If it’s April, this must be Noir City!

Noir City 2013

Noir City, the annual festival of film noir, returns to the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and the Aero Theater in Santa Monica starting this Friday and kicking off three weeks of fate, fear, frustration, folly and femme fatales. I now quote from the official press release: “Whether you’re on the beat as a noir novice or a seasoned visitor to this post-war demimonde of crime and (occasionally) punishment, Noir City is well worth the trip. Just be sure to keep your wits about you once inside the darkened theatre. There’s a crimewave going on in there!”

2972tryHatched and hosted by crime film aficionados Eddie “The Czar of Noir” Muller (author of Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir, Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir, and Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of “Adults Only” Cinema) and Alan K. Rode (author of Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy and an up and coming biography of Michael Curtiz), Noir City gets rolling on Friday, April 15th, with a double bill of TRY AND GET ME (US: THE SOUND OF FURY, 1951) and HELL DRIVERS (1957), both directed by the great Cy Endfield (best known for ZULU and troubles with HUAC). Neither film is available on DVD in this country (or TRY AND GET ME, beneficiary of a new 35 mm restoration, at all), which makes this screening doubly dear and well worth the investment of your time and $11 (for non-Cinemathequers). Based on the 1933 kidnapping and murder of department store heir Brooke Hart (which I first read about in James R. Smith and W. Lane Rogers’ The California Snatch Racket: Kidnappings During the Prohibition and Depression Eras), TRY AND GET ME (yes, the poster is awful and, for the record, Lloyd Bridges does not stomp any buildings flat during the course of the film) stars the vastly underrated Frank Lovejoy (THE HITCH-HIKER, HOUSE OF WAX) as a former dogface roped into a kidnapping scheme by petty criminal Bridges. (The film also makes room for Art Smith, Yvette Vickers, and — Ooh! Ooh! — Joe E. Ross, in his film debut.) The mighty, mighty Stanley Baker headlines HELL DRIVERS as an ex-con whose path to redemption is diverted by nogoodnik Herbert Lom (as an Italian!), with a pre-James Bond Sean Connery, a pre-John Drake Patrick McGoohan, a pre-Dr. Who William Hartnell, and a pre-Illya Kuryakin David McCallum along for the (very bumpy) ride. (Look also for Alfie Bass from THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, Gordon Jackson, Sid James, and Jill Ireland, who married McCallum that same year and then dumped him for Charles Bronson a decade later. But I digress.) And that’s just Friday!

he_walked_by_night_1948Noir City 15 really delivers this year with the seedy-side-of-showbiz two-fer of Billy Wilder’s SUNSET BLVD. (1950) and Hugo Haas’ considerably more down-market THE OTHER WOMAN (1954, not on DVD), the Alfred Werker-Richard Basehart deuce of REPEAT PERFORMANCE (1947, not on DVD) and the insanely influential HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948, co-directed with Anthony Mann), the Fritz Lang-a-rama of HOUSE BY THE RIVER (1950) — Gaslight Noir (subsubgenre!) and SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR (1948), the Brooklyn noirs THE CASE AGAINST BROOKLYN (1958, not on DVD) with Darren McGavin and CITY ACROSS THE RIVER (1949, not on DVD) starring a young punk named Tony Curtis, the Cornell Woolrich double-shot of STREET OF CHANCE (1942, not on DVD) and NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES (1948, not on DVD) — John Lund! — John Reinhart’s HIGH TIDE (1947, not on DVD) with Lee Tracy and CHICAGO CALLING (1952) with Dan Duryea in a tour de force performance as an inveterate loser giving redemption one last shot (bring tissues), the Drunk Noir set-up of Richard Carlson’s Cinemascope thriller APPOINTMENT WITH A SHADOW (1957, not on DVD) starring George Nader as a rummy reporter who dries out to go after the Big Story and and Joseph Lerner’s GUILTY BYSTANDER (1950, not on DVD) with Zachary Scott as a soak of a house dick who goes after the scum who kidnapped his son, the Robert Siodmak pair CRY OF THE CITY (1948) and the noir corner stone THE KILLERS (1946), Joseph H. (GUN CRAZY) Lewis’ UNDERCOVER MAN (1949), which introduced James Whitmore to the movies, and SO DARK THE NIGHT (1946, not on DVD), which stars Hungarian expat Stephen Geray as a Paris detective whose vacation turns into a manhunt and Canoga Park as the French countryside. What? Nobody laughed when Encino played Paris in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME!

inferno2

Noir City 15 winds down with the racially-charged back-to-backer NATIVE SON (1950, not on DVD), an adaptation of the 1940 Richard Wright novel – you probably never even thought of this as noir, did you? – shot in Buenos Aires and NO WAY OUT (1950), which pits racist criminal Richard Widmark against black sawbones Sidney Poitier. (Look fast for Ray Teal.) On Saturday April 20th, the Aero in Santa Monica hosts the eye-popping 3D Noir brace of MAN IN THE DARK (1953, not on DVD) and INFERNO (1953), both of which are celebrating their 60th anniversaries. The festival ends on Saturday, April 21st, back on Hollywood Boulevard with a 6pm showing of Jean Negulesco’s ROAD HOUSE (1948), starring (no, not Patrick Swayze) Richard Widmark and Ida Lupino (and, perhaps it goes without saying, Ray Teal), followed by a gala closing party in the courtyard of the Egyptian. Holy smokes, what an event! Do everything within your power to support Noir City and the Herculean efforts of The Film Noir Foundation, which helped underwrite many of the restorations on hand here. Most of the films being shown this year are being offered in 35mm, many of those archival prints. Cinema lovers in the LA area… you can’t gnash your teeth about the death of film on your blogs and then ignore a happening like this. Get out there! All points bulletin! And if you can’t be there, spread the word…

Here’s the full schedule. These dates often sell out, so don’t be a chump – order your tickets now!

