Film Noir File: Go deeper into depravity with the second month of TCM’s Summer of Darkness

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). The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard). All films without a new review have been covered previously in Film Noir Blonde and can be searched in the FNB archives (at right).

Pick of the Week: Summer of Darkness Chapter 5

Rita Hayworth went blonde for “The Lady from Shanghai.”

Rita Hayworth went blonde for “The Lady from Shanghai.”

Each Friday, throughout July, running from dawn to dusk and back again, TCM is whistling up practically every classic film noir you can think of. Curated and hosted by the Czar of Noir himself, Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation and the Noir City film festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and other big bad towns where people prowl around after midnight, TCM’s Summer of Darkness is one festival of classic dreams and nightmares you won’t want to miss.

Friday, July 3

6 a.m. (3 a.m.): “Johnny Belinda” (Jean Negulesco, 1946).

8 a.m. (5 a.m.): “Key Largo” (John Huston, 1948). Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson are pitted against each other in this tense adaptation of the Maxwell Anderson play. Bogie is a WW2 vet held hostage (along with Lauren Bacall and Lionel Barrymore) during a tropical storm by brutal mobster Robinson and his gang. Claire Trevor, as a fading chanteuse, won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

10 a.m. (7 a.m.): “The Lady from Shanghai” (Orson Welles, 1948).

11:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m.): “The Bribe” (Robert Z. Leonard, 1949). Cabaret torcher Ava Gardner pours it on for cop Robert Taylor, Charles Laughton and Vincent Price. A lot of footage from this lesser-known black-and-white romantic suspenser wound up in Steve Martin and Carl Reiner’s film noir parody “Dead Men Don‘t Wear Plaid.”

1:15 a.m. (10:15 a.m.): “Scene of the Crime” (Roy Rowland, 1949). Van Johnson and Arlene Dahl in a sexy mystery thriller.

They Live by Night poster

3 p.m. (12 p.m.): “They Live by Night” (Nicholas Ray, 1949).

4:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m.): “The Threat” (Felix Feist, 1949). Charles McGraw takes a con’s revenge.

6 p.m. (3 p.m.): “White Heat” (Raoul Walsh, 1949). “Top of the world, Ma!” James Cagney screams, in one of the all-time great noir performances and last scenes. Cagney’s character is Cody Jarrett, a psycho gun-crazy gangster with a mother complex.

Edmond O’Brien is the undercover cop in Cody’s gang, Virginia Mayo is Cody’s faithless wife, and Margaret Wycherly is Ma. One of the true noir masterpieces.

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “The Big Clock” (John Farrow, 1948).

9:45 p.m. (6:45 p.m.): “The Window” (Ted Tetzlaff, 1949).

11:15 p.m. (8:15 p.m.): “Shadow on the Wall” (Pat Jackson, 1950). A sensitive child (Gigi Perreau) thinks she’s a witness to a family slaying. With Zachary Scott.

12:45 a.m. (9:45 a.m.): “High Wall” (Curtis Bernhardt, 1947). Murder and psychiatry, with Robert Taylor and Audrey Totter.

2:30 a.m. (11:30 p.m.): “The Long Goodbye” (Robert Altman, 1973).

4:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m.): “Marlowe” (Paul Bogart, 1969).

Sunday, July 5

10 a.m. (7 a.m.): “The Band Wagon” (Vincente Minnelli, 1953). With a brilliant dance parody of Mickey Spillane with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Also on at 4:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m.) on Wednesday, July 8.

West Side Story poster

5:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m.): “West Side Story” (Robert Wise, 1961).

Monday, July 6

6:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m.): “Pete Kelly’s Blues” (Jack Webb, 1955).

Tuesday, July 7

8:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m.): “Doctor X” (Michael Curtiz, 1932).

10 a.m. (7 a.m.): “Mystery of the Wax Museum” (Michael Curtiz, 1933).

Thursday, July 9

8:15 a.m. (5:15 a.m.): “Finger of Guilt” (“The Intimate Stranger“) (Joseph Losey, 1956). A blackmail thriller about a persecuted director (Richard Basehart), set in the world of British studio filmmaking, and directed (under the pseudonym “Joseph Walton“), by blacklist victim Losey.

10 a.m. (7 a.m.): “Time Without Pity” (Joseph Losey, 1957).

11:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m.): “Dead of Night” (Alberto Cavalcanti, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer, Charles Crichton, 1945).

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Film Noir File: Summer of Darkness keeps dealing out winners

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). The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard). All films without a new review have been covered previously in Film Noir Blonde and can be searched in the FNB archives (at right).

Pick of the Week: Another Friday Full of Darkness

It’s Chapter Four of TCM’s film noir binge-fest. As Bogie once said, “It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.” Each Friday, throughout June and July, running from dawn to dusk and back again, TCM is serving some deluxe stuff: practically every classic film noir you can think of, from “The Maltese Falcon” to “Born to Kill,” and (this Friday) from “Out of the Past” to “The Third Man.”

