14th Annual Los Angeles Festival of Film Noir


April 20 – May 6, 2012 American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre 6712 Hollywood Blvd ۰ Los Angeles, CA 90028. Join Eddie Muller “The Czar OF Noir” at the 14th edition of Noir City, featuring a variety of rare Noirs, some in restorations or new 35 mm prints struck for the festival ( Alan Ladd’s rare ‘The Great Gatsby”), some simply unavailable on DVD. ( Although with Muller re-exposing these films to a new audience, hopefully they will become availble.)

Fourteen years ago that the American Cinematheque invited Eddie Muller to program the Egyptian Theatre’s inaugural festival of film noir. Back in 1999 it was called “Side Streets and Back Alleys: A Festival of Film Noir,” and it featured dozens of forgotten films, retrieved from critical exile, that have since been recognized as unjustly neglected genre gems, with many returned to circulation via DVD. Since then Muller, through the formation of the Film Noir Foundation (FNF), has made reclamation and restoration of lost noir an official crusade, with the results exhibited annually at NOIR CITY festivals in five U.S. cities.

This year the FNF returns to the Egyptian Theatre, where it all began, with another astounding lineup of films ranging from pre-Code proto-noir (OKAY, AMERICA and AFRAID TO TALK) to perennial festival favorites (T-MEN, THE WINDOW, CAGED) to rediscovered rarities (NAKED ALIBI, SHIELD FOR MURDER, JOHNNY ALLEGRO, MANHANDLED, THREE STRANGERS, Alan Ladd’s 1949 THE GREAT GATSBY). Join Eddie Muller and FNF co-director Alan K. Rode as they host another edifying and entertaining excursion into the dark recesses of Hollywood’s most lasting artistic movement – film noir. Each night  ticket buyers will have a chance to win passes to see Cirque du Soleil’s IRIS at the Kodak Theatres! Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode will also host Noir trivia contests on select nights, where winners can also take home prizes from Bettie Page Clothing, Esotouric bus tours, and more!

HIGHLY RECCOMMENDED: “The Great Gatsby”, “Naked AlibI” (a lean muscular b-film featuring Gloria Graham as  a tawdry singer in a bordertown dive):. the Cornell Woolrich TRIPLE FEATURE!, including the rarely shown “Black Angel”, a new print of “The Window”, with chilling perfs from Paul Stewart and Ruth Roman, and the jam session sprinkled “Phantom lady” with Elisha Cook Jr. as a  hepped up drummer. Anthony Mann’s Noir tale of the French Revolution “Reign Of Terror”, Don Segals’ Private Hell 36 starring Ida Lupino (To Be Confirmed) Hammett’s screen story “City Streets”, Three Strangers, the oddball gothic “Sign Of The Ram.”

Friday, April 20 – 7:30 PM Alan Ladd Tribute Double Feature
THE GREAT GATSBY 1949, Universal, 91 min. New 35mm Print!
Resurrected at last is this Golden Age version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, unseen for decades. Thanks to our friends at Universal Pictures, Alan Ladd’s noir-tinged take on the timeless tale of shady success and lost love can be seen again, in a brand-new print made exclusively for Noir City! Screenplay by Cyril Hume and Richard Maibaum, based on the novel and a play by Owen Davis. Directed by Elliott Nugent. An intriguing take on an American classic.
THIS GUN FOR HIRE 1942, Universal, 81 min. Trailer
Alan Ladd skyrocketed to stardom playing vengeful assassin Philip Raven in this stylish adaptation of Graham Greene’s classic novel of espionage, transposed to the California coast. Veronica Lake sizzles in her first of seven onscreen pairings with Ladd, and noir favorites Laird Cregar and Marc Lawrence lend memorable support. Directed by Frank Tuttle, from a screenplay by W.R. Burnett (THE ASPHALT JUNGLE) and Albert Maltz (NAKED CITY). Introduction by film noir experts Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode.
Saturday, April 21 – 7:30 PM Sterling Hayden Tribute Double Feature
NAKED ALIBI 1953, Universal, 86 min. New 35mm Print!
A murder suspect (Gene Barry), released for lack of evidence, vows vengeance on the cops who brutalized him. When one of those cops turns up dead, his partner (Sterling Hayden) hunts down the “innocent” man to prove him guilty. Both end up in thrall to bordertown bad girl Gloria Grahame, whose unique sexiness is on full display in this ultra-rare potboiler! Screenplay by Lawrence Roman, from a story by Gladys Atwater and Robert Bren. Directed by Jerry Hopper.
SUDDENLY 1954, Lobster Films, 86 min. Newly Restored!
In this tense thriller, Sterling Hayden plays a small-town sheriff confronting a trio of paid killers bent on assassinating the vacationing president of the United States. Frank Sinatra is electrifying as the boss bad guy; the actor-singer tried to buy up all copies of this film after the murder of John F. Kennedy. Lewis Allen provides his strongest directing effort for Richard Sale’s taut, suspenseful script. Restoration by Serge Bromberg’s Lobster Films.  Introduction by film noir experts Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode.
Sunday, April 22 – 5:00 PM Cornell Woolrich TRIPLE FEATURE!
PHANTOM LADY 1944, Universal, 87 min. Clip
Loyal and lovely Ella Raines is “one hep kitten” as she high-heels her way through the noir demimonde, searching for the one woman who can save her boss from a murder rap. Director Robert Siodmak and DP Woody Bredell wring every juicy bit of shadowy mystery from the novel by master of suspense Cornell Woolrich. Famous for Elisha Cook’s manic interlude as a wigged-out jazz drummer in orgiastic frenzy! A truly seminal noir classic!

