The Film Noir File: ‘Out of the Past,’ newly out on Blu-ray, hits TCM on Thursday

By Film Noir Blonde and Mike Wilmington

The Film Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). All movies below are from the schedule of TCM, which broadcasts them uncut and uninterrupted. The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard).

Pick of the Week:

 Robert Mitchum falls hard for Jane Greer and, baby, he doesn’t care.


Robert Mitchum falls hard for Jane Greer and, baby, he doesn’t care.

Out of the Past” (1947, Jacques Tourneur). 2 a.m. (11 p.m.). Thursday, July 24. With Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. Reviewed in FNB on Dec. 12, 2010. (See Tourneur‘s “Cat People” below, on Sunday.)

Wednesday July 23

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “Bullitt” (1968, Peter Yates). With Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn and Robert Duvall. Reviewed in FNB on Oct. 27, 2012.

10:15 p.m. (7:15 p.m.): “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948, John Huston). With Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Alfonso Bedoya and Bruce Bennett. Reviewed in FNB on Nov. 31, 2012.

12:30 a.m. (9:30 p.m.): “Belle de Jour” (1967, Luis Bunuel). With Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli, Jean Sorel and Genevieve Page. Reviewed in FNB on Aug. 8, 2013.

2:15 a.m. (11:15 p.m.): “Blowup” (1966: Michelangelo Antonioni). With David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles and The Yardbirds. Reviewed in FNB on June 19, 2014.


Thursday, July 24

2 a.m. (11 p.m.): “Out of the Past” See Pick of the Week.

Metropolis posterSaturday, July 26

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “Metropolis” (1927, Fritz Lang). With Brigitte Helm, Rudolf Klein-Rogge and Alfred Abel. Reviewed in FNB on May 29, 2014.

2:15 a.m. (11:15 p.m.): “Spider Baby” (1964, Jack Hill). An insane, incestuous, greed-crazed Southern family runs amok in a dilapidated, decaying mansion. One of the wildest and campiest of all the ’60s low-budget horror quickie noirs, with a plot that makes “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” look like “The Song of Bernadette.” Lon Chaney Jr., Sid Haig and Quinn K. Redeker costar.

Sunday, July 27

12:15 p.m. (9:15 a.m.): “The Ladykillers” (1955, Alexander Mackendrick) With Alec Guinness, Katie Johnson, Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom. Reviewed in FNB on July 31, 2013.

2 p.m. (11 a.m.): “Blackboard Jungle” (1955, Richard Brooks.) With Glenn Ford, Sidney Poitier, Anne Francis, and Vic Morrow. Reviewed in FNB on Apr. 18, 2013. In Memoriam: Paul Mazursky.

4 p.m. (1 p.m.): “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955, Nicholas Ray). With James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Dennis Hopper and Jim Backus. Reviewed in FNB on Apr. 18, 2013.

Cat People poster8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “Cat People” (1942, Jacques Tourneur). Subtle, moody, gently chilling, this low-budget RKO supernatural noir, about a foreign émigré (Simone Simon) – whose soul is coveted by a coven of cat people – is a poetic suspense movie in which the horrors are suggested rather than shown. It was the first of the legendary Val Lewton-produced literate fright classics. Scripted by DeWitt Bodeen; with Kent Smith and Tom Conway.

9:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m.): “The Curse of the Cat People” (1944, Robert Wise & Gunther von Fritsch). Producer Val Lewton’s sequel to the classic “Cat People,” with the spirit of the first film’s beautiful feline victim Simone Simon returning to bedazzle the child of her bereaved ex-husband (Kent Smith). Robert Wise’s directorial debut, and a good one. (Followed at 10:45 p.m. (7:45 p.m.), by the documentary “Martin Scorsese presents Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows.”)

12:15 a.m. (9:15 p.m.): “Pandora’s Box” (1928, G. W. Pabst). With Louise Brooks, Fritz Rasp and Francis (Franz) Lederer. (Silent German Movie with music score.) Reviewed in FNB on Nov. 3, 2012.

