Noir City Hollywood: Don’t miss the final days!

Noir City: Hollywood, the 16th annual festival of film noir, at the Egyptian Theatre will be over before you know it! So plan to take a prowl …

There are double features on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, “Detour” screens, followed by the festival’s wrap party.

M posterOn Sunday is this rare treat: Joseph Losey’s 1951 version of “M” and “The Hitch-Hiker,” which is the only American film noir directed by a woman: Ida Lupino.

Losey’s American remake of Fritz Lang’s classic from 1931 follows a child murderer being simultaneously hunted by the police and the underworld. “M” stars David Wayne, Howard Da Silva, Luther Adler, Steve Brodie, Raymond Burr, Norman Lloyd, Walter Burke and Jim Backus.

Next up is “The Hitch-Hiker” (1953), a groundbreaking, fact-based story of two pals on a Mexican fishing trip kidnapped by a serial killer. Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy, William Talman and José Torvay star.

Both films screen in newly restored 35mm prints thanks to the Library of Congress. The fest is co-presented by the American Cinematheque and the Film Noir Foundation.

See you in the dark!

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailTwitter

Noir City returns; program includes French, British, Italian films

Rififi posterIt’s almost time to take one of our favorite trips of the year: A one-way ticket to Noir City at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood!

Starting Friday, the American Cinematheque and the Film Noir Foundation will present their 16th annual festival of film noir. Jaded gumshoes, femmes fatale and menacing heavies will reign supreme in gloriously gritty black and white. The fest runs through April 6, with a stand-out celebration on April 5.

We at FNB are especially excited to see the fest expand to include film noir from abroad with evenings devoted to French (“Two Men in Manhattan,” “Rififi,” “Jenny Lamour), British (“It Always Rains on Sunday,” “Brighton Rock”) and Italian (“Ossessione”) noir.

Ossessione posterThe program pays tribute to a trio of talented actresses who died in 2013 with noir nights devoted to Joan Fontaine (“Born to Be Bad”, “Ivy”), Eleanor Parker (“Caged,” “Detective Story”) and Audrey Totter (“Tension,” “Alias Nick Beal”).

Actor Dan Duryea will be honored on opening night, March 21, with this enticing double feature: “Too Late for Tears” (a new 35mm restoration) and “Larceny.” Also to be honored (on other nights): writer David Goodis and director Hugo Fregonese.

Be sure to join FNF co-directors Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode as they host another exciting excursion into the dark recesses of Hollywood’s most lasting artistic movement, film noir.

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailTwitter

Film noir greats ‘Shadow of a Doubt,’ In a Lonely Place,’ Double Indemnity’ and more on the big screen in LA

By Film Noir Blonde and Michael Wilmington

Shadow of a Doubt” (1943, Alfred Hitchcock) is the 1 p.m. matinee Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

A bright and beautiful small town girl named Charlotte “Charlie” Newton (Teresa Wright) is bored. Bored with her well-ordered home in her Norman Rockwellish little city of Santa Rosa, Calif., – where trees line the sunlit streets, everyone goes to church on Sunday and lots of them read murder mysteries at night. Charlie has more exotic dreams. She adores her globe-trotting, urbane Uncle Charlie Oakley (Joseph Cotten) – for whom she was nicknamed – and is deliriously happy when he shows up in Santa Rosa for a visit.

Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright play kindred spirits, sort of, in “Shadow.”

Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright play kindred spirits, sort of, in “Shadow.”

But Uncle Charlie has some secrets that no one in his circle would guess – not Uncle Charlie’s adoring sister (Patricia Collinge), nor his good-hearted brother-in-law (Henry Travers), nor their mystery-loving neighbor Herbie (Hume Cronyn), nor Charlie herself. Uncle Charlie, who conceals a darker personality and profession beneath his charming persona, is on the run, pursued by a dogged police detective (Macdonald Carey), who suspects him of being a notorious serial killer who seduces rich old widows and kills them for their money. As handsome, cold-blooded Uncle Charlie, Cotten, who also called “Shadow” his personal favorite film, is, with Robert Walker and Anthony Perkins, one of the three great Hitchcockian psychopaths.

“Shadow of a Doubt,” released in 1943, was Hitchcock’s sixth American movie and the one he often described as his favorite. As he explained to François Truffaut, this was because he felt that his critical enemies, the “plausibles,” could have nothing to quibble about with “Shadow.” It was written by two superb chroniclers of Americana, Thornton Wilder (“Our Town”) and Sally Benson (“Meet Me in St. Louis”), along with Hitch’s constant collaborator, wife Alma Reville. The result is one of the supreme examples of Hitchcockian counterpoint: with a sunny, tranquil background against which dark terror erupts.

