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The Haunted World of the B Film Noir this May in SF


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The Wednesday lineup was awesome! Monogram's Violence made the most of its unusual milieu, and it was fun to see Nancy Coleman's character struggle with a double identity and amnesia, not to say anything about the undercover agent who comes to her rescue.

 

Republic Picture's The Last Crooked Mile was a doozy - really enjoyed Ann Savage in this one, and there were many interesting twists and turns along the way as the characters look for a $300,000 loot cleverly hidden in a running board; complete with a visit to the roller-coaster and a frantic oceanside chase. It packs a wallop, and it's barely over an hour long!

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As Holly mentioned, last night's double feature at the Roxie was a total crowd pleaser on every level. What I'm finding most interesting about this series is the fact that our audiences are so completely into the films. Often times B pictures are regarded condescendingly by so-called sophisticated cosmopolitan filmgoers. But the Roxie crowd has been respectful to the Nth degree, laughing when the jokes are legitimately funny and cheering wildly when the action gets cranked up! Tonight's program is a true example of the "ridiculous and the sublime" -- Marie Windsor in the outrageously outre 1955 Republic noir *NO MAN'S WOMAN* (the ridiculous!) and Don Siegel's 1954 classic *PRIVATE HELL 36* starring (the sublime!) Ida Lupino! What a great way to spend a warm Thursday evening in San Francisco!

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Dewey, I think the audiences at the Roxie are certainly awesome, and while at least part of it might be due to the more intimate size of the theater, I think you too deserve a lot of the credit. You've introduced most of the movies shown and your incredible enthusiasm for the genre always shines through; you also bring a lot of vitality and good humor to the introductions (although to be fair, Peter is also quite funny when substituting for you).

 

It was also good to hear about the 35mm print of The Hoodlum, I'm sure it's going to look _amazing_ on the Roxie screen.

 

The Thursday bill was quite lively, Marie Windsor in No Man's Woman is so greedy, vulgar and conniving, she comes close to giving femmes fatale a bad name. Private Hell 36 benefits from a terrific cast (in addition to Don Siegel's sure-footed direction) that includes Howard Duff (whom I've always felt was practically born to star in noir films) and Dean Jagger. Ida Lupino is great, as usual, while Dorothy Malone makes the most of her brief screen time.

 

Burnett Guffey may not be as familiar a name as John Alton when it comes to DPs who shot noirs, but it's interesting to note that he shot Private Hell 36 shortly after winning the Oscar for From Here to Eternity, and shooting the Fritz Lang noir Human Desire. (His later credits would include Tight Spot, The Harder They Fall and Bonnie and Clyde, for which he won another Oscar).

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Wow, a great show last night at the Roxie! A nearly sold-out house had the pleasure of catching Don Siegel's sadly ignored crime noir *PRIVATE HELL 36* (as nicely noted by Holly, below) and the very tart and tawdry *NO MAN'S WOMAN*, featuring one of the wonderful Marie Windsor's most outre performances! The crowd really devoured these gems, and how!

 

Thanks for your nice comments about the series, Holly. This has truly been a very exciting program to put together and I'm thrilled you're enjoying the films!

 

Tonight's pairing should pack the house: a beautiful 35mm print of the incredible 1951 poverty row noir *THE HOODLUM* starring the incomparable Lawrence Tierney (!!!) and the ultra-rare 1955 opus *NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL*. This promises to be a night never to be forgotten by hard-core noirists!

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I think it's safe to say that last night's program at the Roxie was one of the most eagerly anticipated double features of the entire series. *NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL* (1955) is a film that is never broadcast on TV and has never been available on any home video format. Which is fairly shocking given its incredible cast: Broderick Crawford, Richard Conte, and Anne Bancroft. On the surface it's not much more than the typical "expose" film of the period---organized crime running rampant in the Big City---but in reality it winds up being an incisive human drama filled with harshly rendered violence and flamboyantly entertaining performances. The co-feature was the Lawrence Tierney poverty row classic *THE HOODLUM* (1951), a gripping film of relentless emotional power. We were initially going to be screening a 16mm print of this, but at the last minute we were able to unearth a gorgeous original 35mm print! This is one grim, shocking little film---full of material that would never have passed censorial inspection had it emanated from any one of the major studios. The crowd at the Roxie certainly got their money's worth last night, and how!

