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: Preminger Noir on Saturday, April 19
Otto Preminger, a prickly auteur with a sometimes mean disposition, claimed not to know what “film noir” meant and often ridiculed interviewers who asked him about it. But in the ’40s and ’50s, the Viennese émigré and nemesis of censors and philistines directed a string of stylish black-and-white, gloomily fatalistic crime pictures that epitomized the whole genre. Two of Otto’s best are showing this Saturday, and you can watch them as a double feature, starting at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST.
First up is Preminger’s adaptation of Vera Caspary’s best-selling novel of murder and romance in high-style ’40s New York City, “Laura.” This classic is followed by the sharp, moody Ben Hecht-scripted drama of obsessive police and ruthless gangsters “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” Both movies star Dana Andrews as a tough cop and Gene Tierney as a glamour girl, and both of them helped define noir – even if Preminger couldn’t or wouldn‘t.
“Laura” (1944, Otto Preminger). 8 p.m. (5 p.m.), Saturday, April 19. With Tierney, Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price and Judith Anderson.
“Where the Sidewalk Ends” (1950, Otto Preminger). Saturday, April 19. With Andrews, Tierney, Gary Merrill and Karl Malden.
And showing at 8 a.m. (5 a.m.) on Saturday, April 19: “The Loved One” (1965, Tony Richardson). With Robert Morse, Rod Steiger, Jonathan Winters, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson and Liberace. Reviewed in FNB on Dec. 26, 2013.
Sunday, April 20
12 a.m. (9 p.m.): “Spione” (“Spies”) (1928, Fritz Lang). Lang, the cinematic Godfather of Noir, scales the peaks of silent movie melodrama and intrigue in this terrifying classic about spies chasing each other, romancing each other, outwitting each other and, occasionally killing each other. Willy Fritsch is the gentlemanly spy hero, Gerda Maurus is the spy who (maybe) loves him, and the scarily wheelchair-bound Rudolf Klein-Rogge (Dr. Mabuse himself) is the villainous spy-master who menaces the whole world and especially Fritsch. In one of the original audiences for “Spione,“ perhaps, may have been Adolf Hitler, a fan of movies and spying who especially liked Lang’s “Metropolis.“ (Silent, with intertitles and music score.)