TCM Summer of Darkness 2015

Curated and hosted by the Czar of Noir himself, Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation and the Noir City film festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and other big bad towns where people prowl around after midnight, TCM’s Summer of Darkness is one season in Hell, and one festival of dreams and nightmares, you won’t want to miss. Wise up. Don’t let the Postman have to Ring Twice.

Friday, June 5

Lana Turner

Lana Turner

6 a.m. (3 a.m.): “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (Tay Garnett, 1946).

8 a.m. (5 a.m.): “They Won’t Believe Me” (Irving Pichel, 1947). Robert Young is accused of adultery (he did), and murder (he didn’t). With Susan Hayward.

9:45 a.m. (6:45 a.m.): “The Woman on the Beach” (Jean Renoir, 1947).

11 a.m. (8 a.m.): “Lady in the Lake” (Robert Montgomery, 1947).

1 p.m. (10 a.m.): “Out of the Past” (Jacques Tourneur, 1947).

2:45 p.m. (11:45 a.m.): “Possessed” (Curtis Bernhardt, 1947).

4:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m.): “Act of Violence” (Fred Zinnemann, 1948).

Audrey Totter plays an editor in “Lady in the Lake.” Make sure your copy is clean, Marlowe!

Audrey Totter plays an editor in “Lady in the Lake” from 1947. Robert Montgomery stars and directs.

6:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.): “The Set-Up” (Robert Wise, 1949).

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “The Mask of Dimitrios” (Jean Negulesco, 1944).

9:45 p.m. (6: 45 p.m.): “Berlin Express” (Jacques Tourneur, 1948).

11:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.): “The Stranger” (Orson Welles, 1946).

1:15 a.m. (10:15 p.m.): “The Third Man” (Carol Reed, 1949).

3 a.m. (12 a.m.): “Point Blank” (John Boorman, 1967).

Saturday, June 27

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (Albert Lewin, 1945).

Sunday, June 28

Anthony Dawson tries to do away with Grace Kelly in “Dial M for Murder.”

Anthony Dawson tries to do away with Grace Kelly in “Dial M for Murder.”

2 p.m. (11 a.m.): “Dial M for Murder” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954).

4 p.m. (1 p.m.): “The Birds” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963).

2 a.m. (11 p.m.): “Band of Outsiders” (“Bande a Part”) (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964). Three amoral and amateurish Parisian movie fans and would-be burglars (played with delightfully offhand bravado by Anna Karina, Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) bungle their way though one of the most amusingly eccentric, self-indulgent and utterly foolish of all film neo-noir heists. One of almost everybody’s favorite Godards, this is the one with the stunningly inept bar-room dance routine by the three musically challenged co-stars to that finger-snapping dance step “The Madison.” Based on Dolores Hitchens’ American crime novel “Fool’s Gold,” it’s like “Rififi” gone frou-frou. In French, with subtitles.

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Film Noir File: Summer of Darkness has strong second chapter

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). The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard). All films without a new review have been covered previously in Film Noir Blonde and can be searched in the FNB archives (at right).

Pick of the Week: Friday is Noir Day on Summer of Darkness

Nothing beats a stroll a down a dark slick street to cool off on a hot summer night. The second week of TCM’s Summer of Darkness boasts as strong a lineup as the first. Curated and hosted by the Czar of Noir himself, Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation and the Noir City film festivals, TCM’s Summer of Darkness is one festival of shadowy dreams and gun crazy nightmares you won’t want to miss.

Friday, June 5

Glass Key poster 300 w6 a.m. (3 a.m.): “The Glass Key” (Stuart Heisler, 1942). Brian Donlevy, Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake star in this stylish remake of the 1935 film based on Hammett’s popular novel. The story follows a ruthless political boss and his personal adviser, who become entangled in a web of organized crime and murder involving the daughter of a rising gubernatorial candidate. Akira Kurosawa once claimed this film to be the inspiration for his classic samurai flick “Yojimbo” (1961).

7:30 a.m. (4: 30 a.m.): “Laura” (Otto Preminger, 1944).

9 a.m. (6 a.m.): “Ministry of Fear” (Fritz Lang, 1944). Ray Milland, just released from a British mental institution, wins the wrong cake at a charity raffle and becomes ensnared in a nightmarish web of espionage and murder. Graham Greene wrote the source novel. Co-starring Marjorie Reynolds and Dan Duryea.

10:30 a.m. (7:30 a.m.): “Murder, My Sweet” (Edward Dmytryk, 1944).

12:15 p.m. (9:15 a.m.): “Danger Signal” (Robert Florey, 1945). More top-notch caddery from that expert lounge snake, Zachary Scott, pulling the wool over Faye Emerson’s and other eyes. 1:45 p.m.

(10:45 a.m.): “Detour” (Edgar Ulmer, 1945).

3 p.m. (12 p.m.): “Mildred Pierce” (Michael Curtiz, 1945).

5 p.m. (2 p.m.): “Deadline at Dawn” (Harold Clurman, 1946). Bill Williams is a sailor on leave who has just one New York City night to prove his innocence of murder. Susan Hayward and Paul Lukas are the shrewd dancer and philosophical cabbie trying to help him. Clifford Odets’ script is from a Cornell Woolrich novel.

6:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.): “Johnny Angel” (Edwin L. Marin, 1946). Middling noir with George Raft hunting down killers and Claire Trevor.

“Gun Crazy” is Joseph H. Lewis’ masterpiece.

“Gun Crazy” is Joseph H. Lewis’ masterpiece.

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “The Gangster” (Gordon Wiles, 1947). A sleeper. Good, neglected gangster noir, based on novelist (and later, screenwriter) Daniel Fuchs’ superb Brooklyn low-life chronicle, “Low Company.” (Read it, if you haven’t.) With Barry Sullivan, Shelley Winters, Akim Tamiroff, John Ireland and Harry Morgan.

9:45 p.m. (6:45 p.m.): “Gun Crazy” (Joseph H. Lewis, 1950).

11:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.): “Tomorrow is Another Day” (Felix Feist, 1951). An ex-con (Steve Cochran) adjusts violently to post-prison life. With Ruth Roman.

1:15 a.m. (10:15 p.m.): “Nightmare Alley” (Edmund Goulding, 1947).

3:30 a.m. (12:30 a.m.): “Night Moves” (Arthur Penn, 1975). Underrated ’70s private-eye noir, set in the Florida Keys, with Gene Hackman as the tough P. E. and Melanie Griffith, Edward Binns and James Woods in fine support. Written by Alan Sharp and directed by Arthur Penn (“Bonnie and Clyde”).

Saturday, June 13

Bullitt poster - Copy 2148 p.m. (5 p.m.): “Bullitt” (Peter Yates, 1968). One of the more stylish cop-movie thrillers. With Steve McQueen at his coolest, Jacqueline Bisset at her loveliest, Robert Vaughn at his slimiest – plus the car chase to end all car chases.

Sunday, June 14

2:15 p.m. (11:15 a.m.): “A Kiss Before Dying” (Gerd Oswald, 1956). A charming psychopath (Robert Wagner) preys on two sisters (Joanne Woodward, Virginia Leith) in this tense adaptation of the novel by Ira Levin (“Rosemary’s Baby”). With Jeffrey Hunter and Mary Astor.

12 a.m. (9 p.m.): “Greed” (Erich von Stroheim, 1924). Erich von Stroheim’s silent masterpiece about the dark side of life in San Francisco and Death Valley, with Gibson Gowland, Jean Hersholt and ZaSu Pitts as an odd, deadly triangle. Mutilated and cut by nearly six hours by MGM and Irving Thalberg, this is still one of the all-time great films.

Monday, June 15

Bunny Lake poster12 p.m. (9 a.m.): “The Fallen Idol” (Carol Reed, 1948). mesmerizing story of a little French boy (Bobby Henrey), a French diplomat’s son, who hero-worships the embassy butler (Ralph Richardson), but mistakenly comes to believe his idol has murdered his wife, and keeps unintentionally incriminating him. Graham Greene adapted the script from his short story.

5:45 p.m. (2:45 p.m.): “Bunny Lake Is Missing” (Otto Preminger, 1965). Bunny Lake is an American child kidnapped in London, Carol Lynley her terrified mother, Keir Dullea her concerned uncle, Anna Massey her harassed teacher, Noel Coward her sleazy landlord, and Laurence Olivier the brainy police detective trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The most important of those pieces: Was Bunny ever really there at all? A neglected gem; based on Evelyn Piper’s novel.

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Film Noir File: Summer of Darkness starts off with a bang

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). The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard). All films without a new review have been covered previously in Film Noir Blonde and can be searched in the FNB archives (at right).

Pick of the Week: Summer of Darkness starts Friday

Hold onto your hat, button up your raincoat (you guys) or slip into your slinky gown (you gals), practice your best sneers or sultry glances, shove your gat in your pocket, crush a cigarette in the nearest ashtray (but don‘t smoke it), gun your engines and get set for the ride of your life.

June is the month when all lovers of film noir get the treat of the year on Turner Classic Movies. All you have to do every Friday is remember what day it is, then switch on the set and gorge yourself on TCM’s great festival of classic crime and prime punishment, Summer of Darkness.

Some experts consider “The Maltese Falcon” the first film noir. Others say “Stranger on the Third Floor” holds that distinction.

Some experts consider “The Maltese Falcon” the first film noir. Others say “Stranger on the Third Floor” holds that distinction.

It’s the station’s annual banquet of stylish movie murder and mayhem, of gunmen and gunsels, of whiskey and women and blues in the night, and of dark deeds on dark, rainy city streets. Each Friday, throughout June, running from dawn to dusk and late into the night (natch), TCM will show nearly 50 classic noir titles, including “The Maltese Falcon,” “Born to Kill,” “Out of the Past,” “The Third Man,” “The Killers” and “Detour.”

Curated and hosted by the Czar of Noir himself, Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation and the Noir City film festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and other towns where people prowl around after midnight, TCM’s Summer of Darkness is one season in Hell, and one festival of dreams and nightmares, you won’t want to miss.

Friday, June 5

6 a.m. (3 a.m.): “M” (Germany: Fritz Lang, 1931).

