Monday, May 14, 2007

Noir City Meets Rain City


"If you want to study noir's existential deconstruction of the Judeo-Christian patriarchy- good for you. If you're coming to dig the vintage rides and vinegary repartee, to soak up the shadows and wallow in the wanton behavior- take a seat front and center."
Eddie Muller

The rumors are true. SIFF's new senior programmer Anita Monga and Film Noir Foundation founder and president Eddie Muller are bringing San Francisco's film noir festival, Noir City, to Seattle. SIFF and the Film Noir Foundation are going to be presenting Noir City as an annual event. The inaugural series will be July 6-12, 2007 and be held in the newly constructed SIFF Cinema at the Seattle Center. Ticket prices are $10 per double feature. Eddie Muller will be in attendance to introduce many of the programs. To get a taste of the programming, you can see Mr. Muller present two noir classics during SIFF, The Big Combo, June 11th at 7:00 p.m. and The Damned Don't Cry also on June 11th at 9:15 p.m. For more information go to:

The line up for Seattle's Noir City looks fantastic and provides the opportunity to see several rare noirs that are not available on VHS or DVD, Desert Fury, 99 River Street (my favorite film from Noir City 5), Framed, I Love Trouble (brand new 35mm print struck for Noir City), Pushover and Wicked Woman as well as studio 35mm prints of great, and better known, noirs like Thieves' Highway, Nightmare Alley and Scarlet Street. Best of all, the festival will benefit the Film Noir Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the uniquely American art form of film noir. The foundation's mission is to locate, restore and preserve films in danger of being permanently damaged or lost completely and to have high quality prints of these films available for theatrical screenings. Screenings of the recently restored prints of Pitfall and Leave Her To Heaven at Noir City, should illustrate why the foundation's work is so vital. For more information on the Film Noir Foundation go to:

