Chicago welcomes Noir City 6: It’s a Bitter Little World

Too Late for Tears posterNoir City 6: It’s a Bitter Little World hits Chicago’s Music Box Theatre on Friday, Aug. 29. The fest, presented in partnership with the Film Noir Foundation, features classic noir films from France, Japan, Argentina, Spain, Italy and Britain as well as a sampling of homegrown Hollywood rarities.

“Our desire to expand the scope of the Noir City festival has resulted in our most ambitious program ever,” says Film Noir Foundation president Eddie Muller. “The 14 films in the series reveal that the cinematic movement known as noir spanned the globe, and its style, sexiness and cynicism crossed all international borders.”

The festival will kick off with the foundation’s latest 35mm film restoration, “Too Late for Tears” (1949, Byron Haskin), starring Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea, and a newly struck 35mm print of the tough-as-nails “Roadblock” (1951, Harold Daniels), starring noir favorite Charles McGraw.

The fest runs through Sept. 4.

Grab some Garrett’s popcorn, a Chicago tradition since 1949, and you’ll in be in retro-movie heaven!

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Film noir feast this weekend: ‘Sin City,’ Exile Noir and ‘Pickup’

“Double Indemnity” and “Pitfall” will open UCLA’s Exile Noir series.

“Double Indemnity” and “Pitfall” will open UCLA’s Exile Noir series.

There are several delectable film noir offerings this weekend in Los Angeles. First, a sequel worth seeing! That would be “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” by directors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. It’s a follow-up to 2005’s “Sin City.” (Miller adapted both scripts from his graphic novels.)

Sin City 2“Sin City 2” stars Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The movie opens Friday.

Following closely behind its Hollywood Exiles in Europe series, UCLA is hosting Exile Noir, a lineup that explores the major contribution to film noir by German-speaking émigrés in Hollywood, all of whom were schooled in German expressionist cinema. Exiled from Nazi Germany, Jewish writers and directors brought a dark vision to their work, informed by staggering loss, pain, fear and betrayal.

Their arrival in Los Angeles permanently altered the city’s creative landscape. As Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, recently told Susan King of the LA Times: “[Their arrival] changed not just the film industry and the kind of films that were being made, it changed the intellectual life. You have people who are not in the film industry but came here because of the weather and perceived opportunities, like [composer] Arnold Schoenberg and [author] Thomas Mann. They changed the intellectual character of Southern California.”

Pitfall poster 214The program, which runs through Sept. 28, kicks off with an impressive double bill: the prototype of the genre, “Double Indemnity” (1944, Billy Wilder) and “Pitfall” (1948, André De Toth), starring Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott and Jane Wyatt. In honor of “Double Indemnity” turning 70 this year, on Valentine’s Day, we compiled a list of 14 reasons we love this flick.

This series is presented in anticipation of the Skirball Cultural Center exhibit, Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950, running Oct. 23–March 1, 2015. More on that in the next few weeks.

Also, as I mentioned earlier this week, the Egyptian Theatre is showing Sam Fuller’s film noir masterpiece “Pickup on South Street” and “White Dog.” His daughter Samantha Fuller will introduce the movies.

There’s no doubt: Life is good for noiristas in Los Angeles!

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Ryan to discuss working with film noir stalwart Lee Marvin

Mitch Ryan

Mitch Ryan

Actor Mitch Ryan will join Lee Marvin biographer Dwayne Epstein at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 21, at Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Hollywood to celebrate the paperback release of Epstein’s book, Point Blank.

Perhaps best known for playing Burke Devlin in the 1960s TV series “Dark Shadows,” Ryan also had a Hollywood career. He’ll discuss working with Marvin in “Monte Walsh,” (1970, William A. Fraker), a Western that co-starred Jack Palance and Jeanne Moreau.

Ryan and Epstein will present a clips reel of Lee Marvin TV appearances.

“Ah, stardom!” Marvin once said on the topic of fame. “They put your name on a star in the sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard and you walk down and find a pile of dog manure on it. That tells the whole story, baby.”

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Sam Fuller’s film noir masterpiece plays on the big screen

Pickup on South Street posterSam Fuller’s film noir masterpiece “Pickup on South Street” (see review and TCM listing below) will screen Friday at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Sam Fuller’s daughter, Samantha Fuller, will introduce the film. His novel, “Brainquake,” recently published by Hard Case Crime, will be available for sale in the lobby.

“Pickup” will pair with 1982’s “White Dog.”

We at FNB celebrate the work of this in-your-face auteur, who unabashedly reveled in the seedy, touted the tacky, glommed onto the grim (not to mention the grime) and did his own thing until the very end. See you there!

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Remembering Hollywood’s hottest power couple

The Hitchcocks met while working at the Famous Players-Lasky studio in London in the early 1920s.

Happy birthday, Mr. Hitchcock, wherever you are! Alma’s b’day was Aug. 14, 1899; they were born a day apart.

Said Alfred, when he accepted the American Film Institute Life Achievement award: “I beg permission to mention by name only four people who have given me the most affection, appreciation, encouragement, and constant collaboration. The first of the four is a film editor, the second is a scriptwriter, the third is the mother of my daughter Pat [Patricia Hitchcock], and the fourth is as fine a cook as ever performed miracles in a domestic kitchen. And their names are Alma Reville.”

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Lauren Bacall has died at age 89

Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on Sept. 16, 1924.

Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on Sept. 16, 1924.