8 a.m. (5 a.m.): “La Bete Humaine” (France: Jean Renoir, 1938). Jean Renoir’s noir masterpiece is a dark, stark tale of railroads, adultery, madness and murder, with Jean Gabin as the train engineer who goes crazy with l’amour fou, Simone Simon as the woman who drives him there, and Fernand Ledoux as her rat husband and his boss. The source is a classic novel by Emile Zola.

9:45 a.m. (6:45 a.m.): “The Letter” (William Wyler, 1940).

11:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m.): “Stranger on the Third Floor” (Boris Ingster, 1940).

The great Peter Lorre stars in “Stranger on the Third Floor.”

The great Peter Lorre stars in “Stranger on the Third Floor.”

12:45 p.m. (9:45 a.m.): “High Sierra” (Raoul Walsh, 1941).

2:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m.) “The Maltese Falcon” (John Huston, 1941).

4:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m.): “Journey Into Fear” (Norman Foster & Orson Welles (uncredited), 1942).

5:45 p.m. (2:45 p.m.): “Johnny Eager” (Mervyn LeRoy, 1942).

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “Nora Prentiss” (Vincent Sherman, 1947). Ann Sheridan gives Doc Kent Smith all the oomph he can handle.

10:15 p.m. (7:15 p.m.): “Woman on the Run” (Norman Foster, 1950). Neglected noir with Sheridan sizzling as a murder witness’s wife.

11:45 p.m. (8:45 p.m.): “Dark Passage” (Delmer Daves, 1947).

L.A. Confidential poster 2141:45 a.m. (10:45 p.m.): “Born to Kill” (Robert Wise, 1947).

3:30 a.m. (12:30 a.m.): “L. A. Confidential” (Curtis Hanson, 1997).

Saturday, June 6

4:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m.): “The Big Heat” (Fritz Lang, 1953).

Monday, June 8

5 p.m. (2 p.m.): “Conflict” (Curtis Bernhardt, 1945).

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “Man Hunt” (Fritz Lang, 1941). Big game hunter Walter Pidgeon goes after human prey Adolf Hitler – who was no friend of Fritz.

10 p.m. (7 p.m.): “Hangmen Also Die” (Fritz Lang, 1943).

12:30 a.m. (9:30 p.m.): “Saboteur” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1942).

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Film noir takes center stage as Summer of Darkness returns

We are super excited that Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is going dark on Fridays in June and July with the return of Summer of Darkness, film noir screenings hosted by Eddie Muller, also known as “The Czar of Noir.”

TCM Summer of Darkness 2015The Summer of Darkness programming slate will feature more than 100 noir titles making it the most extensive catalog of noirs ever presented by the network.

Summer of Darkness titles include:

Nightmare Alley poster 150·      “Nora Prentiss” (1947, Vincent Sherman), starring Ann Sheridan and Kent Smith.

·      “Born to Kill” (1947, Robert Wise), starring Lawrence Tierney and Claire Trevor.

·      “Nightmare Alley” (1947, Edmund Goulding), starring Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray and Helen Walker.

·      “Gun Crazy”(1950, Joseph H. Lewis), starring John Dall and Peggy Cummins.

·      “The Third Man” (1949, Carol Reed), starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli and Trevor Howard.

·      “L.A. Confidential” (1997, Curtis Hanson) starring Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kim Basinger.

Double Indemnity posterTCM first featured Summer of Darkness programming in the summer of 1999.

In addition to the 24-hour on-air programming, fans will also have the opportunity to experience film noir on the big screen when TCM, Fathom Events and Universal Pictures bring Billy Wilder’s 1944 noir classic “Double Indemnity,” starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck, to theaters across the country on July 19 and 20.

Count us in! Reviews for most of these titles are on FNB — just hit the search bar on the right.

 

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Film noir costume design and ‘Gilda’ highlighted this Saturday in Hollywood

Gilda,” arguably Rita Hayworth’s most famous role, will screen this Saturday, April 25, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Preceding the movie, costume historian Kimberly Truhler will give a one-hour presentation called: “Femmes Fatales, Innocents and Intrigantes: Can the Costume Design of Film Noir Tell Us the Difference?” The talk will start at 2 p.m.

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‘Gilda’ shows that if you’ve got it, you might as well flaunt it

First published on FilmNoirBlonde.com on Sept. 19, 2012

“Gilda” is all about Gilda and that’s the way it should be – for any femme fatale and particularly for Rita Hayworth the most popular pinup girl of WWII, a talented entertainer and Columbia Pictures’ top female star in the mid-1940s. This 1946 movie by director Charles Vidor is essentially a vehicle for the drop-dead gorgeous Hayworth to play a sexy free spirit who lives and loves entirely in the present moment.

Longtime friends Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth had a brief affair during the making of “Gilda.”

Hayworth revels in the sexual power she wields over any man who crosses her path, despite the fact that in post-war America a woman with a mind (and body) of her own spelled nothing but trouble. As the Time Out Film Guide points out: “Never has the fear of the female been quite so intense.” That said, the “independent” Gilda is only briefly without a husband and has to endure a lengthy punishment from her true love.