2:45 a.m. (11:45 p.m.): “La Haine” (1995, Mathieu Kassovitz). Stylish, stark and violent black-and white drama of French juvenile delinquency in Paris and its suburban banlieues. With Vincent Cassel, Hubert Kounde and Said Taghmaoui. (In French with subtitles.)

Wednesday, July 30

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “Detective Story” (1951, William Wyler). With Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix and Lee Grant. Reviewed in FNB on June 20, 2013.

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On the radar: James Garner remembered; Grace Kelly set released; ‘Gun Crazy’ and ‘The Lineup’ on the big screen

RIP James Garner: April 7, 1928 – July 19, 2014.

RIP James Garner: April 7, 1928 – July 19, 2014.

Who didn’t love hunky James Garner? The plain-talking, straight-shooting Oklahoma boy was best known for his roles as TV’s wry Western gambler Bret Maverick and as private eye Jim Rockford on the 1970s show “The Rockford Files.” Garner died in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 19. He was 86. TCM remembers Garner on July 28 with an all-day marathon, including 1969’s “Marlowe.” Click here to see TCM’s tribute video.

The Grace Kelly Collection box setWarner Bros. has released a divine Grace Kelly box set.  The collection includes six of  Kelly’s most popular films brought together for the first time on DVD: “Mogambo” (1953, John Ford), “Dial M for Murder” (1954, Alfred Hitchcock), “The Country Girl” (1954, George Seaton), for which she won the Best Actress Oscar, “The Bridges at Toko-Ri” (1954, Mark Robson), “To Catch a Thief” (1955, Alfred Hitchcock) and “High Society” (1956, Charles Walters).

Essential viewing for any sultry blonde or princess-type. It’s easy to dismiss Kelly as a pretty, privileged face but she was, in fact, a fine actress and a bold woman, especially in “Dial M” where she fights off her attacker.

Don’t get too excited about the special-feature interview with Pierre Salinger, conducted in 1982, just months before she died. Salinger shows a knack for asking inane questions and, though the still-lovely Kelly makes the best of it, the result is very dull viewing indeed.

The Alex Theatre in Glendale will show a “car-crazy” film noir double feature on Saturday night: “Gun Crazy” (1950, Joseph H. Lewis) and “The Lineup” (1958, Don Siegel). You can read more here.

The Film Noir Foundation’s Alan K. Rode will introduce the films.

 

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The Film Noir File: ‘Scarface’ times two makes for a gangster classic knockout

By Film Noir Blonde and Mike Wilmington

The Film Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). All movies below are from the schedule of TCM, which broadcasts them uncut and uninterrupted. The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard).

Pick of the Week:
The Two “Scarfaces“

Scarface poster 1932

The first “Scarface” came out in 1932: a ferociously violent and bloodily realistic contemporary gangster tale directed by Howard Hawks, produced by Howard Hughes, and co-scripted by Ben Hecht, W. R. Burnett and several others. Set in Chicago and loosely based on the vicious career of the country’s most famous Prohibition era mob czar, Alphonse “Al” Capone of Chicago. It starred Paul Muni as the sexy, ape-like, gun-crazy Capone protagonist, Tony Camonte, George Raft as his poker-faced, coin-flipping sidekick, Ann Dvorak as his seductive (and the object of his obsession), Karen Morley as his cynical blonde girlfriend, and Osgood Perkins (Tony’s dad) and Boris Karloff as two of the crooks he slaughters in his murderous rise to the top.

One of Hawks’ best, and one of the director’s own personal favorites, the 1932 “Scarface” was stark, brutal, tense, darkly comic, knowingly written (by ex-Chicago reporter Hecht), beautifully, stylishly and excitingly made (a visual “X” marked the spot of each of Tony’s killings) and one of the great crime films of its era. That was the time, of course, that included William Wellman‘s “The Public Enemy” with James Cagney and Mervyn LeRoy‘s “Little Caesar,” with Edward G. Robinson. Nevertheless, the Hawks-Hecht-Hughes-Muni “Scarface” — in which Hecht deliberately modeled the main characters on Renaissance Italy’s murderous Borgia family — is the masterpiece of them all.