BLACK ANGEL 1945, Universal, 81 min.
In this spellbinding adaptation of Cornell Woolrich’s thriller, noir favorite Dan Duryea gives a terrific performance as a pickled pianist whose estranged wife is murdered. When her husband is charged with the crime, nightclub canary June Vincent enlists drunken Dan’s help in a search for the real culprit. Broderick Crawford and Peter Lorre add muscle and menace to the typically warped Woolrich atmosphere, well rendered by director Roy William Neil.
THE WINDOW 1949, Warner Bros., 73 min. New 35mm Print!
This unnerving adaptation of Cornell Woolrich’s “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is one of the most suspenseful films ever made. A child (Bobby Driscoll, who earned a special pint-sized Oscar for his performance) witnesses a murder but can’t get anyone to believe him – except the killers, memorably portrayed by Paul Stewart and Ruth Roman. Brilliantly directed by Ted Tetzlaff. New 35mm print funded by the Film Noir Foundation.
Introduction by film noir experts Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode.
Wednesday, April 25 – 7:30 PM Anthony Mann Double Feature
T-MEN 1947, 92 min. Clip
Director Anthony Mann and DP John Alton – king of chiaroscuro – pull out all the stops in relating the intensely exciting and shockingly brutal tale of Treasury agents, led by the redoubtable Dennis O’Keefe, going undercover to infiltrate a cadre of counterfeiters. Great character bits from Charles McGraw and Wallace Ford in a vivid script by crime scribe John C. Higgins. One of the most artfully arresting visual spectacles of the original film noir era!
STRANGE IMPERSONATION 1944, Films Around the World, Inc., 68 min.
This kooky and claustrophobic crime/sci-fi/soap opera hybrid crams about three movies’ worth of plot into its brief running time: chemical experiments, insurance scams, romantic triangles, plastic surgery – it’s a bizarre and berserk funhouse ride, featuring Brenda Marshall, William Gargan and sexy Hillary Brooke. One of director Anthony Mann’s more stylish, inventive (and nutty) B’s, paving the way for his ascension to A-list assignments and eventual auteur status.
Thursday, April 26 – 7:30 PM Bums & Babes Behind Bars Double Feature
CAGED 1950, Warner Bros., 96 min. Dir. John Cromwell. Trailer
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!
BIG HOUSE USA 1955, MGM/Park Circus, 83 min. Clip
No meaner, more vicious band of bust-out psychos was ever crammed together in one cell block: Ralph Meeker, Broderick Crawford, Charles Bronson, Lon Chaney Jr. and William Talman! Meeker plays a child kidnapper sent to the Big House after his young hostage dies. He then leads the crazed cons in a breakout to retrieve the hidden ransom! Director Howard Koch turns John C. Higgins’ twist-filled script into the most jaw-droppingly brutal prison film of the 1950s! Introduction by film noir expert Alan K. Rode.
Prior to Thursday’s double feature, from 5:30PM – 7:30PM, join Trailers From Hell, Now and Zin and K&L Wines for a “Don’t Be Afraid of the Noir” wine tasting at K&L’s Hollywood store at 1400 N. Vine Street, held in association with the American Cinematheque’s 14th Annual Noir City Film Festival. There will be tastings of Pinot Noirs – what else? – specially selected for the occasion, Tickets are $15 and will be available at the door. For details click here. (This event is not produced by or affiliated in any way with the American Cinematheque.)
Friday, April 27 – 7:30 PM Norman Lloyd Tribute Double Feature
Introduction by film noir expert Alan K. Rode.
Discussion between films with special guest Norman Lloyd.