She first appears, after a devastatingly dramatic hair toss, as the wife of husband Ballin Mundson (George Macready). Suave, but aloof and asexual, Ballin runs a nightclub in Buenos Aires. Gilda passes the time plucking out tunes on her guitar and propositioning other men. Nice work if you can get it.

Enter Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford), an American gambler who runs Ballin’s club. Johnny’s job extends to keeping an eye on Gilda when she’s carousing on the dance floor. Ballin isn’t around much because he’s off trying to form a tungsten cartel with some ex-Nazi pals. But babysitting the boss’ wife (Ballin calls her a “beautiful, greedy child”) is especially tough for Johnny because he and Gilda used to be an item and endured a bitter breakup.

Ballin (George Macready) and Johnny (Glenn Ford) have a tense relationship.

The script is laced with taunts, barbs and innuendo. For example, Gilda tells him: “Hate is a very exciting emotion, hadn’t you noticed? I hate you, too, Johnny. I hate you so much I think I’m going to die from it.” (And some see homosexual undertones in Farrell and Ballin’s relationship.)

Director Vidor, whose other films include 1944’s “Cover Girl” (also starring Hayworth), “A Farewell to Arms” and “The Joker Is Wild” (both 1957), holds his own in the noir genre. “Gilda” is a dark tale (alluding to sexual perversion and repression) and there’s some moody cinematography, courtesy of Rudolph Maté. But Marion Parsonnet’s script, despite many sharp, clever lines, doesn’t hold together and that throws off the pacing. The first third meanders along too slowly while the ending seems abrupt and slapped together.

The plot is thin and vaguely confusing – Ballin is up to no good and at one point is thought to be dead, only to turn up later at a pivotal point in Johnny and Gilda’s romance. They reunite of course and their push-pull tension is the engine that drives the story. Luckily, that tension, combined with solid direction and acting, save the movie.

(The legendary Ben Hecht is an uncredited writer on “Gilda” and if the storyline rings a bell, you might be thinking of “Notorious” also from 1946, written by Hecht, which is another story of ex-Nazis up to no good in South America. Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant play the wary, mistrustful lovers in Alfred Hitchcock’s superior rendering of similar material.)

The chemistry between Ford and Hayworth is about as real as it gets. Longtime friends, they had a brief affair during the making of the movie. In his book, “A Life,” Glenn Ford’s son Peter writes that Vidor coached Glenn and Rita with “outrageously explicit suggestions.” Peter Ford quotes his father as saying: “[Vidor’s] instructions to the two of us were pretty incredible. I can’t even repeat the things he used to tell us to think about before we did a scene.”

Hayworth performs “Put the Blame on Mame,” choreographed by Jack Cole.

According to Peter Ford, this off-screen fling stemmed from Hayworth’s unhappy marriage to Orson Welles. The romance also drew the ire of Columbia Pictures chief Harry Cohn, who reportedly lusted after Hayworth and whom Hayworth rejected. “Gilda” was the second film Hayworth and Ford appeared in together; they worked together three more times afterward as well.

“Gilda” wasn’t a critical hit, but it proved popular with audiences, especially the famous “Put the Blame on Mame” scene.

Choreographed by Jack Cole, a bold and brilliant innovator, the number is as close to a strip tease as was possible in 1946. Hayworth was dubbed by Anita Ellis in that number, though there is some debate as to whether it’s Hayworth’s voice when she runs through the song with Uncle Pio (Steven Geray) earlier in the movie.

Though “Gilda” cemented Hayworth’s celebrity status, her fame came at a price. “Every man I’ve known has fallen in love with Gilda and wakened with me,” she said. But, despite her career ups and downs, five failed marriages and a long struggle with Alzheimer’s, she kept her sense of humor. In the 1970s, Hayworth was asked, “What do you think when you look at yourself in the mirror after waking up in the morning?” Her reply: “Darling, I don’t wake up till the afternoon.”

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COLCOA French fest opens and Noir City Hollywood closes

It’s a busy time for film buffs in Los Angeles.

The COLCOA French Film Festival opens tonight, Monday, April 20, with an elegant reception and the opening night film, a thriller called “A Perfect Man,” directed and co-written by Yann Gozlan and starring Pierre Niney and Ana Girardot.

Pierre Niney plays the wily writer in  “A Perfect Man.”

Pierre Niney plays the wily writer in “A Perfect Man.”

It’s a story of shifting identities as a struggling author stumbles upon a wildly unethical way to make the best-seller list.

With echoes of Patricia Highsmith’s Mr. Ripley, “A Perfect Man” strikes us as a divinely decadent way to kick off this wonderful festival, now in its 19th year.

There is much to see this year (check the COLCOA site for info on free screenings and cool events) and we are counting the days until Friday’s Film Noir Series.

The fest takes place at the Directors Guild of America, 7920 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 90046.

Sunday was the closing day of an essential film fest, for noiristas and others: Noir City Hollywood, presented by the American Cinematheque in collaboration with the Film Noir Foundation. The foundation’s urbane noirphiles Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode were on hand throughout the fest to introduce the movies. This year, they brought another excellent selection (heavy on adaptations of the great master of pulp suspense Cornell Woolrich).