Scarface poster 1983

The second “Scarface” was released in 1983. Rethinking the story and resetting it to the equally violent Miami drug trade and the a criminal’s odyssey from Cuba in the post-Kennedy era, it starred Al Pacino (at his most magnetic and over-the-top as the now Havana-born Tony, Steven Bauer as his gun-packing buddy, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as his perversely adored sister, Michelle Pfeiffer as his gorgeous blonde main squeeze, and, among other drug trade mobsters, F. Murray Abraham, Harris Yulin and Robert Loggia. A cult film and a big favorite of actual gang guys, it was dedicated to Hawks and Hecht by writer Oliver Stone and Director Brian De Palma. Like the other, older “Scarface,” it both rivets you to you seat and knocks you out if it. Both movies are killers, but I’d give the edge to the first.

Scarface” (1932, Howard Hawks). 12 a.m. (9 p.m.). Thursday, July 17.

Scarface” (1983, Brian De Palma). 11 p.m. (2 a.m.). Thursday, July 17. [Read more...]

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The Film Noir File: Greene, Reed make a great ‘Third Man’

By Film Noir Blonde and Mike Wilmington

The Film Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). All movies below are from the schedule of TCM, which broadcasts them uncut and uninterrupted. The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard).

Pick of the Week:
Two by Graham Greene and Carol Reed

One of the greatest of all British novelists (Graham Greene) and one of England’s finest film directors (Carol Reed) teamed up for a nonpareil collaboration that produced a classic drama about boyhood, infidelity and murder, “The Fallen Idol” and the Viennese-set postwar thriller that many critics feel is the best of all British films, “The Third Man.” You can catch them both today.

Alida Valli and Joseph Cotten star in "The Third Man."

Alida Valli and Joseph Cotten star in “The Third Man.”

The Third Man” (1949, Carol Reed). 2 p.m. (11 a.m.). Sunday, June 29. With Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Alida Valli and Trevor Howard. Read the full review here.

The Fallen Idol” (1948, Carol Reed). 10 p.m. (7 p.m.), Sunday, June 29. With Ralph Richardson, Michele Morgan, Bobby Henrey and Jack Hawkins. Reviewed in FNB on Sept. 28, 2012.

Monday, June 30

9 a.m. (6 a.m.): “Deadline at Dawn” (1946, Harold Clurman). With Susan Hayward, Paul Lukas and Bill Williams. Reviewed in FNB on June 25, 2013 and Oct. 13, 2012.

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “The Pawnbroker” (1964, Sidney Lumet). Scorching drama about a Jewish Holocaust survivor (Rod Steiger) who runs a pawn shop in Harlem, and is haunted and bedeviled by memories of the death camps, while also subject to the hell of everyday life in the modern black New York City ghetto. With Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters, Jaime Sanchez, Raymond St. Jacques, and the fantastic Juano Hernandez as the old man who wants to talk. From the novel by Edward Lewis Wallant. Searingly photographed in black and white by Boris Kaufman; with a music score by Quincy Jones.

10 p.m. (7 p.m.): “In the Heat of the Night” (1967, Norman Jewison). With Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant and Scott Wilson. Reviewed in FNB on Jan. 16, 2014.

The Italian Job poster4:15 a.m. (1:15 a.m.): “The Italian Job” (1969, Peter Collinson). Michael Caine, at his most playful, is at the wheel one of the most elaborate – and stylized and stylish – of all the neo-noir heist thrillers. Caine is an ex-con who literally shuts down Turin, Italy to steal a truckload of gold with the aid of computers, a huge gang and three red, white and blue Mini-Coopers. The supporting cast includes Noel Coward (yes, that Noel Coward), Raf Vallone, Benny Hill (yes, that Benny Hill) and Rossano Brazzi. The final heist and chase sequence is a real doozy, one of the most memorably over-the-top of all ’60s action set-pieces. The script is by cult writer Troy Kennedy Martin; the cinematographer is the peerless Douglas Slocombe.

Wednesday, July 2

5:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m.): “The Fallen Sparrow” (1943, Richard Wallace). With John Garfield, Maureen O’Hara and Walter Slezak. Reviewed in FNB on June 27, 2012.

