Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka
NOIR CITY celebrates its 10th anniversary as the world’s most popular film noir festival with a 10-day extravaganza featuring San Francisco treats, a Dashiell Hammett marathon, freshly preserved 35mm rarities, by-popular-demand encore screenings, surprises galore, and super special guest star Angie Dickinson. The festival runs January 20th through the 29th and promises to be the darkest and most delirious incarnation yet of San Francisco’s own NOIR CITY.
Among the rarities being presented this year: a brand new 35mm print of 1949′s The Great Gatsby, starring Alan Ladd as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary lovelorn hero. The film has been buried for decades, but producer Eddie Muller’s perseverance convinced Universal Pictures to strike a preservation print for NOIR CITY. The studio also is providing a brand new 35mm print of 1954′s Naked Alibi, starring noir’s favorite bad girl, Gloria Grahame. The Film Noir Foundation has also funded a new 35mm preservation of the “lost” 1946 classic Three Strangers, which had no viewable prints and has never been released on DVD. NOIR CITY is also proud to have been chosen to premiere the Film Foundation’s recently completed preservation of the superb 1950 Michael Curtiz film The Breaking Point, starring John Garfield.
NAKED ALIBI – Gloria Grahame as the border town girl, “Marianna”
FRIDAY, January 20th
DARK PASSAGE – 1947, Warner Bros. 106 min.
This year’s festival opens with Bogart and Bacall’s darkest duet, a bizarre ramble through nocturnal 1940′s San Francisco, as an escaped con pursues the real culprit in his wife’s murder. Startling use of the subjective-eye camera focuses on the mid-20th century city in all its noir glory. A 10th anniversary encore of NOIR CITY’s inaugural Opening Night film. Screenplay and direction by Delmer Daves, based on the novel by David Goodis.
THE HOUSE ON TELEGRAPH HILL – 1951, 20th Century-Fox, 93 min.
A WWII concentration camp survivor (Valentina Cortese) trades identities with a doomed camp-mate and winds up living a luxurious lie in a mysterious mansion above North Beach. Her romantic attachments soon turn suspicious, sinister, and deadly. A classic “woman in jeopardy” thriller, shot entirely on location in the city, and a time capsule of postwar San Francisco. Screenplay by Elich Moll & Frank Partos, from a novel by Dana Lyon. Directed by Robert Wise.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Friday, 1/20
SATURDAY, January 21st – Matinees
OKAY, AMERICA – 1932, Universal, 78 min.
1:00, 4:00 PM Matinee
A hugely popular radio “columnist” (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.
LEW AYRES – as “Larry Wayne”
AFRAID TO TALK – aka THE MERRY GO-ROUND
1932, Universal, 69 min.
2:40 PM Matinee
Gansgters and politicians, worried their allegiances will be revealed, conspire to destroy an 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 cast, headed by Louis Calhern and Edward Arnold. Screenplay by Albert Maltz and George Sklar, based on their play. Directed by Edward L. Cahn.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Saturday, January 21st Matinees
SATURDAY, January 21st – Evening
In Person – Angie Dickinson
Interviewed onstage by Eddie Muller between films.
THE KILLERS – 1964, Universal, 93 min.
This hard-hitting remake of Mark Hellinger’s 1946 noir classic was intended as the first “made for TV” feature film, until network execs balked at the film’s amorality and casual brutality. Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager play hit-men obsessed with discovering why their victim (John Cassavetes) accepted his death. The blood-spattered hunt leads through femme fatale Angie Dickinson to … Ronald Reagan! Screenplay by Gene L. Coon, based on the Hemingway short story. Directed by Don Siegel.
ANGIE DICKINSON – LEE MARVIN
POINT BLANK – 1967, MGM/UA, 92 min.
A taciturn hitman is double-crossed and left for dead on Alcatraz. But soon he’s relentlessly stalking his betrayers … or is he? One of the most stylish, inventive, and enigmatic films of the ’60s, Point Blank is the high-water mark of existentialist crime cinema, and the greatest of Lee Marvin’s memorable tough guy performances. Costarring Angie Dickinson at her sexiest! Screenplay by Alexander Jacobs, David & Rafe Newhouse. Directed by John Boorman.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Saturday, January 21st Evening
SUNDAY, January 22nd —Tribute to Writer Vera Caspary
LAURA – 1944, 20th Century-Fox, 88 min.
3:00, 5:00, 9:00 PM
The most celebrated movie mystery of all time is, as a bonus, one of the most elegantly perverse films ever produced. Caspary’s story, about a detective (Dana Andrews) who falls in love with a murder victim (Gene Tierney), becomes a lustrous banquet of great performances, direction, Oscar-winning cinematography, and one unforgettable theme song. Utterly mesmerizing. Screenplay by Jay Dratler, based on the Vera Caspary novel. Directed by Otto Preminger.
$10 double feature shows start at 5:00 and 7:00 PM
DANA ANDREWS — MARGARET LOCKWOOD
BEDELIA – 1946, General Film Distributors | BFI, 90 min.