The lineup included a real find: the American debut of three almost unknown but brilliantly done and stunningly visualized film noirs from Argentina: “The Black Vampire” (Roman Vinoly Barreto, 1953), a remake of Fritz Lang’s “M,” and superb adaptations of Woolrich stories in “Never Open That Door” (Carlos Hugo Christensen, 1952) and “If I Should Die Before I Wake” (Christensen, 1952).

Dorothy MacKaill lights up the screen in “Safe in Hell” (1931, William Wellman).

Dorothy MacKaill lights up the screen in “Safe in Hell” (1931, William Wellman).

The fest wrapped up with a four-movie proto-noir marathon:

The Ninth Guest” (1934, Roy William Neill) a mystery with a generous dollop of Deco glam.

Let Us Live” (1939, John Brahm) featuring the great Henry Fonda as a wrongly identified killer and a riveting performance from Maureen O’Sullivan as his girlfriend.

Heat Lightning” (1934, Mervyn LeRoy) a pre-Code delight about two sisters (Aline MacMahon and Ann Dvorak) running a garage and car-repair shop in the desert and ridding the place of rats, such as fleeing criminal and old flame (Preston Foster).

Safe in Hell” (1931, William Wellman) Dorothy MacKaill is unforgettable as a sparkling blonde siren who spends the entire movie fighting off men as she waits in vain on a Caribbean island to be with the guy she truly loves (Donald Cook).

Don Castle was a Clark Gable lookalike.

Don Castle was a Clark Gable lookalike.

My attendance was spotty this year because I had to leave town unexpectedly (such is life for a femme fatale) but my colleague Mike Wilmington caught quite a few.

Other highlights from this year’s fest were: “Woman on the Run,” “The Underworld Story,” “Abandoned,” “Circle of Danger,” “Berlin Express,” “Ride the Pink Horse,” “The Fallen Sparrow,” and “The Guilty” as well as that triple bill of Argentinian film noir.

The closing-weekend party was loads of fun, especially since I won a nifty raffle prize! I definitely needed my drink tickets that night. Why? By the small but mighty curveball in “The Guilty” when the lead character (Don Castle) reveals that he is studying “commercial geography” to land a good job.

What??? Education and hard work to get ahead? Was the movie going to start preaching about the virtues of a work ethic? Aaargh! Thankfully, this was, in fact, a temporary glitch and the character turned out to be crazy-bad.

Phew! I was freaked out there for a moment but everything was just as it should be in Noirville.

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Film Noir File: Sit back and enjoy a night with Bogie & Bacall

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 Classi  c Movies (TCM). The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard). All films without a new review have been covered previously in Film Noir Blonde and can be searched in the FNB archives (at right).

Pick of the Week: Bogie and Bacall night is Tuesday, April 7

“To Have and Have Not” was the couple’s first film together.

“To Have and Have Not” was the couple’s first film together.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall – the King and Queen of film noir – make for a royally cool evening. First: A documentary-memoir by Bacall, followed by two of the nonpareil pair’s top shows, adapted from books by Ernest Hemingway and David Goodis. Sit back, pour yourself a cold one, and enjoy. And remember: Another vintage Bogart, “Casablanca,” plays (again Sam), Tuesday morning on TCM. (See below.)

2 a.m. (11 p.m.): “Bacall on Bogart” (David Heeley, 1988). A bio-pic gem. Baby on Bogie – and who knew him better?

3:30 a.m. (12:30 a.m.): “To Have and Have Not” (Howard Hawks, 1944).

5:15 a.m. (2:15 a.m.): “Dark Passage” (Delmer Daves, 1947).

Saturday, April 4

Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “Witness for the Prosecution” (Billy Wilder, 1957). “Witness for the Prosecution” (1957, Billy Wilder) From the famous Agatha Christie short story, Billy Wilder expertly fashions one of the screen’s trickiest trial-drama/murder mysteries – with Charles Laughton as the wily, wheelchair-bound barrister, his real-life wife Elsa Lanchester as his long-suffering nurse, and Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich as the incendiary couple caught up in a legendary triple-reverse surprise ending.

10:15 p.m. (7:15 p.m.): “Laura” (Otto Preminger, 1944).

12 a.m. (9 p.m.): “Klute” (Alan Pakula, 1971). Jane Fonda as a brainy hooker (her first Oscar-winning performance) being pursued by a psycho killer. Donald Sutherland plays Klute, the cop who tries to help and save her. A classy, first-class neo-noir.

Monday, April 6

“His Kind of Woman” is a tongue-in-cheek noir, down Mexico way.

“His Kind of Woman” is a tongue-in-cheek noir, down Mexico way.

1:45 a.m. (10:45 p.m.): “Macao” (Josef von Sternberg, 1952). Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell strike sultry sparks in this exotic thriller from Howard Hughes’ RKO.

Directed by Josef Von Sternberg, with uncredited reshooting by Nick Ray. Co-starring Gloria Grahame, William Bendix and Thomas Gomez.

3:15 a.m. (12:15 a.m.): “His Kind of Woman” (John Farrow, 1951). Down Mexico way, in a Hollywood-style resort, Jane Russell is his kind of woman. And Robert Mitchum is her kind of man.