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Film Noir File: Famous Screen Detectives Day and ‘Born to Kill’ showcases tough guy supreme Lawrence Tierney

By Film Noir Blonde and Mike Wilmington

The Film Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). All movies below are from the schedule of TCM, which broadcasts them uncut and uninterrupted. The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard).

Claire Trevor meets her match in Lawrence Tierney. The two star in "Born to Kill."

Claire Trevor meets her match in Lawrence Tierney. The two star in “Born to Kill.”


Pick of the Week:

Born to Kill” (1947, Robert Wise). 11 p.m. (8 p.m.). Wed., June 25.

Most men are turnips.

So says soigné and sassy femme fatale Helen Brent (Claire Trevor) in RKO’s “Born to Kill” from 1947, directed by Robert Wise.

Most men, perhaps, but not the homme fatale she falls for. No, strapping tough-guy Sam Wild (Lawrence Tierney) isn’t a turnip. What’s the word I’m looking for? Parsnip? Potato? I know: Psycho! And in Helen he finds his ideal match.

Read the full review in FNB, posted Nov. 7, 2012. Link coming asap!

Friday, June 20

Famous Screen Detectives Day: A day with some legendary hard-boiled (or not) film and literary sleuths, including Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe.

6 a.m. (3 a.m.): “The Thin Man” (1934, W. S. (“One Shot Woody”) Van Dyke). With William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O’Sullivan, Porter Hall and Asta. Reviewed in FNB July 28, 2012.

7:45 a.m. (4:45 a.m.): “The Maltese Falcon” (1941, John Huston). With Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Ward Bond and Elisha Cook, Jr. Reviewed in FNB on March 11, 2014.

9:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m.): “The Big Sleep” (1946, Howard Hawks, 1946). With Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Dorothy Malone and Elisha Cook, Jr.). Reviewed in FNB on May 15, 2014.

11:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m.): “Laura” (1944, Otto Preminger). With Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price and Judith Anderson. Reviewed in FNB on April 18, 2014.

1 p.m. (10 a.m.): “Murder, My Sweet” (1944, Edward Dmytryk). With Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley and Mike Mazurki. Reviewed in FNB on Feb. 15, 2012,

2:45 p.m. (11:45 a.m.): “Harper” (1966, Jack Smight). With Paul Newman, Janet Leigh, Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris, Shelley Winters, Robert Wagner and Arthur Hill. Reviewed in FNB on Dec. 4, 2012.

Saturday, June 21

1:45 p.m. (10:45 a.m.): “Ocean’s Eleven” (1960, Lewis Milestone). With Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Angie Dickinson. Reviewed in FNB on May 1, 2013.

4 p.m. (1 p.m.): “Bullitt” (1968, Peter Yates). With Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Duvall and Robert Vaughn. Reviewed in FNB on Oct. 27, 2012.

6 p.m. (3 p.m.): “Key Largo” (1948, John Huston). With Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore and Claire Trevor. Reviewed in FNB on Aug. 10, 2012.

12 a.m. (9 p.m.): “Blowup” (1966, Michelangelo Antonioni). A high-living London star photographer in the Swinging ’60s (David Hemmings) photographs a halcyon scene in a beautiful park and then discovers that he may have accidentally recorded a murder happening before his (and our) eyes. One of the great international art films of the ’60s, and a great neo-noir. The scene where Hemmings deconstructs and reassembles the murder scene in his dark room and lab is a masterpiece of editing and suspense. With Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, Jane Birkin and The Yardbirds. Based on a short story by Julio Cortazar. Music by jazzman Herbie Hancock.

Sunday, June 22

2 p.m. (11 a.m.): “The Wrong Man” (1956, Alfred Hitchcock). With Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle and Harold J. Stone. Reviewed in FNB on Nov. 17, 2012.

Monday, June 23

The Seventh Victim poster
10:45 a.m. (7:45 a.m.): “The Seventh Victim” (1943, Mark Robson). A persistent young woman (Kim Hunter) searches for her missing sister in a New York City that may literally have gone to the Devil. One of the best of the classic Val Lewton RKO low-budget horror movies. With Tom Conway and Jean Brooks.

