Noir City: Chicago 2017

Fri, Aug 25th, 2017 to Thu, Aug 31st, 2017

Festival Passes are $85 General Admission / $70 MBT Members 

Tickets are $12 General Admission, $9 for MBT Members
Tickets purchased for films on Monday, August 28th through Thursday, August 31st can be used for a Double Feature on day of purchase.

NOIR CITY: CHICAGO returns to the Music Box Theatre August 25 - 31, 2017, with an epically suspenseful series of criminal capers!  

"The Big Knockover" celebrates the history of the heist film from black-and-white Hollywood classics such as THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950) and KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952), to 1974's THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE, to the stunning contemporary thriller from Argentina EL AURA (2005).  This year's focus on hold-ups, heists, and schemes gone awry provides the perfect opportunity to venture beyond the 1940s and '50s to show how noir has expanded and transformed over the decades. 

Film Noir Foundation president Eddie Muller will introduce films during opening weekend, August 25 - 27, and noted film writer and FNF board member Alan K. Rode will take over hosting duties August 28 - 31. NOIR CITY: CHICAGO's opening night will be a 20th Anniversary screening of Curtis Hanson's L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, featuring author James Ellroy, who will introduce the 1997 film onstage with Eddie Muller. 

Co-presented by the Film Noir Foundation filmnoirfoundation.org

Sponsored by TCM's Noir Alley

The Asphalt Jungle

A FILM BY: John Huston
WRITTEN BY: Ben Maddow, John Huston, W. R. Burnett (novel)
STARRING: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen

What better way to close NOIR CITY’s salute to heist films than with the gold standard of the genre? Wily Doc Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe, Oscar®-nominated) gets sprung from the joint and immediately plans a jewelry store job with a can’t-miss crew of professionals. But there’s no perfect crime—and no perfect criminals, because each man carries the seeds of his own destruction. There are, however, perfect films—and THE ASPHALT JUNGLE is as close to perfection as any crime film made in the United States, then or now. Boasting one of the genre’s great ensemble casts—Sterling Hayden, Jean Hagen, Louis Calhern, Anthony Caruso, Brad Dexter, Marc Lawrence—and a sly, sexy turn that put Marilyn Monroe on the map.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1950
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 112 mins
Format: 35mm

The Aura

A FILM BY: Fabián Bielinsky
WRITTEN BY: Fabián Bielinsky, Pablo De Santis
STARRING: Ricardo Darín, Manuel Rodal, Dolores Fonzi

In Spanish with English subtitles

The charismatic Ricardo Darín (NINE QUEENS, THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES) plays an epileptic taxidermist who amuses himself by plotting perfect crimes. On a hunting trip, he accidentally kills a man who has set a casino robbery into motion—then steps into the dead man’s shoes to live out his fantasy. But reality concocts plot twists even his fevered imagination can’t see coming. Argentine director Bielinsky made only two movies before his death, the exquisite caper NINE QUEENS and this masterful neo-noir, perhaps the best of the 21st century.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2005
Country of Origin: Argentina
Language: Spanish
Run Time: 134 mins
Format: 35mm

Blue Collar

A FILM BY: Paul Schrader
WRITTEN BY: Paul Schrader, Leonard Schrader
STARRING: Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto

Paul Schrader’s directorial debut is one of the most politically savvy films of the 1970s—if not ever. Three Detroit autoworkers—Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, and Yaphet Kotto—are so fed up with their dead-end jobs they decide to rip off the safe inside their own union office. When the robbery doesn’t go quite as planned, solidarity is only the first casualty. What starts as a buddy-comedy veers into the heart of American darkness. Pryor is, of course, funny as hell—but he also gives his finest dramatic performance in this seething, angry film that’s as timely and relevant as ever. 

Technical Information

Production Year: 1978
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 114 mins
Format: 35mm

The Brink's Job

A FILM BY: William Friedkin
WRITTEN BY: Walon Green, Noel Behn (book)
STARRING: Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands

Boston’s legendary 1950 Brinks’ robbery, in which a gang of thieves made off with more than $2 million, was heralded as “The Crime of the Century”—especially after it went unsolved for years. It inspired several filmic adaptations, none better than Friedkin’s playful hybrid of comedy and suspense. As the mastermind, Peter Falk leads an extraordinary cast of characters, including Gena Rowlands, Paul Sorvino, Warren Oates, Peter Boyle and Allen Garfield. A poignant and beautifully realized period piece, this is one of the director’s best—if most neglected—films. 

Technical Information

Production Year: 1978
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 104 mins
Format: 35mm

Cash on Demand

A FILM BY: Quentin Lawrence
WRITTEN BY: David Chantler, Lewis Greifer, Jacques Gillies (play)
STARRING: Peter Cushing, André Morell, Richard Vernon

Peter Cushing has one of his best non-horror roles as a Scrooge-like manager of a suburban London bank, driving his loyal staff mad with his persnickety discipline. Enter Col. Gore-Hepburn (André Morell), making a surprise inspection from the home office—who plans to empty the bank’s vault with effortless aplomb. Superb suspense combined with tart character study, all told in 84-consecutive minutes. One of Hammer’s best!