Gangster Raymond Burr and overripe actor Vincent Price are our kind of heavies in this breezy, funny tongue-in-cheek noir.

Tuesday, April 7

11:45 a.m. (8:45 a.m.): “Casablanca” (Michael Curtiz, 1942).

4 p.m. (1 p.m.): “Passage to Marseille” (Michael Curtiz, 1944).

6 p.m. (3 p.m.): “Mildred Pierce” (Michael Curtiz, 1945).

The classic trio of “Casablanca.”

The classic trio of “Casablanca.”

See Pick of the Week above.

Wed., April 8

2 p.m. (11 a.m.): “Bunny Lake Is Missing” (Otto Preminger, 1965). Bunny Lake is an American child kidnapped in London, Carol Lynley her terrified mother, Keir Dullea her concerned uncle, Anna Massey her harassed teacher, Noel Coward her sleazy landlord, and Laurence Olivier the shrewd police detective trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The most important of those pieces: Was Bunny ever really there at all? A neglected gem; based on Evelyn Piper’s novel.

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “La Strada” (Federico Fellini, 1954).

2 a.m. (11 p.m.): “Requiem for a Heavyweight” (Ralph Nelson, 1962).

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Happy Birthday to a noir grande dame, Lady Joan

By Film Noir Blonde and Mike Wilmington

Film Noir Blonde

Film Noir Blonde

Laemmle NoHo7 - 140The Film Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard). All films without a new review have been covered previously in Film Noir Blonde and can be searched in the FNB archives (at right).

Pick of the Week: Joan Crawford Marathon &
Laemmle’s NoHo 7 Party, Monday, March 23

Warner Archive - SmallerShakar Bakery - SmallerNext Monday is Joan Crawford’s birthday; she was born March 23, 1905. And, if you’re an Angeleno, you can celebrate all day – first by catching one or more of the seven Crawford movies, including three noirs, running on Turner Classic Movies on Pacific time from 3:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (And on Eastern time, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.).

Then, head to Laemmle’s NoHo 7 in North Hollywood (5240 Lankershim Blvd.), and watch two of Crawford’s very best noirs on the big screen starting at 7:30 p.m.: 1947’s too often neglected “Possessed” and 1962’s Robert Aldrich-directed masterpiece, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” co-starring the one and only Bette Davis and

“He’s just not that into you …” does NOT go over well with Miss Crawford. The very talented Van Heflin plays the heel in “Possessed.”

“He’s just not that into you …” does NOT go over well with Miss Crawford. The very talented Van Heflin plays the heel in “Possessed.”

The event will be co-hosted live (with cake, a trivia contest and prizes) by Film Noir Blonde. Shakar Bakery is providing the cake.

Tickets are $11 for one film or $15 or both. Prizes are courtesy of Warner Archive.

Happy Birthday, Joan!

Film noir titles

8:15 a.m. (5:15 a.m.): “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?(Robert Aldrich, 1962)

2 p.m. (11 a.m.): “Flamingo Road” (Michael Curtiz, 1949).

6 p.m. (3 pm.): “Mildred Pierce” (Michael Curtiz, 1945).

Other JC titles: “The Caretakers” (Hall Bartlett, 1963); “Torch Song” (Charles Walters, 1953); “Goodbye, My Fancy” (Vincent Sherman, 1951), “Humoresque” (Jean Negulesco, 1946).

The real-life rivalry of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford infused “Baby Jane” with extra tension.

The real-life rivalry of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford infused “Baby Jane” with extra tension.


Saturday, March 21

8:45 a.m. (5:45 a.m.): “White Zombie” (Victor Halperin, 1932).

Sunday, March 22

8 a.m. (5 a.m.): “Gilda” (Charles Vidor, 1946).

2:30 a.m. (11:30 p.m.): “Torment” (Alf Sjoberg, 1944). This psychological thriller about a sadistic teacher (Stig Jarrel) tormenting two young lovers (Mai Zetterling, Alf Kjellin), filmed in pseudo-German expressionist-style, was the first big hit by its young screenwriter: enthusiastic film-noir fan Ingmar Bergman. (In Swedish, with subtitles.)

Blue Gardenia poster4:15 a.m. (1:15 a.m.): “Miss Julie” (Alf Sjoberg, 1951). The famous prize-winning film version of playwright August Strindberg’s dark, terror-filled theatrical classic about a sadomasochistic romance between a susceptible aristocrat (Anita Bork) and a brutal groom (Ulf Palme). (In Swedish, with subtitles.)

Tuesday, March 24

2:15 a.m. (11:15 p.m.): “Wait Until Dark” (Terence Young, 1967).

Wednesday, March 25

10 p.m. (7 p.m.): “The Blue Gardenia” (Fritz Lang, 1953).

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Film Noir File: Carol Reed’s ‘Odd Man Out’ is a great Irish drama and a great thriller

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). The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard). All films without a new review have been covered previously and can be searched in the FNB archives (at right).

Pick of the Week

Odd Man Out” (U.K.; 1947, Carol Reed). Tuesday, March 17, 8 p.m. (5 p.m.).