SCENE OF THE CRIME 1949, Warner Bros., 94 min. Trailer NOT ON DVD
Van Johnson plays a dogged flatfoot determined to solve the murder of his partner, who may have been taking payoffs from local bookies. Nice noir touches enliven this early police procedural, and Norman Lloyd and Gloria De Haven are sensational in supporting turns. Charles Schnee’s script offers plenty of juicy bit parts for a cast of noir favorites, including costar Arlene Dahl. Directed by Roy Rowland.
REIGN OF TERROR (aka THE BLACK BOOK) 1949, Sony Repertory, 88 min.
Director Anthony Mann and DP John Alton, using the full-bore noir treatment, turn the French Revolution into a crime saga dripping with greed, deceit and betrayal. With Robert Cummings as Charles D’Aubigny and Richard Basehart as Robespierre, all of the elements are here – atmospheric camerawork, taut script, a beautiful spy (Arlene Dahl, again!) and fearsome Charles McGraw (looking like the leader of a French biker gang) as Robespierre’s sadistic henchman.
Saturday, April 28 – 7:30 PM Waterfront Noir Double Feature
SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE 1956, Universal, 103 min. New 35mm Print!
This stepson to ON THE WATERFRONT packs a wallop of its own. An upstart district attorney (Richard Egan) tries to crack the New York waterfront’s mob-enforced code of silence and mete out justice for a murdered whistleblower. Jan Sterling is terrific as the victim’s widow, heading a dynamite supporting cast of familiar and fantastic character actors, including Dan Duryea, Charles McGraw, Sam Levene and Walter Matthau. Lawrence Roman’s fact-based script is vigorously directed by Arnold Laven.
EDGE OF THE CITY 1957, Warner Bros., 85 min. Clip
Another gritty exploration of life on the Manhattan docks that’s also a powerful look at 1950s race relations. Sidney Poitier and John Cassavetes play working-class pals driven apart by ignorance and racism (exemplified by a virulent thug, played brilliantly by Jack Warden). Martin Ritt’s stunning directorial debut, based on Robert Alan Aurthur’s 1955 teleplay “A Man Is Ten Feet Tall.” Not entirely noir, but a smart and suspenseful drama overdue for rediscovery!
Introduction by film noir expert Alan K. Rode.
Discussion between films with actress Julie Adams.