Tuesday, June 24

1:15 a.m. (10:15 p.m.): “No Orchids for Miss Blandish” (1948, St. John Legh Clowes). With Jack La Rue and Linden Travers. Reviewed in FNB on Oct. 6, 2012.

Wednesday, June 25

Lawrence Tierney Night

One of the toughest of the film noir tough guys – as hard-boiled and rough-edged off-screen as he was on-screen – was that inimitable hard-ass hooligan Lawrence Tierney. Tierney, who had a glare that could stop a truck and a hand made for an uppercut or a gat, mostly operated in Poverty Row shows and B-movies, occasionally slipping into a glossier A-film like Duke Wayne’s “Back to Bataan,” in a supporting role.

Born to Kill poster
Tierney’s masterpiece, and a movie in which he genuinely puts your nerves in the shredder and your blood on ice is this column’s Pick of the Week, “Born to Kill” (see above) in which he plays a killer’s killer. If you think you may have seen him, but you haven’t caught any of the movies listed below, you may be recalling his inspired turn as the tough old guy running the show in Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.”

(By the way, he was not related to Gene Tierney.)

Lawrence Tierney Night starts at 8 p.m. EST (5 p.m. PST ) with his most famous role in “Dillinger” (1945, Max Nosseck), and continues (all times EST) with “Badman’s Territory” (9:15 p.m.), “Born to Kill” (11 p.m.), “The Hoodlum” (12:45 a.m.), “Step By Step” (2 a.m.), “Back to Bataan” (3:15 a.m.) and the 1946 version of “San Quentin” (5 a.m.).

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The Film Noir File: Ida Lupino Day, Dassin’s prison noir

By Film Noir Blonde and Mike Wilmington

The Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir from the schedule of Turner Classic Movies (TCM). The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard).

Ida Lupino was one of the few female moviemakers of the studio-era heyday.

Actress and director Ida Lupino was one of the few female moviemakers of the studio-era heyday.

No one could play a moll or a tough dame on screen like Ida Lupino – even though in life, she was a sophisticated British émigré from a notable theatrical family. (Her father was the famous stage and screen star Lupino Lane.)

She could look just right with a cigarette in her mouth and a highball in her hand, and she could trade quips with the best and toughest of them, including Humphrey Bogart, Robert Ryan, John Garfield, and her wry one-time husband Howard Duff.

She’s also a landmark lady in film history as one of the few female moviemakers of the studio-era heyday. In the early ’50s, Ida co-produced and directed a string of taut B noirs (“Outrage,” “The Bigamist,” “The Hitch-Hiker” and others) that were models of nervy, economical and socially probing American movie making.

Lupino tackled tough, ambitious subjects (rape, bigamy, crime) and handled them with lean expertise. Later in her career, she directed on television, where she was a mainstay helmer on the offbeat Western series “Have Gun, Will Travel” with Richard Boone.

We’ll always remember her, though, as a reigning queen of film noir.

Movies to be shown today (June 12) are: “They Drive By Night,” “High Sierra,” “The Hard Way,” “Outrage” “Beware, My Lovely,” “On Dangerous Ground” and “The Hitch-Hiker.”

The divine Burt Lancaster in "Brute Force."

The divine Burt Lancaster in “Brute Force.”

Friday, June 13

2 p.m. (11 a.m.): “The Woman on Pier 13” (1949, Robert Stevenson). With Robert Ryan, Laraine Day, John Agar and Thomas Gomez. Reviewed in FNB on April 9, 2013.

3:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m.): “Dementia 13” (1963, Francis Coppola). Stylish but tawdry little Roger Corman-produced cheapie about a murder rampage in an isolated mansion. With William Campbell (JFK mistress Judy Exner’s ex-hubby), Luana Anders and Patrick Magee.

Sunday, June 15

2 a.m. (11 p.m.): “Purple Noon” (1960, Rene Clement). With Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet and Marie Floret. (In French, with subtitles.) Reviewed in FNB on Feb. 5, 2013.

