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 Maltese Falcon” (1941, John Huston). Sunday, Jan. 11, 12 p.m. (9 a.m.).
“The Maltese Falcon,” a spectacularly entertaining and iconic crime film, holds the claim to many firsts.
It’s a remarkable directorial debut by John Huston, who also wrote the screenplay. It’s considered by many critics to be the first film noir. (Another contender is “Stranger on the Third Floor” see below.) It was the first vehicle in which screen legend Humphrey Bogart and character actor Elisha Cook Jr. appeared together – breathing life into archetypal roles that filled the noir landscape for decades to come.
It was veteran stage actor Sydney Greenstreet’s first time before a camera and the first time he worked with Peter Lorre. The pair would go on to make eight more movies together. Additionally, “Falcon,” an entry on many lists of the greatest movies ever made, was one of the first films admitted to the National Film Registry in its inaugural year, 1989. Read the rest of the review here.
Saturday, Jan. 10
8 p.m. (5 p.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).
12:30 a.m. (9:30 p.m.): “The Blue Gardenia” (1953, Fritz Lang). Working girl Anne Baxter lets her guard down and gets mixed up in the murder of slimy Raymond Burr. The rest of the lineup includes Richard Conte, Ann Sothern, Nat King Cole and George “Superman” Reeves. Not Lang’s best, but you won’t want to miss it anyway.
Sunday, Jan. 11
2 a.m. (11 p.m.): “Knife in the Water” (1962, Roman Polanski). Polanski’s great youthful thriller about three people on a boat in the water, with a knife aboard. The trio includes a nasty young hitchhiker and a malaise-ridden bourgeois couple who are going sailing (Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka and Zygmunt Malanowicz). It’s a sunny day; the sexy wife wears a skimpy bikini; the hitchhiker plays with the knife; the tension keeps mounting and mounting. Polanski’s high visual gifts and his flair for dark moods and rising tension were already in full play here. A world-wide art house hit, this film, co-scripted by Jerzy Skolimowski (Walkover) is a classic of brooding menace and erotic threat. (In Polish, with subtitles.).
3:45 a.m. (12:45 a.m.): “Purple Noon” (1960, Rene Clement).
Tuesday, Jan. 13
2:15 a.m. (11:15 p.m.): “The Chase” (1966, Arthur Penn). Robert Redford plays an escaped convict whose race toward his Deep Southern home throws the town into turmoil. Jane Fonda is his old pal; Marlon Brando is the liberal sheriff trying to put a lid on the fireworks.
Poorly re-edited, but still an underrated socially conscious neo-noir, adapted by Lillian Hellman from a Horton Foote story. The cast includes Robert Duvall, Angie Dickinson and Janice Rule.
Wednesday, Jan. 14
8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “The Lady from Shanghai” (1948, Orson Welles).