Caspary’s much-anticipated follow-up to Laura is hardly known, as the author’s bitterness toward Hollywood led her to make the film in England. Margaret Lockwood, queen of British femme fatales, stars as a beguiling woman whom men will literally die for. The rare 35mm print of this neglected gem comes courtesy of the British Film Institute. Screenplay by Vera Caspary, Herbert Victor, Isadore Goldsmith. Directed by Lance Comfort.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Sunday, January 22nd
MONDAY, January 23rd
GILDA – 1946, Columbia, 110 min.
Rita Hayworth created her Hollywood “Love Goddess” legend in this tailor-made romantic drama, first of several sex-charged pairings with costar Glenn Ford. The film’s amazing sexual symbolism slipped past the censors (and most viewers) at the time; today the film is regarded as one of the greatest examples of a director “working around” the Production Code. Screenplay by Marion Parsonnet; adaptation by Jo Eisinger; story by E.A. Ellington. Directed by Charles Vidor.
THE MONEY TRAP – 1965, MGM/WB, 91 min.
Twenty years after steaming up the screen in Gilda, Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth were reunited, poignantly, in this ’60s-style homage to old-school film noir. Director Burt Kennedy gives a hard, jazzy edge to the proceedings, winking toward the film’s 1940′s roots, while giving the full ’60s-style sex-bomb treatment to costar Elke Sommer. Screenplay by Walter Bernstein, from the novel by Lionel White.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Monday, January 23rd
RITA HAYWORTH — LINDA DARNELL
TUESDAY, January 24th
UNFAITHFULLY YOURS – 1948, 20th Century-Fox, 105 min.
As film noir swept over late ’40s Hollywood, Preston Sturges created the full-length first parody of the style with this mordantly hilarious tale of a jealous orchestra conductor (Rex Harrison) envisioning plots to murder his supposedly unfaithful wife (Linda Darnell). Turning The Postman Always Rings Twice into uproarious comedy takes only a few tweaks and twists for this brilliant and genuine auteur. Written and directed by Preston Sturges.
THE GOOD HUMOR MAN – 1950, Columbia [Sony], 80 min.
Jack Carson stars as a driver for the Good Humor Ice Cream Company, in over his head when he tries to save a gal-pal from gangsters and ends up accused of murder. A typical thriller from ace noir scribe Roy (The Fugitive) Huggins—except the final screenplay is by comedy genius Frank Tashlin, whose hilariously inspired high-jinks play havoc with film noir conventions. Costarring Lola Albright, Jean Wallace, and George “Superman” Reeves. Directed by Lloyd Bacon.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Tuesday, January 24th
WEDNESDAY, January 25th
HOUSE OF BAMBOO – 1955, 20th Century-Fox, 104 min.
An military investigator (Robert Stack) infiltrates a gang of American ex-GIs (led by menacing and sexually ambiguous Robert Ryan) muscling in on the Japan’s Yakuza underworld. Fuller’s re-do of Fox’s The Street With No Name is a visual spectacle, with stunning Technicolor and Cinemascope giving extra dimension to the director’s singularly no-holds-barred style. Re-written and directed by Samuel Fuller, from Harry Kleiner’s original screenplay.
UNDERWORLD USA – 1961, Columbia [Sony], 99 min.
Young Tolly Devlin witnesses a trio of hoodlums murder his father’s murder. As an adult ex-con, Devlin (Cliff Robertson) dedicates himself to exterminating the three culprits—now big-shot crime figures. One of Fuller’s punchiest smash-mouth crime dramas, presenting the war between the law and organized crime as backdrop for a searing personal vendetta. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Wednesday, January 25th
HOUSE OF BAMBOO – PICKUP
THURSDAY, January 26th
NAKED ALIBI – 1954, Universal, 86 min.
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 border town 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 & Robert Bren. Directed by Jerry Hopper. Brand New 35mm Print!
PICKUP – 1951, Columbia [Sony] 78 min.
A simple but supremely smarmy slice of sleaze from 1950′s sex-noir auteur Hugo Haas. He plays (as usual) an older man in thrall to a young hottie who spends all her time trying to murder him for what little money he has. A timeless tale, made unforgettable by the Amazon in the bullet-bra, slinging sass for all she’s worth—Beverly (Wicked Woman) Michaels! Screenplay and direction by Hugo Haas, from a novel by Josef Kopta.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Thursday, January 26th
FRIDAY, January 27th
THIEVES’ HIGHWAY – 1949, 20th Century-Fox, 94 min.
One of NOIR CITY’s perennial favorites, presented in a pristine 35mm print! WWII vet Richard Conte drives to San Francisco to sell a load of apples—and get revenge on the crooked broker (Lee J. Cobb) who crippled his father. Shot on-location in the city’s once-thriving Embarcadero produce district, and featuring a terrific performance by Valentina Cortese. Screenplay by A. I. Bezzerides, from his novel Thieves’ Market. Directed by Jules Dassin.