Brute Force movie poster colorTuesday, June 17

12:15 a.m. (9:15 p.m.): “Witness for the Prosecution” (1957, Billy Wilder). With Charles Laughton, Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power and Elsa Lanchester. Reviewed in FNB on Aug. 9, 2012.

Wednesday, June 18

6:45 a.m. (3:45 a.m.): “Brute Force” (1947, Jules Dassin). With Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Yvonne De Carlo, Charles Bickford and Jeff Corey. Reviewed in FNB on Aug. 15, 2013.

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Film Noir File: Beautiful young Brando blazes in ‘Waterfront’

The Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir from the schedule of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), which broadcasts them uncut and uninterrupted. The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard).

PICK OF THE WEEK

On the Waterfront
(1954, Elia Kazan). 8 p.m. (5 p.m.), Saturday, June 7.

Elia Kazan’s socially conscious film noir masterpiece “On the Waterfront” is a touchstone of the American cinema, one of those movies you never forget. This powerhouse social drama, a film loaded with heart, brains and guts, pulls you into the crime-ravaged docks of New York City in the 1950s.

Karl Malden, as the crusading priest, talks with Brando's ex-pug, Terry Malloy.

Karl Malden, as the crusading priest, talks with Brando’s ex-pug, Terry Malloy.

Shot in New Jersey and based on actual events, adapted by writer Budd Schulberg from a series of articles by Malcolm Johnson, the movie portrays an exploited band of longshoremen battling for their rights on a dock run by a corrupt union, gangsters and killers. Kazan, Schulberg and a wonderful ensemble give this story a stinging realism few other films of the ’50s can match.

In “Waterfront,” we get a ringside seat at a battle between good and evil, crime and the law. Pitted against the brutal, crooked union-boss, Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), is an idealistic, courageous priest, Father Barry (Karl Malden), and a washed-up, but eventually heroic ex-boxer, Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando).

Eva Marie Saint and Brando, gorgeously framed by cinematographer Boris Kaufman.

Eva Marie Saint and Brando, gorgeously framed by cinematographer Boris Kaufman.

Among the movie’s other indelible characters: Rod Steiger as Charlie, Terry Malloy’s fancy-dressing mouthpiece-for-the-mob brother, and Eva Marie Saint, in her Oscar-winning movie debut as Edie Doyle, whose brother was murdered by Johnny Friendly’s thugs, and with whom Terry falls in love.

“On the Waterfront” is a knockout on all levels. It has great direction (Kazan), a great tough script (Schulberg), great black-and-white photography (Boris Kaufman), great naturalistic art direction (Richard Day), a great score (Leonard Bernstein), and, most of all, that perfect ensemble cast, with the extraordinary Brando at his youthful peak.

Brando makes every one of his scenes come alive, breathe and bleed, especially when Terry cries out to his brother Charlie (Steiger): “You don’t understand! I coulda had class! I coulda been a contender! I coulda been somebody! Instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

We’ll always remember that electrifying confession of failure and pain in the back of that cab, coming from the young brilliant actor playing the gentle-hearted, beaten-down ex-pug. He moves us so deeply because he was more than a contender; he was the champ. He had more than class; he had genius. He was more than somebody. He was Brando.

You can watch “On the Waterfront” on TCM of course. But if you’re lucky enough to be in Los Angeles this weekend, you can see the film on the big screen at 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 6, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Appearing on stage at that showing, to discuss the movie, will be one of its eight Oscar-winners, Eva Marie Saint.

Thursday, June 5

10 p.m. (7 p.m.): “The Tarnished Angels” (1957, Douglas Sirk).

Dorothy Malone stars as a restless wife; Rock Hudson plays a roving reporter.

Dorothy Malone stars as a restless wife; Rock Hudson plays a roving reporter.

The setting: New Orleans at Mardi Gras. The source: William Faulkner’s novel “Pylon.” Scripted by George Zuckerman, who also penned Sirk’s “Written on the Wind” (1956).

The stars (who also played in “Wind”): Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone are a married couple; Rock Hudson is Burke Devlin, a drunken newspaper reporter at the Times-Picayune, who becomes enamored of them both.