Program notes follow, courtesy of Noir City and SIFF:
Friday, July 6
Thieves' Highway
Most of the action in this vastly underrated film takes place in the dead of night, when San Francisco's old Produce Market (think Pike Place, now the high-rise Embarcadero Center) was at its busiest. A vengeful trucker arrives to settle a family score with a crooked produce broker. This rarely screened gem, recently restored by Fox, is every bit as good as director Jules Dassin's classics Naked City and Night and the City. Script by A.I. Bezzerides. With Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb. (1949, 20th Century Fox) 94 min. 35mm print courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Deadline at Dawn
Snarling, sexy Susan Hayward plays a taxi dancer who has until sunrise to help a sad-sack sailor clear himself of an impending murder charge. A classic Cornell Woolrich premise is given a liberal spin by writer Clifford Odets and Group Theatre founder Harold Clurman, directing the only film of his career. With Bill Williams, Paul Lukas. (1946, RKO) 73 min. 35mm print courtesy of Warner Bros.
Saturday, July 7
2:00, 5:20, 9:00
From the urban grit of Woman on the Run, we spiral into the suburban angst of sunny Southern California, where insurance agent Dick Powell indulges in an extra-marital dalliance with hard-luck model Liz Scott. Who will make him pay the price for his indiscretion? The thuggish private eye (Raymond Burr) who already has designs on Liz? Her jealous boyfriend, about to be sprung from prison? Or Dick's steel-spined wife? Who'll survive this guilt-sodden affair? Directed by André de Toth. (United Artists, 1948) 86 min. Presented in a beautiful, restored print from the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
Woman on the Run
3:45, 7:10
Part thriller, part poignant love story, this rare film had long been thought lost. When, with a bit of detective work, a pristine print was found languishing in the vault at Universal Studios, the idea for the Film Noir Foundation was born! Ann Sheridan is a fearful wife who teams with crusading reporter Dennis O'Keefe to locate her missing husband -- the lone witness to a murder -- before the killer finds him. Director Norman Foster, an Orson Welles collaborator, concocts his own exciting climax at once-thriving Playland at the Beach in San Francisco. (1950, Universal-International) 77 min. 35mm print courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Sunday, July 8
Desert Fury
1:00, 5:05, 9:10
RARITY!!! Never on VHS or DVD!
We're not sure how to classify this movie, except that it's outrageously gay. Will luscious Lizabeth Scott tear apart the special bond shared by gangsters John Hodiak and Wendell Corey? Is Mary Astor really her Mom? Just how clueless is beefcake Burt Lancaster? Must be seen to be disbelieved! Directed by Lewis Allen with script by A.I. Bezzerides and Robert Rossen. (1947, Paramount) 96 min. 35mm print courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Leave Her to Heaven
3:00, 7:00
Don't let the lush Technicolor gloss fool you -- this big-budged melodrama is black at the core, as perverse and malignant as it got in the 1940s. Novelist Cornell Wilde falls for gorgeous Gene Tierney, but has no idea what horrors lurk behind those gleaming emerald eyes. (1946, 20th Century Fox) 111 min. Presented in a glorious new restoration by 20th Century Fox and the Academy Film Archive together with Martin Scorsese's The Film Foundation, print courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Monday, July 9
99 River Street
RARITY!!! Never on VHS or DVD!
John Payne is a washed-up boxer framed for the murder of his wife. Evelyn Keyes is his sexy gal-pal, using all her wiles to bust the set-up. A damn near perfect 1950s crime saga, perhaps the signature film of director Phil Karlson. Script by Robert Smith. (1953, United Artists) 83 min. 35mm print courtesy MGM/UA.
RARITY!!! Never on VHS or DVD!
Glenn Ford plays the pugnacious patsy in a whip-crack tale of infidelity and murder set in Northern California. Janis Carter is one long, tall sexy drink of arsenic. Directed by Richard Wallace. Script by Ben Maddow (The Asphalt Jungle). With Barry Sullivan, Karen Morley. (1947, Columbia) 82 min. 35mm print courtesy Sony Pictures Repertory.
Tuesday, July 10
I Love Trouble
RARITY!!! Never on VHS or DVD!
Franchot Tone plays a wisecracking private eye sleuthing his way through a bevy of treacherous dames in this playful homage to Raymond Chandler, written by future TV legend Roy Huggins (77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, The Fugitive) Dir. Sylvan Simon. With Janet Blair, Janis Carter, Adele Jergens, Glenda Farrell, John Ireland, Raymond Burr. (1948, Columbia) 93 min. Brand new 35mm print struck expressly for Noir City, courtesy Sony Pictures Repertory.
RARITY!!! Never on VHS or DVD!
In this dark thriller, veteran screenwriter Roy Huggins spins the tale of cop (Fred MacMurray) who risks everything when he falls for a gangster's moll -- gorgeous Kim Novak in her movie debut. Directed by Richard Quine. From the novel by Bill Ballinger. With Philip Carey. (1954, Columbia) 88 min. 35mm print courtesy of Sony Pictures Repertory.
Wednesday, July 11
The Spiritualist
John Alton's finest B&W cinematography elevates to exhilarating heights this entertaining story of a phony psychic (Terhan Bey) preying on a wealthy widow (Lynn Bari) and her impressionable daughter (Cathy O'Donnell). One of the most satisfying "B" films of the era. Directed by Bernard Vorhaus. Script by Muriel Bolton & Ian Hunter based on a story by Crane Wilbur. (1948, Eagle-Lion) 78 min. New 35mm print courtesy of Sony Pictures Repertory.
Nightmare Alley
One of the bleakest and most audacious "A" pictures ever to emerge from Hollywood. Tyrone Power has his finest role as a carny roustabout who connives his way to the big-time as a "mentalist." But when he drops his gullible wife and partner (Coleen Gray) for a sinister, scheming shrink (Helen Walker) there's hell to pay. Edmund Goulding directed. (1947, 20th Century Fox) 110 min. 35mm print courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Thursday, July 12
Scarlet Street
This definitive noir is one of the greatest films Fritz Lang ever made. Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, and Dan Duryea all excel in this tale of a mid-life crisis that goes tragically wrong. Script by Dudley Nichols. (1945, Universal) 103 min. Presented in an absolutely stunning 35mm archival print courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Wicked Woman
RARITY!!! Never on VHS or DVD!
When a stick of female dynamite (cult favorite Beverly Michaels) steps off the bus in a small town, all hell breaks loose. Richard Egan and Percy Helton are only two of the saps in her thrall. Must be seen to be believed! (1953, United Artists) 77 min. Written and directed by Russell Rouse. 35mm print courtesy of MGM/UA.
Check out my articles on Noir City 5 (San Francisco, February 2007):
For more information on San Francisco's 2007 Noir City programming go to:


  1. Oops! Annie Wagner helpfully posted this a day after I initially asked about it. Dang! Sorry, Annie, credit's due where it's due - I cut Slog off my daily blogtrawl due to volume, with regret, so I missed your post.