Barbara Stanwyck book

On Thursday night at 7:30 p.m., the American Cinematheque presents a Nicholas Ray night at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood: “Johnny Guitar,” starring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden, and “In a Lonely Place,” starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. As Jean-Luc Godard said: “Nicholas Ray is the cinema.” And speaking of Godard, the AC’s Aero Theatre is hosting a Godard retrospective, starting Feb. 20.

Femmes fatales don’t particularly like birthdays, but here’s an exception:  “Double Indemnity” turns 70 this year! Did you know Raymond Chandler made a cameo in the film? Read the story here.

And be sure to attend on Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica: Barbara Stanwyck biographer Victoria Wilson will sign her book and introduce a screening of “Double Indemnity” and “The Bitter Tea of General Yen.” The signing starts at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Wilson has two other signings coming up; for details, call Larry Edmunds Bookshop at 323-463-3273.

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailTwitter

Film noir events crowd the calendar this month

There is much to entice noiristas this month in Los Angeles and elsewhere. So much, in fact, that I’ve compiled this handy list.

Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame star in "The Big Heat."

Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame star in “The Big Heat.”

Tues., Oct. 8 @ 1 p.m.: “The Big Heat” (1953, Fritz Lang) plays on the big screen at the Bing Theater, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036.

Additionally, “The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema,” featuring the work of cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa, runs at LACMA through Oct. 11. “Luis Buñuel and Gabriel Figueroa: A Surreal Alliance” runs Oct. 12-19.

Wed., Oct. 9 @ 7:30 p.m.: Writers Bloc hosts a conversation with Valerie Plame, memoir author and former CIA Operations Officer. At the Ann and Jerry Moss Theater at New Roads School, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404.

Also starting Oct. 9: The Aero and Egyptian theaters host the inaugural Beyond Fest, “an international buffet of badass cinema” that showcases recent horror gems along with classics. In-person guests, live music. Beyond Fest runs through Oct. 31.

Thurs., Oct. 10: The 49th Chicago International Film Festival opens with a gala screening of “The Immigrant.” This year’s fest is dedicated to the late great Roger Ebert. The CIFF runs through Oct. 24. The fest’s After Dark slate of titles never fails to intrigue.

"Sunset Blvd." will screen Oct. 19.

“Sunset Blvd.” will screen Oct. 19 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Sat., Oct. 12 @ 6 p.m.: Redcat in downtown LA hosts a panel discussion on the controversial French filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot and his contribution to 1960s aesthetics. Screening of “La Vérité” (1960 Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner for Best Foreign Language Film).

Sat., Oct. 12 & Sun. Oct. 13: The Vintage Fashion Expo premieres at its new home in Los Angeles at The LA Convention Center.

Thurs., Oct. 17 @ 7:30 p.m.: Writers Bloc hosts a conversation with Norwegian author Jo Nesbø (“Headhunters”) whose new novel is Police: A Harry Hole Novel. At the Goethe-Institut, 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036.

“Moonrise” plays Oct. 21 at the Billy Wilder Theater at UCLA in Westwood.

“Moonrise” plays Oct. 21 at the Billy Wilder Theater at UCLA in Westwood.

Sat., Oct. 19 @ 2 p.m.: Illustrated presentation on “The Corner” and screening of “Sunset Blvd.” (1950, Billy Wilder) at the Egyptian Theatre (part of the Egyptian’s 91st anniversary weekend). Los Angeles historian Marc Chevalier will discuss the social nexus of Hollywood in the golden age: Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights (now West Hollywood). Followed by “Sunset Blvd.,” which features Schwab’s Pharmacy as a location.

Mon., Oct. 21 @ 7:30 p.m.: “Moonrise” (1948, Frank Borzage) at the Billy Wilder Theater at UCLA in Westwood. A luminous and rarely screened crime drama starring Dane Clark, Gail Russell and Ethel Barrymore.

Tues., Oct. 22 @ 1 p.m.: “Shockproof” (1949, Douglas Sirk) plays at LACMA’s Bing Theater. Written by Helen Deutsch and Samuel Fuller; starring Cornel Wilde and Patricia Knight.

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailTwitter

The Aero hosts an evening with Sofia Coppola in person

Sofia Coppola

Having just seen “The Bling Ring,” Sofia Coppola’s terrific new neo-noir based on real events, I am especially excited about An Evening with Sofia Coppola, presented by the American Cinematheque.