Sunday, April 29 – 7:30 PM Johnnies-On-The-Spot Double Feature
JOHNNY O’CLOCK 1946, Sony Repertory, 85 min. NOT ON DVD
Innocent Nancy Hobson (Evelyn Keyes) ventures to the nasty noir city when her sister winds up dead. She’s soon up to her chin in a tangle of gamblers, gangsters and surly cops – not to mention falling under the spell of charismatic casino owner Johnny O’Clock (Dick Powell, in his signature role). Scribe Robert Rossen’s directorial debut offers the full range of noir iconography and is played to the hilt by a colorful cast, featuring Lee J. Cobb, Ellen Drew, Nina Foch and Thomas Mitchell.
JOHNNY ALLEGRO 1949, Sony Repertory, 81 min. Trailer
In this underrated George Raft vehicle, the actor plays the title reformed crook, sent undercover to a Caribbean island hiding American gangsters. (Scripters Karen De Wolff and Guy Endore must have vacationed in Havana!) Allegro’s job: Take down Mr. Big (George Macready). Once Mrs. Big (Nina Foch) falls for Raft, things spiral into MOST DANGEROUS GAME territory, with Macready breaking out his bow and arrows! Directed by Ted Tetzlaff (THE WINDOW).
Introduction by film noir expert Alan K. Rode.
Wednesday, May 2 – 7:30 PM Dirty Cops Double Feature 
SHIELD FOR MURDER 1954, UA (Park Circus), 82 min. Trailer 
The poster’s tagline says it all: “Dame-Hungry Killer Cop Runs Berserk!” Money-mad dirty cop Barney Nolan (Edmond O’Brien) bumps off a numbers runner and pockets $25,000 for a down payment on his dream house in the ’burbs. A deaf mute who witnessed the crime may force Barney to become a serial killer! Featuring dishy Carolyn Jones. Once again, a crackerjack script from ace crime scribe John C. Higgins, co-directed by O’Brien himself and Howard Koch (BIG HOUSE, USA).
To Be Confirmed: PRIVATE HELL 36 1954, Filmmakers (BFI), 81 min. Clip
Ida Lupino co-wrote and stars in this brawny, booze-fueled drama about a desperate cop (Steve Cochran) straying off the straight-and-narrow, falling for a world-weary lounge singer (Lupino) and betraying his partner (Howard Duff). Don Siegel directs the character-driven script with his usual vigor, but this time his patented punch is tempered by Lupino’s more leisurely storytelling style – and the bourbon-soaked performances of a once-vital cast hurtling headlong toward has-been status.
Thursday, May 3 – 7:30 PM Pre-Code Proto-Noir Double Feature
OKAY, AMERICA 1932, Universal, 78 min. NOT ON DVD
A hugely popular radio personality (Lew Ayres), clearly based on the legendary Walter Winchell, uses his influence to manipulate both sides of the law while investigating a kidnapping that leads all the way to the White House. A wildly entertaining pre-Code exposé on the greasy relationship between politicians, organized crime and the burgeoning American media. Screenplay by William Anthony McGuire. Directed by Tay Garnett.
AFRAID TO TALK (aka MERRY-GO-ROUND) 1932, Universal, 69 min. NOT ON DVD
Gangsters and politicians, worried their allegiances will be revealed, conspire to destroy a innocent bellhop (Eric Linden) who witnesses a murder in the penthouse suite. A scathing, uncompromising and still timely look at the corruption inherent in American big-city politics. Indelible performances from a vast cast, headed by Louis Calhern and Edward Arnold. Screenplay by Albert Maltz and George Sklar, based on their play. Directed by Edward L. Cahn.
Friday, May 4 – 7:30 PM Dashiell Hammett Double Feature
THE MALTESE FALCON 1931, Warner Bros., 80 min. Clip
No, not the Bogart version, but the original – made the year after Dashiell Hammett’s landmark novel was published. This pre-Code adaptation flaunts a much sexier tone than John Huston’s more famous 1941 version. Some Hammett fans even prefer it. Ricardo Cortez and Bebe Daniels star as Spade and Brigid. Screenplay by Maude Fulton & Brown Holmes, from the Hammett novel. Directed by Roy Del Ruth.
CITY STREETS 1931, Paramount, 83 min. Clip NOT ON DVD
Restored Print!
Gary Cooper (young and stunningly handsome) plays a carny sharpshooter who goes crooked in order to free his love (Sylvia Sidney) from prison. The only story Dashiell Hammett wrote specifically for the screen, it is brilliantly realized by director Rouben Mamoulian and legendary cameraman Lee Garmes. Screenplay by Oliver H. P. Garrett, adapted by Max Marcin, from Hammett’s original story. Restored print courtesy UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Saturday, May 5 –  3:00 PM Egyptian Theatre 90th Anniversary Event!
Co-Presented by The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles

“Double Helix: The Rise of Film Noir and the L.A. Crime Novelists Who Created The Genre”
French cinephiles coined the term “Film Noir” in the 1950s, but the genre’s inspiration reaches back much earlier – to 1920s/30s Prohibition and Depression-era Los Angeles and early crime writers like Paul Cain, Raymond Chandler, Horace McCoy, Dorothy B. Hughes, Leigh Brackett and James M. Cain – whose novel The Postman Always Rings Twice became one of Hollywood’s most notorious films. Denise Hamilton, noir novelist and editor of the Edgar-winning Los Angeles Noir short story anthologies, discusses the genesis of film noir and the cross-pollination between Hollywood and its noir bards.
Followed by:
THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE 1946, Warner Bros., 113 min. Trailer
Lana Turner and John Garfield literally scorch the screen as a pair of murderous lovers, in director Tay Garnett’s much imitated but never-equaled dark romance, one of the high points of 1940s film noir. Based on the novel by the great James M. Cain (the title famously refers to Cain’s own postman, who would ring twice when delivering rejection notices from publishers).  Come celebrate the Egyptian’s 90th birthday with this Hollywood classic, which originally opened here in 1946!
7:30 PM Geraldine Fitzgerald Tribute Double Feature
Presented by the Warner Archive Collection. Discussion between films with Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

