Noir City 6: It’s a Bitter Little World
Friday, August 29th – Thursday, September 4th, 2014
The 6th edition of the Music Box’s annual film noir festival is going international, exploding the long-held belief that noir stories and style are a specifically American phenomenon.
directed by Byron Haskin starring Lizabeth Scott, Dan Duryea, Arthur KennedyA ruthless housewife is determined to keep an ill-gotten satchel of cash, even if it means murder. One of the great noirs of the classic era, long thought lost but now returned to the big screen in a completely restored 35mm print!
directed by Harold Daniels starring Charles McGraw
Charles McGraw is at his best as a straight-arrow insurance investigator who turns crooked to satisfy femme fatale Joan Dixon. An unjustly overlooked example of classic noir, with terrific screenplay by Steve Fisher.
directed by Juan Antonio Bardem in Spanish starring Lucia Bose and Alberto Closas
An adulterous couple—wealthy socialite and university professor—hit a cyclist on their way back from an illicit tryst. Fearing exposure of the affair, they leave the man to die. Gradually the noose tightens around them. A Cannes festival winner, starring Lucia Bose and Alberto Closas.
directed by Nicholas Ray starring Joan Fontaine, Robert Ryan
Joan Fontaine looks sweet and innocent on the surface, but after she steals millionaire Zachary Scott away from another woman, she continues an illicit affair with novelist Robert Ryan. Things just get more complicated from there in this daring and nasty melodrama. One of Nick Ray’s best early films—presented along with the original deleted ending! 35mm print courtesy of the George Eastman House
directed by Luchino Visconti in Italian starring Clara Calamai and Massimo Girotti
Based on James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, the first acclaimed work of Italian neorealism is a gritty, earthy (and unlicensed) adaptation of the famous noir novella, much closer in tone and spirit to Cain’s tale than the 1946 Hollywood version. Clara Calamai and Massimo Girotti burn up the screen as the doomed lovers, but Visconti makes the story as much about poverty as about lust and greed.
The film was banned by Italy’s Fascist government, and MGM (legal holder of the movie rights) confiscated and destroyed all the prints it could find. Yet Ossessione survives, a stunning hybrid of noir and neorealism—the director’s first masterpiece.
directed by Julien Duvivier in French starring Jean Gabin
Parisian crook Pépé Le Moko (the legendary Jean Gabin) thrives within Algier’s Casbah, where the locals protect him from the police. But a canny cop uses romance as the bait when Pépé falls for a beautiful tourist. Exhibit A in the argument that the French were the first to do “Noir.”
directed by H.G. Clouzot in French starring Susie Delair, Louis Jouvert
Jenny Lamour (Susie Delair), a flighty and ambitious showgirl, is the prime suspect in the death of an elderly showbiz patron. But beleaguered inspector Antoine (Louis Jouvert) overlooks no possible suspect in the bustling theatre. An exceptional policier, rich with colorful characters.
directed by Jules Dassin in French
This French equivalent of The Asphalt Jungle focuses on four professional crooks determined to execute the perfect heist. Transplanted American director Dassin executes the most suspenseful robbery sequence of all-time in this legendary crime classic. Jean Servais leads the gang.
directed by Jean-Pierre Melville in English
When a French delegate to the United Nations vanishes into thin air, two French journalists comb nocturnal Manhattan in search of answers. Melville’s obsession with the look and sound of American culture is given free rein in this jazzily directed homage to film noir and New York.
directed by John Cromwell starring Eleanor Parker
Flat-out the best “women behind bars” movie ever made. Sentenced to prison for her role in a failed robbery that killed her husband, vulnerable innocent Marie Allen (Oscar-nominated Eleanor Parker) undergoes a degrading transformation in “the joint.” Parker gives the performance of her career, supported by a cell block of sensational actresses: Agnes Moorehead, Hope Emerson, Betty Garde, Jan Sterling, Lee Patrick, Jane Darwell and many more. A classic!