With compassion and high style, “Tarnished Angels” focuses on life’s fringes and the ironies of heroism. Brilliantly shot by Irving Glassberg (who also shot Sirk’s “Captain Lightfoot”), it’s one of the best-looking black-and-white/widescreen movies of its era, a dark gem of noir style.

The one flaw is Hudson’s mostly un-drunk Devlin. But it’s not his fault; Hudson began the movie playing Devlin as soused, but Universal, fearful of harm to their big star’s image, ordered him to play it sober.

The film is a classic anyway. It was Sirk’s favorite of the films he directed and Faulkner preferred it to all the other movies made from his work, even the acknowledged 1949 classic “Intruder in the Dust.” Faulkner, no stranger to booze himself, even liked Hudson’s cold-sober Devlin.

Saturday, June 7

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “On the Waterfront” (1954, Elia Kazan). See Pick of the Week.

10 p.m. (7 p.m.): “Rumble on the Docks” (1956, Fred F. Sears). A poor man’s mash-up of “On the Waterfront” and “Crime in the Streets,“ with rebel rocker James Darren (“Gidget”), Laurie Carroll and Robert Blake.

11:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.): “The Mob” (1951, Robert Parrish). Broderick Crawford is an undercover cop, playing a bad guy to infiltrate a poisonous waterfront mob. The Mob includes Richard Kiley, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson and Neville Brand. Lesser known, but a good noir.

Sunday, June 8

Notorious movie poster6 p.m. (3 p.m.): “Notorious” (1946, Alfred Hitchcock). With Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains and Louis Calhern. Reviewed in FNB on Feb. 12, 2013 and Feb. 20, 2012.

Tuesday June 10

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “The Woman in the Window” (1944, Fritz Lang). With Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey and Dan Duryea. Reviewed in FNB on Nov. 24, 2011.

10 p.m. (7. P.m.): “Scarlet Street” (1945, Fritz Lang). With Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea. Reviewed in FNB on Nov. 24, 2011.

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Eva Marie Saint to appear at 60th anniversary screening of ‘On the Waterfront’

Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint both won Oscars for their work.

Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint both won Oscars for their work.

Think of “On the Waterfront” (1954, Elia Kazan) and, most times, Marlon Brando springs to mind, with his famous line: “I coulda been a contender.”

But don’t forget that behind the great Brando was a great blonde: Eva Marie Saint, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work. Her award was one eight wins for the film: Picture, Director, Editing, Actor, Writing (Story and Screenplay), B&W Art Direction/Set Decoration, B&W Cinematography.

With its expressionistic black and white visuals, and its story of crime in the lower depths of New York City, “On the Waterfront” more than qualifies as film noir.

On Friday, June 6, the Academy and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) is presenting a special screening in honor of the film’s 60th birthday at the museum’s Bing Theater. Eva Marie Saint will make an appearance. We at FNB are looking forward to hearing about her memories of making the flick.

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Film noir genius Fritz Lang’s work honored at the Aero

Fritz Lang was said to be tough on actors. You vere expecting othervise?

Fritz Lang was said to be tough on actors. You vere expecting othervise?

“In my opinion, there were only two directors in Hollywood who made films without regard to box-office success: Erich Von Stroheim and myself.”

So said Vienna-born noir master Fritz Lang (1890-1976). Lang came to Tinseltown in the mid-1930s after training as a painter, making landmark movies (“Metropolis” and “M”), and turning down an offer from Joseph Goebbels to head the German film studio UFA. In sunny California, the purveyor of angst and gloom snagged a contract with MGM.

For the next two decades, Lang, who was often difficult and demanding, directed many films with A-list stars for various studios, but never earned the acclaim he deserved. His career fizzled and he headed to Germany in the late 1950s to direct his final three movies, none of which resurrected his professional standing.

His work, however, was championed by Cahiers du cinéma critics and is highly regarded today. You can indulge in your own little Lang-fest starting Thursday when the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica starts Master of Darkness: The Testaments of Fritz Lang with “Scarlet Street” and “Hangmen Also Die!”

This delightfully dark series is must-see viewing for fans of film noir!