Technical Information

Production Year: 1961
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 84 mins
Format: 35mm

Charley Varrick

A FILM BY: Don Siegel
WRITTEN BY: Howard Rodman, Dean Riesner, John Reese (novel)
STARRING: Walter Matthau, Joe Don Baker, Felicia Farr

Meet Charley Varrick (Walter Matthau), Last of the Independents—at one point, the movie’s intended title. Charley’s a smart, methodical criminal, so when a robbery at a tiny New Mexico bank nets him way more money than it should, he knows he’s in deep. Soon he’s got to outthink the Mafia, outwit his partner, and outrun the cops. This whip-smart underdog story is Don Siegel at his best and includes many members of his colorful stock company: Andy Robinson (DIRTY HARRY), Sheree North, John Vernon—plus Joe Don Baker memorably playing a relentless hit man named Molly.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1973
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 111 mins
Format: 35mm

Classe Tous Risque

A FILM BY: Claude Sautet
WRITTEN BY: José Giovanni (novel), Pascal Jardin, Claude Sautet
STARRING: Lino Ventura, Sandra Milo, Jean-Paul Belmondo

In French with English subtitles

Abel Davos (the gloriously hangdog Lino Ventura) is a wanted French gangster ready to end his exile in Italy. He sends his family ahead, planning one last job to cover expenses. Only his old cronies aren’t thrilled to see him, and his sole ally is an untested kid played by Jean-Paul Belmondo (BREATHLESS). The title really means “Consider All Risks,” but you’re taking no chances with the movie the New York Times called “a missing piece of film history ... a link between the great postwar policiers and the brooding 1960s gangster dramas of Jean-Pierre Melville.”

Technical Information

Production Year: 1960
Country of Origin: France
Language: French
Run Time: 83 mins
Format: 35mm

Dragnet

A FILM BY: Jack Webb
WRITTEN BY: Richard L. Breen (screenplay)
STARRING: Jack Webb, Ben Alexander, Richard Boone

This feature adaptation of the hit television series eschews the established policier boilerplate in favor of Sgt. Joe Friday (Webb) and partner Officer Frank Smith (Ben Alexander) pursuing a fact-based murder case of an organized crime bookie. Webb gives no quarter during a relentless investigation backstopped by Captain James Hamilton (Richard Boone) and undercover policewoman Officer Grace Downey (Ann Robinson). Presented in a no-holds barred style that drew howls from civil libertarians, this film is a favorite of legendary noir fiction writer James Ellroy who will introduce the screening. A rarely seen, cinematic melding of mid 20th century history and popular culture!

Technical Information

Production Year: 1954
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 88 mins
Format: 35mm

Drive a Crooked Road

A FILM BY: Richard Quine
WRITTEN BY: Blake Edwards
STARRING: Mickey Rooney, Dianne Foster, Kevin McCarthy

Before becoming famous for creating PETER GUNN and the PINK PANTHER movies, Blake Edwards scripted this extraordinary, if virtually unknown, ’50s film noir, which casts a fully-grown Mickey Rooney against type as a lovelorn mechanic whose craving for fast cars and a faster woman (the alluring Dianne Foster) drives him to sign on as wheelman in a bank robbery. In what may be his finest performance, Rooney delivers a compelling characterization of the “Little Freak,” whose desire for a duplicitous woman leads to an unforgettable conclusion. One of finest noir films of the fifties.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1954
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 83 mins
Format: 35mm

High Sierra

A FILM BY: Raoul Walsh
WRITTEN BY: John Huston, W. R. Burnett (novel)
STARRING: Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Curtis

Humphrey Bogart is memorable in his first romantic antihero role as outlaw Roy “Mad Dog” Earle, plotting one last heist for unexpectedly sentimental reasons. Ida Lupino is the hard-as-nails dame who loves him; Joan Leslie is the young girl who could redeem him. Walsh directs this archetypal set-up with his patented cinematic brio, bristling with dynamic action. Remade multiple times, but this is the timeless classic.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1941
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 100 mins
Format: 35mm

Kansas City Confidential

A FILM BY: Phil Karlson
WRITTEN BY: Harry Essex (screenplay), Rowland Brown (story)
STARRING: John Payne, Coleen Gray, Preston Foster

Pity poor Joe Rolfe (John Payne). The hard-luck WWII veteran is trying to walk the straight and narrow, but winds up playing the patsy in a devilishly conceived million-dollar armored car robbery. Getting no help from the cops, he desperately trails the thieves south of the border. There he tangles with tough guys Neville Brand and Lee Van Cleef, who are as deep in the dark as he is, and falls for good girl Coleen Gray—under the suspicious eye of her cop father (Preston Foster). The was the first production pairing of noir dream team Payne and director Phil Karlson (99 RIVER STREET), under the no-nonsense auspices of producer Edward Small. It remains one of the great capers of the 1950s.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1952
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 99 mins
Format: 35mm

L.A. Confidential

A FILM BY: Curtis Hanson
WRITTEN BY: Brian Helgeland (screenplay), James Ellroy (novel)
STARRING: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger

NOIR CITY: CHICAGO Opening Night

Author James Ellroy In-Person!

Celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the most potent and stylish cop thrillers ever produced in Hollywood. James Ellroy's epic novel is streamlined into a rough-and-tumble police procedural in which four cops—brilliantly played by Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey and James Cromwell—compete and cooperate to solve the "Nite Owl Massacre"—which only exposes deeper and deadlier levels of corruption in their ranks. Featuring Oscar-winning support from Kim Basinger as the woman Crowe and Pearce fall for. Masterfully directed by the late Curtis Hanson.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1997
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 138 mins
Format: 35mm

Odd Man Out

A FILM BY: Carol Reed
WRITTEN BY: F.L. Green, R. C. Sheriff
STARRING: James Mason, Robert Newton, Cyril Cusack

In the aftermath of a robbery gone wrong, Johnny McQueen (James Mason), leader of Irish nationalist group The Organization, caroms through nocturnal Belfast after accidentally killing a man, getting shot himself, and separating from his cohorts. He encounters all manner of good and evil in the people he meets during his search for sanctuary. The script is enhanced by heartbreaking performances from Mason and Kathleen Ryan (as Johnny’s doomed love), and Reed’s talent for capturing the paradoxical beauty of urban decay, including shots he’d replicate two years later in THE THIRD MAN.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1947
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 116 mins
Format: 35mm

Plunder Road

A FILM BY: Hubert Cornfield
WRITTEN BY: Steven Ritch
STARRING: Gene Raymond, Jeanne Cooper, Wayne Morris

From the awesome rain-drenched opening as a crew of hooded robbers heist a huge haul of gold bullion from a train, this film never stops moving—smashing down the interstate as gang-leader Gene Raymondand his truck-driving cohorts (Wayne Morris, Elisha Cook Jr. and screenwriter Steven Ritch) try to get away with the score of a lifetime. Breathless, pulse-pounding excitement, a low-budget cross between THE WAGES OF FEAR and Melville’s LE DEUXIEME SOUFFLE. 

Technical Information

Production Year: 1957
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 72 mins
Format: 35mm

Quiet Please: Murder

A FILM BY: John Francis Larkin
WRITTEN BY: John Francis Larkin , Lawrence Blochman (story)
STARRING: George Sanders, Gail Patrick, Richard Denning

Never On DVD!

George Sanders is at his silky and arrogant best as a master forger who steals a priceless Shakespeare folio, loses it, and tries to recover it by holding hostage all the patrons in the Los Angeles Public Library! Also starring Gail Patrick and Richard Denning. An example of the Fox B-unit at its best! 

Technical Information

Production Year: 1942
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 70 mins
Format: 35mm

Six Bridges to Cross

A FILM BY: Joseph Pevney
WRITTEN BY: Sydney Boehm
STARRING: Tony Curtis, George Nader, Julie Adams

The factual story of Boston’s legendary Brinks’ heist is given its first cinematic treatment in this character-driven caper. Noir maestro Sydney Boehm’s screenplay delves into the psychology of the perpetrators, as well as the intricate mechanics of the hold-up. Tony Curtis heads a terrific cast that includes Julie Adams, George Nader, Jay C. Flippen, and, in his movie debut, Sal Mineo.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1955
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 96 mins
Format: 35mm

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

A FILM BY: Joseph Sargent
WRITTEN BY: Peter Stone, John Godey (novel)
STARRING: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam

The most New York movie ever made, a time capsule of the Big Apple’s hellish Fun City days. A quartet of desperadoes led by Robert Shaw’s icy soldier of fortune hijacks a subway train loaded with passengers—and only an unlikely duo of transit cops, Walter Matthau and Jerry Stiller, can foil their ingenious ransom scheme. Fierce, funny, and full of fetid atmosphere that hits you like a gust from a passing Lexington Avenue Express. The film is powered by David Shire’s propulsive score and it culminates in one of the greatest last shots in the history of America cinema.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1974
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 104 mins
Format: 35mm

Thunderbolt & Lightfoot

A FILM BY: Michael Cimino
WRITTEN BY: Michael Cimino
STARRING: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, George Kennedy

Before the accolades for THE DEER HUNTER and the controversy of HEAVEN'S GATE, Michael Cimino made one of Hollywood’s most offbeat heist films. Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges play the title characters, a war veteran turned professional thief and a footloose drifter who fall in together. But Thunderbolt’s old running buddies (George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis) are hot on the trail of the loot from their last job, and it may require a new robbery to get rid of them. From its wildly memorable opening to its gut-wrenching climax, the film takes viewers on a unique ride.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1974
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 115 mins
Format: 35mm

Music Box Theatre

3733 N Southport Ave Chicago, IL 60613 773 871 6604