The night begins with 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, as two Americans who cross paths one night in a luxury hotel bar in Tokyo and form an unlikely friendship. The film earned Coppola an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Next up is “The Virgin Suicides,” Coppola’s adaption of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel exploring adolescent repression and rebellion in an upper-class Detroit suburb in the 1970s. The local boys are mesmerized by the mysterious Lisbon sisters, who are kept on a short leash by overprotective parents James Woods and Kathleen Turner. When one of the girls (Kirsten Dunst) strikes up a relationship with one of the guys (Josh Hartnett), it sets in motion a chain of events that ends in tragedy.

There will be a discussion between films with Coppola.

An Evening with Sofia Coppola takes place on Wednesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica.

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailTwitter

Film noir gets a Hawaiian punch Saturday at the Egyptian

New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago … these are the cities we usually associate with the grim, glamorous tales of film noir.

But when you get the rare chance to see a noir with a more exotic setting, it’s all the more memorable. The American Cinematheque is offering just such a viewing opp when it goes tiki on Saturday, June 1.

Noir stalwart Marie Windsor stars in this unusual example of the genre.

The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood is showing “Hell’s Half Acre” (1954, John Auer), which was filmed in filmed in Honolulu. Evelyn Keyes stars as a dancer combing the streets of Honolulu’s red-light district to hunt for her missing G.I. husband (Wendell Corey), who she believes is alive and writing songs in Hawaii.

Turns out, he’s also a gangster vying with Philip Ahn for control of the island’s vice rackets. Toss sultry, statuesque Marie Windsor into the mix, and it’s pulp nirvana, says the Cinematheque.

The party starts at 5 p.m. in the Egyptian’s courtyard, where there will performances from King Kukulele & the Friki Tikis and the Polynesian Paradise Dancers, tiki vendors and a cash bar with Polynesian drinks. A slide show and a 50th anniversary tribute to the Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room by Bob Baker’s Marionettes will precede the 7:30 p.m. screening.

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailTwitter

Noir City: Three weeks of divine darkness in Hollywood

Noir City: Hollywood, now in its 15th year, hits Los Angeles on Friday, April 5, with a Cy Endfield double feature: “Try and Get Me” and “Hell Drivers.” Presented by the American Cinematheque in collaboration with the Film Noir Foundation, the film festival runs until April 21. That’s three weeks of divine darkness to enjoy with FNF chief Eddie Muller and FNF co-director Alan K. Rode.

Robert Siodmak

They are bringing a slew of rarely screened gems to the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, including the FNF’s new 35mm restorations of “High Tide,” “Repeat Performance” and “Try and Get Me!” There’s also a night of African-American noir (“Native Son” and “No Way Out”) as well as show business noir (“Sunset Blvd.” and “The Other Woman”). Additionally, the fest is paying tribute to writer Cornell Woolrich (“Street of Chance” and “Night Has A Thousand Eyes”) and to director Robert Siodmak (“Cry of the City” and “The Killers”).

New this year is a special night of 3-D noir at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica (“Man in the Dark” and “Inferno”) and a closing-night film noir party on April 21.

See you in the dark!

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailTwitter

Lee Marvin on the big screen at American Cinematheque

Lee Marvin

One of the screen’s top tough guys, Lee Marvin (1924-1987) is being honored with a film program at the American Cinematheque. The series starts Friday, Feb. 8, and runs until Feb. 21; movies will be shown at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica and the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

The tribute to Marvin will include “Point Blank,” “The Killers,” “Cat Ballou,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” a rare print of “Hell in the Pacific” and “The Professionals.”

The New York native and former Marine (a Purple Heart recipient) was working as a plumber’s assistant when he stumbled into acting. Marvin was a natural for roles in war movies and later expanded his range to tackle more complex, nuanced parts. One of our faves: the menacing, misogynistic Vince Stone, who scalds his girlfriend Debby (Gloria Grahame) with hot coffee in 1953’s “The Big Heat.”

Jim Jarmusch

Director Jim Jarmusch once told me at a film festival (with a not completely straight face) that he had founded a group called the Sons of Lee Marvin for tall dudes with deep voices. Maybe Jarmusch will show up at a screening, provided he can find a seat with extra leg room.