THE BREAKING POINT – 1950, WB/UCLA, 97 min.
John Garfield gives perhaps his greatest performance as world-weary fishing boat skipper Harry Morgan in this superb and darkly noir adaptation of Hemingway’s “To Have and Have Not,” one of the best, if unjustly neglected, films of the noir era. Preservation funding provided by Warner Bros. in association with The Film Foundation and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Screenplay by Ranald MacDougall, from the Hemingway novel. Directed by Michael Curtiz.. Preserved 35mm Print!
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Friday, January 27th
THE GREAT GATSBY – Alan Ladd as “Jay Gatsby”
SATURDAY, January 28th
THE GREAT GATSBY – 1949, Paramount [Universal], 91 min.
3:00, 7:00 PM
Resurrected at long last! This version of F. Scott Firzgerald’s classic novel has been buried for decades, to make way for remakes. Thanks to our friends at Universal Pictures, Alan Ladd’s noir-styled take on the timeless tale of shady success and unrequited love is again available, in a brand new print made exclusively for NOIR CITY! Screenplay by Cyril Hume & Richard Maibaum, from a play by Owen Davis, based on Fitzgerald’s novel. Directed by Elliott Nugent. Preserved 35mm print!
$10 double feature shows start at 1:00 and 3:00 PM
THREE STRANGERS – 1946, Warner Bros., 92 min.
1:00, 5:00, 9:00
Noir strays into the supernatural realm in this fantastic tale of three strangers (Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and 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.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Saturday, January 28th
SUNDAY, January 29th — ALL-DAY DASHIELL HAMMETT MARATHON
ROADHOUSE NIGHTS – 1930, Paramount [Universal], 68 min.
This ultra-rare film—the first based on a Hammett book—is nominally taken from the author’s classic gang-war novel Red Harvest, which proved too brutal and cynical even for pre-Code Hollywood. What’s left is a merrily fun action-comedy starring Helen Morgan, Charles Ruggles, and Jimmy Durante. Screenplay by Garrett Fort; story by Ben Hecht, from the Hammett novel Red Harvest. Directed by Hobert Henley.
THE MALTESE FALCON – 1931, Warner Bros., 80 min.
No Humphrey Bogart here! This is the first cinematic version, produced the year after 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 – 1932, Paramount [UCLA], 83 min.
Gary Cooper plays a carny sharpshooter who goes crooked in order to free his love (Sylvia Sidney) from prison. The only story Hammett wrote specifically for the screen, it is brilliantly realized by director Rouben Mamoulian and legendary cameraman Lee Garmes. Restored print courtesy UCLA Film & Television Archive. Screenplay by Oliver H. P. Garrett, adapted by Max Marcin, from a story by Dashiell Hammett.
MR. DYNAMITE – 1935, Universal, 67 min.
Originally conceived as a second “Sam Spade” novel, Mr. Dynamite would end up being the most rarely-seen of all films based on the author’s work. Edmund Lowe stars as a disreputable private dick hired by a gambler to solve a murder within the casino. Archival print courtesy of Universal Pictures! Screenplay by Doris Malloy & Harry Clork, from a story by Dashiell Hammett. Directed by Alan Crosland.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Sunday Matineee, 1/29
GARY COOPER — VERONICA LAKE
HAMMETT MARATHON, Continues:
THE GLASS KEY – 1942, Paramount/Universal, 85 min.
Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake add glamorous sex appeal to Hammett’s gritty and influential behind-the-scenes tale of the dirty work that goes on in big city politics. Director Stuart Heisler is at his rapid-fire best, eliciting terrific support from dashing Brian Donlevy and thuggish William Bendix. Screenplay by Jonathan Latimer, from the novel by Dashiell Hammett.
THE MALTESE FALCON – 1941, Warner Bros., 100 min.
NOIR CITY’s 10th Anniversary celebration closes in the proper and righteous way: with an encore screening of the definitive film version of the most influential work of crime fiction ever written … “The stuff that dreams (and a million imitations) are made of.” With legendary performances from Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and S.F.’s own Elisha Cook, Jr. Written and directed by John Huston, from the novel by Dashiell Hammett. Perhaps your last chance to see it in glorious 35mm on a massive movie screen!
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Sunday Evening, 1/29
RICARDO CORTEZ — BEBE DANIELS
As an added 10th anniversary attraction, this year’s festival also features the live event Everyone Comes to Eddie’s: The NOIR CITY Nightclub, a nocturnal celebration of noir style, presented Saturday night, January 28th, at the Swedish-American Hall, 2174 Market Street—converted for one night into a sleek and slightly sinister 1940′s era nightspot. Entertainment will include the sensational song stylings of the city’s own Mr. Lucky, classic torch-song temptress Laura Ellis, internationally renowned burlesque queen Evie Lovelle, and Kansas City’s cutting-edge noir-rockers, The Latenight Callers. Revelers can party like it’s 1949! NOIR CITY Nightclub tickets priced separately. Click here for more information: NOIR CITY
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