Carol Reed’s 1947 British thriller “Odd Man Out” is one of the great suspense dramas and one of the great film noirs. It’s an Irish odyssey that wrings every drop of tension from its subject. It’s also a story of love and death that plunges you into deepest night, and cracks your heart as you watch it.

James Mason always considered Johnny his best performance,

James Mason always considered Johnny his best performance,

The film revolves around Irish revolutionary Johnny McQueen, played by James Mason in a near-perfect performance.

As the film follows its dying protagonist – shot during an I. R. A. bank robbery and desperately trying to make his way to safety while being hunted by both the police and his friends – it creates an indelible portrait of a city at night, populated by a gallery of unforgettable characters.

That city is Belfast, though it’s never named as such. It’s a metropolis torn into bloody fragments, yet also seething with humanity, humor, embattled faith, bloody conflict and mad poetry. The city is stunningly photographed in rich blacks and ivory whites by cinematographer Robert Krasker in nearly the same palette he and Reed later used for 1949’s “The Third Man.”

Mason’s Johnny is not a naturally violent outlaw, but an idealist who is simply trying to hold onto life.  The wounded IRA man runs a gauntlet of terror, escaping from the bank where he was shot, wandering from place to place, from homes to bars to city scrapheaps, constantly a fugitive, sometimes helped, often recognized, safe only for fleeting moments.

Kathleen Ryan plays Johnny’s love interest.

Kathleen Ryan plays Johnny’s love interest.

Johnny’s main contacts are his lover Kathleen (Kathleen Ryan), also loved by the stern police inspector (Denis O’Dea) on Johnny’s trail; the elderly, frail, art fancier Father Tom (W. G. Fay); and an opportunistic little man named Shell (F. J. McCormick), who lives in an attic with two fellow eccentrics – Robert Newton as the alcoholic painter Lukey, and Elwyn Brooke-Jones as the failed medical student Tober.

Johnny’s suffering keeps bringing out the best and the worst in the people he encounters. The first act of “Odd Man Out” is a near-Hitchcockian masterpiece of suspense. The final act hits a mixture of irony, poignancy and terror that few films reach.

Mason always considered Johnny his best performance, and it may well be – though other Mason performances are in the same class: Humbert Humbert in “Lolita,” Norman Maine in “A Star is Born,” Ed Avery in “Bigger Than Life,” Trigorin in “The Sea Gull” and Sir Randolph in “The Shooting Party.” McCormick’s Shell is a magnificent portrayal as well – beautifully restrained and sly, full of fallibility, weakness and a near-demonic will. You’ll never forget Shell even if you didn’t know or won’t remember this superb actor’s name.

The script, a gem, was adapted from his bestselling novel by F. L. Green, who was born in England and died (in 1949) in Belfast, and playwright R. C. Sherriff (“Journey’s End”). It was produced and directed by Reed, then at the peak of his powers as a filmmaker.

If you’ve never seen “Odd Man Out,” try to catch it this time: a great Irish drama and film noir, a great Carol Reed film and James Mason performance, and a great story of suffering and redemption, while running and hiding in Belfast, city of night.

Saturday, March 14

Killer's Kiss poster7 a.m. (4 a.m.): “Killer’s Kiss” (Stanley Kubrick, 1955).

8:15 a.m. (5:15 a.m.): “The Big Clock” (John Farrow, 1948).

12 a.m. (9 p.m.): “Dead End” (William Wyler, 1937).

2 a.m. (11 p.m.). “The Town that Dreaded Sundown” (Charles B. Pierce, 1976). Based on fact, this indie low-budget movie about a Texas serial killer influenced a host of less factual slasher movies later on. With Ben Johnson and Dawn Wells.

3:30 a.m. (12:30 a.m.): “In Cold Blood” (Richard Brooks, 1967).

Monday, March 16

10 a.m. (7 a.m.): “Fury” (Fritz Lang, 1936).

11:45 a.m. (8:45 a.m.): “Saboteur” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1942).

1:45 p.m. (10:45 a.m.) “The Wages of Fear” (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953). One of the greatest of all suspense films, this legendary French shocker is Clouzot’s nerve-rending account of four expatriate drivers trying to escape a horrible little South American backwater by driving two truckloads of nitroglycerin to a burning oil field over dangerous mountain roads.

A masterpiece of dark cynicism and blazing suspense, it’s even tenser and scarier than Clouzot’s more famous thriller “Diabolique.” The film boasts an incredible script (by Clouzot and Jerome Geronimi, from Georges Arnaud’s novel), amazing camerawork and razor-sharp editing. There’s also a fantastic cast: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter Van Eyck, Folco Lulli, Daniel Gelin and the director’s long-suffering wife, Vera Clouzot.

“You sit there, waiting for the theater to explode!” claimed the 1954 American theater ads, and they weren’t far wrong. William Friedkin’s 1977 remake “Sorcerer,” with Roy Scheider, though a fine, underrated film, pales by comparison. (French, with subtitles.)

Also available from Criterion in DVD and Blu-ray with a documentary as well as interviews with Montand and others.

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