of Sabucat

Films -- including promo spots for CRISS CROSS, THE GLASS KEY, NIGHTMARE

ALLEY, BRUTE FORCE, NIAGARA and much more!!

 

Wednesday, April 14, 1999

The Wednesday, April 14th program begins at 7:00 PM with a screening of

TENSION (1949, MGM (Warner Classics), 95 min.), featuring an in-person

appearance by actress Audrey Totter. Here, vampy sexpot Audrey Totter is

married to mild-mannered druggist Richard Basehart -- but she sleeps with

every "real man" she sees. So Basehart takes the noir way out -- kill his wife’s

lover and disappears with a new identity. But cops Barry Sullivan and

William Conrad smell a rat. Then Audrey and Barry eye each other and the

tension is stretched to the breaking point. Directed by John Berry.

Discussion following with actress Audrey Totter. Following at 9:30 PM, is a

Director Cy Endfield double feature beginning with TRY AND GET ME (1950,

Republic (Kit Parker), 85 min.). Out-of-work vet Frank Lovejoy gets talked

into a crime spree by flashy hood Lloyd Bridges (in a memorable,

squirm-inducing performance), and things swiftly turn deranged and

desperate. A harsh, unsettling and unrelenting film that was given a new

title (the original was THE SOUND OF FURY) and then quickly yanked from

release amid fears that is was "un-American." (Director Cyril Endfield,

sensing his imminent blacklisting, packed his bags for England -- where he

wound up making the impressive ZULU.) Get ready for the gut-wrenching

climax, brilliantly staged by Endfield and shot by Guy Roe. Next on the

same bill is THE UNDERWORLD STORY (1950, 90 min.) with Herbert Marshall,

Gale Storm, and Howard da Silva. Another unjustly-neglected noir by

director Cy Enfield, in which the always-entertaining Dan Duryea plays a

cynical reporter who digs dangerously close to a corrupt publisher’s family

secrets. With dazzling cinematography by the late, great Stanley Cortez

(NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS).

Thursday, April 15, 1999

The Thursday, April 15th program begins at 7:00 PM with a screening of a

35mm print of DESERT FURY (1947, Paramount (Universal), 96 min.) starring

Lizabeth Scott in Technicolor glory (swirls of yellow hair, emerald eyes,

fire-engine red lips). Directed by Lewis Allen, this very strange crime

drama also stars Mary Astor who seems a bit too-enamored of her own daughter

(Liz), Wendell Corey is murderously-miffed at being tossed aside by John

Hodiak, and beefcake Burt Lancaster seems oblivious to the mix-and-match

sexuality surging around him. DESERT FURY is absolutely saturated --

incredibly lush colors, fast and furious dialogue dripping with innuendo,

double-entendres, dark secrets, outraged face slappings, and overwrought

Miklos Rosza violins. Print courtesy of UCLA Film & TV Archive! Lizabeth Scott will appear following the screening. Following at 9:30 PM is a double feature of films that paved the road to Travis Bickle (TAXI DRIVER), beginning with MURDER BY CONTRACT (1958, Columbia, 81 min.).Cold, ruthless young Vince Edwards decides to stake his place in the world as a hired killer -- and the world teaches him frigid, pitiless lessons. An ultra-low budget gem from director Irving Lerner, with a strangely-hypnotic pace and a spare, haunting musical theme by Perry Botkin. A personal fave of director Martin Scorsese, who’s admitted this film’s influence on TAXI DRIVER -- particularly the Travis-in-training sequences. Next on the same bill is THE SNIPER (1952, Columbia, 87 min.), a rarely-seen stunner from the early 50’s in which tortured loner Arthur Franz stalks beautiful women (including NARROW MARGIN’s Marie Windsor) with a high-powered rifle. The first film to seriously examine sex-motivated serial killers, the opening scenes of Franz prowling the streets of San Francisco have a completely unnerving, low-key realism to them -- courtesy of director Edward Dmytryk (CROSSFIRE) and cinematographer Burnett Guffey.

A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.

BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS, 35MM COLOR TRANSPARENCIES, PRESS KITS AND INTERVIEWS

WITH SERIES GUESTS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST .

WE DO NOT HAVE GUARANTEED PRESS PASSES TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS. IT IS

RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.

SCREENINGS FREQUENTLY SELL OUT.

 

THEATRICAL PRESS SCREENINGS MAY BE SET UP FOR SOME TITLES. PLEASE CALL FOR

DATES AND TIMES. ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS OF SOME FILMS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON

VIDEOTAPE AT THE OFFICES OF THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE CALL 323.466.3456 ext.

115 or 116 TO SCHEDULE SCREENINGS. BELOW IS A LIST OF AVAILABLE FILMS AS OF

THIS DATE AVAILABLE TITLES:

THE NARROW MARGIN

ARMORED CAR ROBBERY

VIOLENT SATURDAY

99 RIVER STREET

KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL

THE THREAT

BORN TO KILL

BRUTE FORCE

DETOUR

THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE

THE KILLER IS LOOSE

THE SNIPER

NIGHTMARE ALLEY

THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS

HELL'S HALF ACRE

TRY AND GET ME

THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

 

# # #