16 Responses If it’s April, this must be Noir City!
Posted By swac44 : April 5, 2013 12:37 pm

I wish I could get to this, but at least I could finally bump that copy of Hell Drivers from my Amazon.co.uk wishlist into my shopping cart. I’m so jealous of anyone who gets to see that 3D double bill, I’ve been wanting to see those titles for years.

Have fun in the dark!

Posted By swac44 : April 5, 2013 12:37 pm

I wish I could get to this, but at least I could finally bump that copy of Hell Drivers from my Amazon.co.uk wishlist into my shopping cart. I’m so jealous of anyone who gets to see that 3D double bill, I’ve been wanting to see those titles for years.

Have fun in the dark!

Posted By kingrat : April 5, 2013 1:10 pm

Richard, TRY AND GET ME has been added to the TCM Film Festival, so festivalgoers will get another chance to see it. My sense is that Cy Enfield, sometimes billed as Cy Endfield, deserves a closer look than he’s received.

Posted By kingrat : April 5, 2013 1:10 pm

Richard, TRY AND GET ME has been added to the TCM Film Festival, so festivalgoers will get another chance to see it. My sense is that Cy Enfield, sometimes billed as Cy Endfield, deserves a closer look than he’s received.

Posted By Richard B : April 5, 2013 1:54 pm

Maybe not available on DVD, but you can stream it on Netflix! Still wish I was in LA right now.

Wasn’t “Repeat Performance” Basehart’s film debut? Remember watching that on the tube ages ago.

Posted By Richard B : April 5, 2013 1:54 pm

Maybe not available on DVD, but you can stream it on Netflix! Still wish I was in LA right now.

Wasn’t “Repeat Performance” Basehart’s film debut? Remember watching that on the tube ages ago.

Posted By Nim Kovak : April 6, 2013 3:46 pm

I loved the night I attended at the San Francisco incarnation 2 or 3 months ago — with the same cover art (sort of blah this year I thought but I guess it’s sort of a Rosie the Riveter idea) & most of the same films it seems …

But the one day I was free to go this year was the double feature of films set in San Francisco : EXPERIMENT IN TERROR & THE SNIPER … Loved them both, & finally seeing Blake Edwards’ stab at noir nicely restored & on the big screen was really wonderful … I don’t notice them on the LA program — but I hope that they will at least make the analagous extra videos showing the before & afters for the specific locations … They ran those at the end of each & they were quite fascinating …

I’ve actually since moved back to Chicago as it chances — only to notice a posting saying that the outfit is headed here at the end of the summer — so maybe I’ll get to see more of these then!

Posted By Nim Kovak : April 6, 2013 3:46 pm

I loved the night I attended at the San Francisco incarnation 2 or 3 months ago — with the same cover art (sort of blah this year I thought but I guess it’s sort of a Rosie the Riveter idea) & most of the same films it seems …

But the one day I was free to go this year was the double feature of films set in San Francisco : EXPERIMENT IN TERROR & THE SNIPER … Loved them both, & finally seeing Blake Edwards’ stab at noir nicely restored & on the big screen was really wonderful … I don’t notice them on the LA program — but I hope that they will at least make the analagous extra videos showing the before & afters for the specific locations … They ran those at the end of each & they were quite fascinating …

I’ve actually since moved back to Chicago as it chances — only to notice a posting saying that the outfit is headed here at the end of the summer — so maybe I’ll get to see more of these then!

Posted By Jay : April 7, 2013 10:01 am

Not living in CA, I really hope some of these, particuarly the ones that have undergone restorations and are not available on DVD, turn up on TCM in the future. I recently caught the restoration of CRY DANGER (51) on TCM and that was great. Really glad this organization exists to rescue and exhibit some of these lesser known films. Just wish I could see them on the big screen. Sigh.

Posted By Jay : April 7, 2013 10:01 am

Not living in CA, I really hope some of these, particuarly the ones that have undergone restorations and are not available on DVD, turn up on TCM in the future. I recently caught the restoration of CRY DANGER (51) on TCM and that was great. Really glad this organization exists to rescue and exhibit some of these lesser known films. Just wish I could see them on the big screen. Sigh.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : April 7, 2013 5:21 pm

You have piqued my curiosity as I’ve seen the movies No Way Out and Roadhouse(not the Swayze one) and I don’t know who Ray Teal is! Going to search wiki and/or IMDB now. Envious of you in LA getting this opportunity!

Posted By jennifromrollamo : April 7, 2013 5:21 pm

You have piqued my curiosity as I’ve seen the movies No Way Out and Roadhouse(not the Swayze one) and I don’t know who Ray Teal is! Going to search wiki and/or IMDB now. Envious of you in LA getting this opportunity!

Posted By Vienna : April 8, 2013 4:55 am

If only I didn’t live 3000 miles away, with the Atlantic to cross too.
And nie to know someone will be discovering Ray Teal

Vienna’s Vlassic Hollywood

Posted By Vienna : April 8, 2013 4:55 am

If only I didn’t live 3000 miles away, with the Atlantic to cross too.
And nie to know someone will be discovering Ray Teal

Vienna’s Vlassic Hollywood

Posted By robbushblog : April 8, 2013 9:50 am

I wish I could fly out there for this, dadgummit. Why can’t they have a noir fest in Jacksonville?

Posted By robbushblog : April 8, 2013 9:50 am

I wish I could fly out there for this, dadgummit. Why can’t they have a noir fest in Jacksonville?

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