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The Film Noir File: A Day with Fritz Lang, Der Noirmeister

By Film Noir Blonde and Mike Wilmington

The Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir from the schedule of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), which broadcasts them uncut and uninterrupted. The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard).

PICK OF THE WEEK: Friday, May 30: A Day of Noir with Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang lived in a world of nightmares: in 20th century Germany during World War I, the economic collapse of the Weimar Republic, the turbulent sturm und drang of the 1930s, the murderous rise of the Nazis and the subsequent conflagration of WWII.

Lang created cinematic nightmares as well: crafting terrifying frescoes and mad (but sometimes all too true) visions of a world of crime and war. His movies, mostly done in the ultra-noir hues of high-style black and white cinematography, spanned the silent era, when he made “Metropolis,” “Die Nibelungen” and the “Dr. Mabuse” thrillers, and the sound era, when he made “M,” “Fury,” “Scarlet Street” and “The Big Heat.”

Fritz Lang was a noir master.

Fritz Lang was a noir master.

Lang, who started his artistic career as a sculptor, was equally great as a director of German art films and of American crime movies. He made cinematic classics in both countries. His early collaborator, and also his wife, was the brilliant scriptwriter Thea Von HarbouM”), who ended up leaving him and joining the Nazi Party.

Lang managed to elude Fascist censorship and was once offered the leadership of the entire German film industry by Joseph Goebbels, who (like Hitler) was an admirer of Lang and Von Harbou’s spectacular science fiction epic “Metropolis.” (See below.) A leftist and anti-Nazi, and also a man who had Jewish relatives, Lang fled Germany and Europe instead, and wound up one of the top directors of the Hollywood studio system during its heyday. He was also, indisputably, one of the reigning masters of the movie style we call film noir.

Young French critic-directors (Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol) idolized Lang, as much for his American films as his German ones. Finally, in the mid-1950s, he returned to Germany. He made a last few German pictures, and co-starred, as himself. in Jean-Luc Godard’s French classic ”Contempt.”

Fritz Lang, born in Vienna in 1890,  died in Los Angeles in 1976, at age 85. Eight of his best pictures are screening on TCM this Friday.

(The Lang films without notes below have been reviewed previously in Film Noir Blonde. Next week, starting Thursday, seven Lang films will play on the big screen at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.)

“Scarlet Street” (1945) stars Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett.

“Scarlet Street” (1945) stars Edward G. Robinson (center) and Joan Bennett.

6 a.m. (3 a.m.): “Metropolis” (1927, Fritz Lang). The rich vs. the poor, the factory owners vs. the workers, and the mad scientist vs. the people and their heroine (Brigitte Helm as the human Maria and her double, the false robot Maria) in the greatest of all silent era science fiction epics. And it’s noir as well. With  Alfred Abel and Rudolf-Klein-Rogge).

7:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m.): “M” (1931). With Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke and Gustaf Grundgens.

9:15 a.m. (6:15 a.m.): “Fury” (1936). Spencer Tracy, Sylvia Sidney, Bruce Cabot, Walter Brennan and Walter Abel.

11 a.m. (8 a.m.). “Scarlet Street” (1945). With Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea.

1 p.m. (10 a.m.). “Clash by Night” (1952). With Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan, Paul Douglas and Marilyn Monroe.

3 p.m. (12 p.m.). “The Blue Gardenia” (1953). With Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Raymond Burr, Ann Sothern and Nat King Cole.

4:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m.). “Moonfleet” (1955). A moody Robert Louis Stevenson-style costume adventure-romance, about a dashing pirate (Stewart Granger) who wins the hearts of a young lad (Jon Whiteley) and several beautiful and susceptible ladies (Viveca Lindfors, Joan Greenwood). Based on a bodice-heaving bestseller, with supporting turns by George Sanders and Ian Wolfe. They especially loved this one in “Cahiers du Cinema.”

6:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m.). “”While the City Sleeps” (1956). With Dana Andrews, Ida Lupino, George Sanders, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Howard Duff, Rhonda Fleming and John Drew Barrymore. [Read more...]

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