She was one of a kind and will be fondly remembered.

http://www.vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/2014/08/lauren-bacall-dies-age-89

My favorite Lauren Bacall film noir: ‘The Big Sleep.’ Reviewed here: http://bit.ly/1pNUSvl

Another great Bogart & Bacall film noir is ‘Dark Passage.’ Reviewed here: http://bit.ly/1kBvxpi

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A sip of Hollywood history: Cocktails at Yamashiro

The Bernheimer brothers began building the hilltop mansion in 1911. The residence was completed in 1914.

The Bernheimer brothers began building the hilltop mansion in 1911. The residence was completed in 1914.

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles is hosting Cocktails in Historic Places from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at Yamashiro in Hollywood! The “mountain palace” was completed in 1914 as a residence for the Bernheimer brothers, who were major collectors of Asian artwork. In the late 1920s, the property served as headquarters for the exclusive 400 Club, which catered to Hollywood’s motion picture industry elite. The Glover family opened Yamashiro Restaurant in the late 1940s.  The storied spot has a gorgeous garden and offers outstanding views of Los Angeles.

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Ahead of her time: An exceptional talent who made an art form of dressing the stars

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly take a stroll in "To Catch a Thief" (1955, Alfred Hitchcock).

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly take a stroll in “To Catch a Thief” (1955, Alfred Hitchcock).

“If it’s a Paramount film, I probably worked on it.”

So said the legendary costume designer Edith Head (Oct. 28, 1897-Oct. 24, 1981), who won eight Oscars over the course of her Hollywood career, dressing everyone from Barbara Stanwyck to Grace Kelly to Jackie Bisset. A peerless expert at marrying character and clothes as well as a master of disguising even a hint of a figure flaw, Head was a Tinseltown fashion tour de force.

She will be honored with a film series starting Friday, Aug. 8, at UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood. The UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program, in association with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, are presenting: What I Really Do Is Magic: Edith Head and Hollywood Costume Design. The series runs through Saturday, Sept. 27.

Films include: “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” “She Done Him Wrong,” “The Jungle Princess,” “The Lady Eve,” “Roman Holiday,” “To Catch a Thief,” “Sunset Blvd.,” “The Country Girl,” “A New Kind of Love,” “Artists and Models” and “Sweet Charity.”

In-person guests include: Carl Reiner, costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis and authors David Chierichetti and Paddy Calistro.

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On the radar: Hollywood Redux exhibition in Santa Monica, film noir faves, remembering the blonde goddess

Love this photo of a (smiling!) Bogart & Bacall. Shot by Murray Garrett and on display at the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica.

Love this photo of a (smiling!) Bogart & Bacall. Shot by Murray Garrett and on display at the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica.

Murray Garrett: Hollywood Redux, a selection of black-and-white photographs including never-before-seen silver-gelatin prints from the artist’s archive, runs through Aug. 23 at the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica. The Brooklyn-born Garrett, who worked in the Golden Age, typically used medium-format cameras, such as the Speed Graphic and Rolleiflex, to capture iconic moments from the lives of the entertainment industry’s elite and other popular figures of American culture and high society.

Taschen has released a must-read tome: Film Noir: 100 All-Time Favorites. From “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” to “Drive,” editors Paul Duncan and Jürgen Müller present their top film-noirs and neo-noirs. Director, film noir scholar and “Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader provides the introduction.

Also, Tuesday, Aug. 5 marks the 52nd anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death. RIP, Marilyn. See more images and read more about her life here.

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Jules Dassin dazzles with double bill in Hollywood Exiles series

Jules Dassin’s ‘Rififi,’ a heist film set in Paris, is a cinematic masterpiece.

Jules Dassin’s ‘Rififi,’ a heist film set in Paris, is a cinematic masterpiece.

Paranoia marks many a film noir masterpiece. One reason in particular is that in the late 1940s, Hollywood directors, writers and actors faced political persecution as a result of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his harrowing witch hunt to uncover Communists. One of his most damning tools was a blacklist of people thought to be active in the Communist party, which, in his mind, was tantamount to threatening democracy and the American way.

Many of those under fire became voluntary exiles, hoping to rebuild their lives and careers abroad. While some left for Mexico, others, including Jules Dassin, Joseph Losey, Cy Endfield, Ben and Norma Barzman, and Donald Ogden Stewart, relocated in London, Paris and Rome. Drawing on film noir, neo-realism and modernist art cinema influences, Dassin and Losey were standout success stories. But, still hounded by the U.S. government and exploited by European producers looking for Hollywood talent on the cheap, the exiles found it was not an easy road.

To explore this unique era of filmmaking, UCLA is hosting the series Hollywood Exiles in Europe, which opens Friday, July 25, and runs to Sunday, Aug. 17. This series was co-curated by Rebecca Prime, author of the book “Hollywood Exiles in Europe: The Blacklist and Cold War Film Culture.” Prime and Norma Barzman will attend Friday’s opening feature: Christ in Concrete (1950, UK/US, Edward Dmytryk), a depiction of hardships endured by Italian-American construction workers.

On Saturday, July 26, there’s a top-notch film noir offering from Dassin: “Rififi” (France, 1955) and “Night and the City” (UK/US, 1950). In shadow-drenched, dangerous London, crooked fight promoter Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) double-crosses everyone he encounters as he tries to outrace the night. The night is faster. This is a top film noir, a stunning achievement of style and suspense. From Gerald Kersh’s novel; with Gene Tierney, Herbert Lom, Francis L. Sullivan and Googie Withers.

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