THREE STRANGERS 1946, WB (UCLA), 92 min. Trailer New 35mm Print!
The verities of fate are explored in this fantastic tale of three strangers (Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Geraldine Fitzgerald) whose fates entwine with a mysterious Chinese idol and a winning lottery ticket. Deeply cynical, gloriously atmospheric. Never on DVD, almost lost in 35mm, we proudly present this forgotten classic in a brand new, FNF-funded preservation print! Screenplay by John Huston and Howard Koch. Directed by Jean Negulesco. New 35mm print funded by the Film Noir Foundation.
New 35mm Print!
Geraldine Fitzgerald is at her most luminous as a innocent war widow lured into a confidence game by a shady ex-GI (John Garfield). Is it any surprise that the grifter ends up falling for his magnificent mark? Or that the betrayed gang ends up wanting them both dead? Director Jean Negulesco ladles atmospherics onto W. R. Burnett’s savvy screenplay. Featuring great supporting turns from Walter Brennan, George Coulouris, Faye Emerson, and George Tobias. New 35mm print funded by The Film Noir Foundation.
Prior to the double feature, Geraldine Fitzgerald’s son Michael Lindsay-Hogg will sign copies of his book Luck and Circumstance: A Coming of Age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyond, at 6:30PM in the Egyptian lobby.

Sunday, May 6 – 3:00 PM Matinee Double Feature
Lloyd Nolan plays a noble postman trying to save a father (Michael O’Shea) accused of killing the grumpy SOB who roughed up his young son. A deep roster of B-movie stalwarts gives life to this creaky, preachy but hugely entertaining warning about the dangers of “circumstantial evidence.” Directed by John Larkin.
SIGN OF THE RAM 1948, Columbia (Sony), 84 min. NOT ON DVD
This unusual film was fashioned as a vehicle for star Susan Peters, who plays a sociopathic, paraplegic matriarch bent on destroying her family. Peters, injured the year before in a tragic hunting accident, gives a remarkable performance – all the more haunting for the fact that her paralysis is real. John Sturges directs the quirky screenplay by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Charles Bennett (THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT).
7:30 PM Marsha Hunt Tribute Double Feature
Introduction by film noir experts Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode.
Discussion between films with special guest Marsha Hunt.

MARY RYAN, DETECTIVE 1949, Columbia (Sony), 68 min. NOT ON DVD
New 35mm Print!
We top off our B-movie marathon with a film so rare it’s not even in Maltin’s Movie Guide! Marsha Hunt plays a female police investigator who goes to prison, undercover, to help bust up a gang of jewel thieves. Directed by Abby Berlin from a script by B-veteran George Bricker, and costarring John Litel and June Vincent.
It’s CSI: Hollywood, 1942 in this ultra-rarity, as the delightful and delectable Marsha Hunt plays a police forensics expert caught between cop-chemist Van Heflin and glittery gangster Lee Bowman. Yet another in our series scripted by the great John C. Higgins, this is also the feature film debut of director Fred Zinnemann.
Please note, the Noir City postcard has the incorrect order for these films. MARY RYAN, DETECTIVE will screen first.

Noir City: Hollywood, 14th Annual Festival of Film Noir
American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Blvd ۰ Los Angeles, CA 90028
AmericanCinematheque.com ۰ NoirCity.com
Series programmed by Eddie Muller, Alan K. Rode and Gwen Deglise.

Tickets For This Series:
Double Features: $12 General, $10 Students/Seniors, $8 American Cinematheque Members. Triple Features: $15 General, $12 Students/Seniors, $10 American Cinematheque Members   No passes accepted. Please note that ticket purchase via www.fandango.com on Monday, April 23, 2012 for programs at the Egyptian Theatre will be down while we upgrade our box office operating system. On Monday, April 30, the same procedure will be done at the Aero Theatre, so online purchase through www.fandango.com will be temporarily unavailable.


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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