Special guests to honor Marvin include “Cat Ballou” director Elliot Silverstein, author Dwayne Epstein, actor Clu Gulager and Lee Marvin’s son, Christopher Marvin. Epstein will sign copies of his book “Lee Marvin: Point Blank” at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Aero Theatre lobby before the “Point Blank” screening.  I am eagerly awaiting my review copy of Epstein’s book and am told I will receive a copy to give away to a reader. Stay tuned.

See the American Cinematheque website for the complete Lee Marvin lineup. Additionally, there are French crime films and thrillers featured in the AC tribute to composer Michel Legrand, which runs Feb. 8-26.

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailTwitter

Slices of Los Angeles and a screening of ‘Mildred Pierce’

Photo from www.bettycrocker.com

On Saturday, June 16, at 2 p.m. the American Cinematheque will host a presentation on Los Angeles restaurants of the 1920s-1940s and screen the film-noir classic “Mildred Pierce.”

To kick off the event, Veronica Gelakoska, author of “Pig ’n Whistle,” and writer/preservationist Chris Nichols will give an illustrated talk on the Pig ’n Whistle, Melody Lane, Hody’s and other retro spots.

“Mildred Pierce” stars Joan Crawford as a divorced mother who waits tables and bakes pies to support her demanding daughter’s desires. She becomes a successful Los Angeles restaurateur and trouble ensues.

In honor of Ms. Pierce, slices of fruit pies will be sold at the screening. Fast forwarding to LA restaurants of today, I recently reviewed Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood and thought I would share the review. Mmm.

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailTwitter

On the radar: Books, a blogathon and a bash; Billy Wilder, Bono and Bogart

Must-read material: The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox by Nina Burleigh. Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, a British student who died on Nov. 1, 2007 in Perugia, Italy. They are appealing their convictions. As Burleigh told Elle magazine: “She was investigated, arrested and convicted as part of a massive multicultural misunderstanding, abetted by her own quirky personality. … Your identity as a young, attractive woman does not belong to you.”

Diana Vreeland

Diana Vreeland invented the concept of a fashion editor, putting her indelible stamp on Harper’s Bazaar from 1936 to 1962 and Vogue, where she became editor-in-chief, from 1962 to 1971. In the September issue of Harper’s, Lisa Immordino Vreeland conjures a portrait of the famous sartorial icon. When Carmel Snow offered her the Harper’s job, Diana Vreeland replied, “But Miss Snow, except for my little lingerie shop in London, I’ve never worked. I’ve never been in an office in my life. I’ve never dressed until lunch.”

Lauren Bacall

Immordino Vreeland’s book, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel will be published on Oct. 1. (I hope the copy editor for the book was better than the one at Harper’s; there were two glaring errors in that piece.) It was during Vreeland’s tenure at Harper’s that Lauren Bacall’s career was launched after appearing on the cover, shot by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, in March 1943.

Happy birthday, Mr. Ray: In honor of director Nicholas Ray, who would have turned 100 on Aug. 7, Tony Dayoub of Cinema Viewfinder is running a Nicholas Ray Blogathon Sept. 5-8. Ray directed many noirs (“They Live By Night,” “Knock on Any Door,” “A Woman’s Secret,” “In a Lonely Place,” “Born to be Bad,” “On Dangerous Ground,” “Bigger Than Life”). I look forward to submitting my piece and reading other contributors’ work.

Go on, it’s good for the economy: FNO returns on Sept. 8! Fashion’s Night Out is a global initiative created in 2009 as a partnership between American Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, NYC & Company, and the City of New York to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, boost the industry’s economy, and put the fun back in shopping. Find out what’s going on in your city and check out the merch.

With love from USPS: Billy Wilder gets his own stamp starting next year. Wilder won Academy Awards for directing “The Lost Weekend” and “The Apartment.”

Other Wilder favorites include: “Some Like It Hot,” “Double Indemnity,” “Sunset Blvd.,” “Ace in the Hole,” “Irma la Douce,” “Sabrina” and “The Seven Year Itch.” Part of a four-stamp Great Film Directors series, Frank Capra, John Ford and John Huston will also be honored.

Doc takes center stage: The Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 8-18. The opening night film is “From the Sky Down,” Academy Award-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s documentary about Irish band U2. It’s the first time in 36 years that the festival will open with a documentary.

Bogey as Spade and Marlowe: The American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre in Santa Monica is showing on Sept. 8: “The Maltese Falcon” (1941, John Huston) and “The Big Sleep” (1946, Howard Hawks). Double crossing, dubious motives and dry wit abound.

Diana Vreeland photo by Horst P. Horst

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailTwitter