Noir City: Chicago
Friday, July 31st – Friday, August 7th, 2009
A festival of classic and undiscovered film noirs, with special guest Harry Belafonte.
directed by Richard Wallace starring Glenn Ford, Janis Carter, Barry Sullivan
In this rarely-seen piece of prime pulp, taciturn everyman Glenn Ford barrels his broken-down truck into a rural Northern California town and is quickly engulfed in a tangle of adultery, embezzlement, and murder. Janis Carter is the long, tall drink of delicious poison he can’t resist, a frosty exemplar of the forties’ film noir femme fatale. The script is by Ben Maddow (The Asphalt Jungle).
directed by Orson Welles starring Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane, Glenn Anders
Orson Welles takes the classic femme fatale tale to globe-spanning lengths and hallucinatory heights. Hard-luck seaman Michael O’Hara (Welles) tumbles into the net of mysterious Elsa Bannister (Hayworth) only to find himself caught in the murderous conspiracies of her viperous cohorts. One of the most startlingly inventive crime films released by a Hollywood studio in the 1940s.
directed by Billy Wilder starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
This classic tale of ill-fated lovers who plot murder for lust and profit was nominated for seven Oscars, lighting the fuse for the explosion of mordant murder dramas that erupted in Hollywood during the postwar years. From the stinging dialogue to stunning cinematography to the archetypal performances of the three leads, Double Indemnity has been often imitated but never equaled.
directed by Joseph Losey starring Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes, John Maxwell
Joseph Losey’s greatest American film is resurrected in all its bleak splendor in this 35mm restoration by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, funded by the Film Noir Foundation. Desperate, materialistic cop Webb Garwood (Heflin) stalks a lonely, affluent Los Angeles housewife and decides to win her love in time-honored noir tradition: by knocking off her husband.
directed by Robert Wise
Harry Belafonte in person for a screening of the 1959 film noir classic Odds Against Tomorrow. Part of our NOIR CITY: CHICAGO festival.
directed by Robert Siodmak starring Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien, Sam Jaffe
This landmark in the Hollywood noir movement takes the famous 1927 Ernest Hemingway short story as the jumping-off point for a crime saga often called the Citizen Kane of film noir. At the center of the whirlwind of double-crosses are white hot stars-to-be Lancaster and Gardner — perhaps the sexiest pairing ever in a film noir.
directed by Fred F. Sears starring Dennis O'Keefe, Abbe Lane, Paul Stewart, Allison Hayes
A rarely-seen example of 1950s-style “exposé noir,” purporting to show the inner workings of American organized crime. Dennis O’Keefe plays a “forensic accountant” enlisted by the cops to go undercover in the gang of local crime boss Arnie Valent. The on-location tour of 1955 Chicago is absolutely priceless.
directed by Henry Hathaway starring Jimmy Stewart, Richard Conte, Helen Walker, Lee J. Cobb
The first Hollywood film shot on location in Chicago. Jaded newspaper reporter P.J. McNeal (Jimmy Stewart) takes up the cause of convict Frank Wiecek (Richard Conte) after the con’s mother spends her life savings trying to clear her son. Call Northside 777 can be enjoyed both as an elegiac ode to the vanished old-school newspaper business and as a film noir. Either way it’s a terrific film — especially for Chicagoans eager to see a big screen version of the city, circa 1948.