directed by John Berry starring Audrey Totter, Barry Sullivan and William Conrad
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—kills his wife’s lover and disappears into 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. John Berry’s direction steamrolls the plot holes flat—and Totter is a 100-proof hoot.
directed by Hugo Fregonese starring James Mason, Dan Duryea
Even though he had just begun his American film career, James Mason already had his doomed fugitive persona down pat in Odd Man Out and The Reckless Moment. Here he’s a disillusioned doctor who feels responsible for his wife’s death and believes he’s only worthy of patching up wounded criminals. He tricks Los Angeles gang boss Dan Duryea out of his latest haul, and absconds with Duryea’s more than willing moll, Marta Toren. They head to Mexico with the swag—but can they outrun Duryea’s limitless reach?
directed by Hugo Fregonese in Spanish starring Jorge Salcedo
A bank employee (Jorge Salcedo) uses a loophole in Argentine law to concoct the perfect crime, planning to reap the rewards of his embezzlement after serving six years in prison. A vivid cross between Naked City and Brute Force, and an evocative look at mid-20th-century Buenos Aires.
directed by Akira Kurosawa in Japanese starring Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura
An alcoholic doctor and a tubercular gangster forge an unexpected friendship after the doctor saves the callow crook’s life, but the return of a criminal comrade sparks a tragic turn. Toshiro Mifune explodes off the screen in his first film for Kurosawa
directed by Akira Kurosawa in Japanese starring Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura
A young policeman is disgraced when his gun is stolen on the subway. With the help of a veteran cop he hunts the culprit through the Tokyo underworld. A riveting thriller and vividly wrought portrait of post-Hiroshima Japan. Mifune and Shimura are reunited as the dogged cops.
directed by Joseph Losey starring David Wayne
The American version of Fritz Lang’s 1931 classic about a child murderer being simultaneously hunted by the police and the underworld receives renewed impetus in the setting of Bunker Hill locations under the direction of Joe Losey. David Wayne turns in a bravura performance as the killer and is supported by a veritable character actor’s Hall of Fame: Howard Da Silva, Luther Adler, Steve Brodie, Raymond Burr, Norman Lloyd, Walter Burke and Jim Backus. Not on DVD!
directed by Román Viñoly Barreto in Spanish starring Olga Zubarry
This clever “feminist” reworking of Fritz Lang’s classic M focuses on the mothers of children stalked by a deranged pedophile. Virtually unknown outside Argentina, and presented onscreen in the U.S. for the first time ever, in a new 35mm print! Starring the radiant Olga Zubarry.
$12 tickets per film.
Each film is part of a double feature and buying a ticket to a feature entitles the holder to the next film of the day as part of the festival.
$75 Festival Pass
Saturday, August 30th
Sunday, August 31st
Focusing on the years immediately following World War II, this year’s NOIR CITY festival features classic noir films from France, Japan, Argentina, Spain, Italy, and Britain, as well as a sampling of homegrown Hollywood rarities. The 14 films in the series reveal that the cinematic movement known as Noir spanned the globe, and its style, sexiness, and cynicism crossed all international borders.
The Foundation, co-presenters of the festival with the Music Box, will also be presenting its latest 35mm film restoration, Too Late for Tears (1949), starring Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea, which Muller declares “the best unknown American film noir of the classic era.” Also screening will be a newly struck 35mm print of the tough-as-nails Roadblock, starring noir favorite Charles McGraw.
“Our desire to expand the scope of the NOIR CITY festival has resulted in our most ambitious program ever,” said Film Noir Foundation president Eddie Muller. “Its overall impact will, I suspect, change many people’s long-standing preconceptions about film noir.”
Other instances of the Noir City: Chicago
Friday, August 23rd – Thursday, August 29th, 2013
Friday, August 17th – Friday, August 24th, 2012
Friday, August 12th – Thursday, August 18th, 2011
Tuesday, July 13th – Friday, August 20th, 2010
Friday, July 31st – Friday, August 7th, 2009