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It was great to see The Hoodlum in full 35mm glory. But don't get me wrong, all the ones being shown on 16mm also look great. A friend of mine was commenting the other day, in regards to all the noirs being shown at the Roxie, how even 16mm looks so much better than anything you can get in a home video format, even when it's an official studio release!

 

Even with its short running time, The Hoodlum packs a wallop, and it's fascinating to see Lawrence Tierney acting alongside his real-life brother, Edward, playing his brother. The whole movie is told in flashback, but you almost forget you've been watching a flashback until near the end, when the title character's actions start to really catch up with him with a vengeance. And wasn't Lisa Golm absolutely wonderful as the brothers' mother?

 

Watching New York Confidential was also a blast; why this movie seems to have been largely forgotten is beyond me. I see on imdb that it was originally released theatrically by Warner Bros.; wonder if they still own the rights? But the cast is simply awesome, led by the great Broderick Crawford, with Richard Conte (17 years before being cast in The Godfather as another New York mobster, Don Barzini), a very young and lovely Anne Bancroft, and the great supporting player J. Carrol Naish.

 

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Great news - the Roxie theater has just announced 6 additional days of screenings as part of the B Noir festival, with encore presentations of some of the most popular noirs shown over the regular 2-week run of the festival:

 

 

*Schedule*

 

*Friday, May 29*

THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE An innocent young dupe gives a ride to a vicious criminal and unleashes a nightmare of violence and depravity! One of the most blatantly nasty B films of all time, with a singularly fierce central performance from its legendary dark star, Lawrence Tierney. Co-starring Ted North, Nan Leslie, Betty Lawford. Directed by Felix Feist. 62 mins. 1947. 8:00

 

FRAMED A down-on-his-luck drifter falls into the clutches of a scheming woman who has constructed an elaborate frame designed to net her and her bank robber boyfriend a cool quarter million in cash. All they need to do is put the drifter in the frame. Excellent unsung B noir! Starring Glenn Ford, Janis Carter, Barry Sullivan. Directed by Richard Wallace. 82 mins. 1947. 6:20 & 9:35.

 

*Saturday, May 30*

ALL NIGHT LONG This darkly penetrating film is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's OTHELLO, set in the freewheeling underworld of London's swinging jazz scene. The film stars Patrick McGoohan, Keith Michell, Betsy Blair, Richard Attenborough and features on-screen performances by Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Johnny Dankworth and many other great jazz musicians. Directed by Basil Dearden. 85 mins. (2:10), 5:05, 8:00

 

THE HOODLUM Lawrence Tierney returns as the eponymous title character of this unheralded poverty row noir about an unrepentant sociopath, bent on bringing doom and destruction to everyone in his path! Rarely have an actor and his role meshed so perfectly. Also starring Allene Roberts, Marjorie Riordan, Edward Tierney (the star?s real-life brother). Directed by Max Nosseck. 61 mins. 1951. 3:50, 6:45 & 9:40

 

*Sunday, May 31*

NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL Organized crime gets the film noir treatment in this sensational expose of the murderous racketeers who once held a mighty metropolis in its evil iron-clad grip! B noir seldom got as heady as this rarely seen exciting opus! Starring Broderick Crawford, Richard Conte, Anne Bancroft, Marilyn Maxwell, J. Carroll Naish. Directed by Russell Rouse. 87 mins. 1955. (1:35), 4:45, 8:00.

 

PRIVATE HELL 36 From the director of the mind-blowing ?Invasion of the Body Snatchers? comes this sharply drawn crime drama about a pair of cops who abscond with a cache of stolen loot. In typical noir fashion, the gravity of their deed drives them to the edge of panic! Starring Ida Lupino, Steve Cochran, Howard Duff, Dorothy Malone, Dean Jagger. Directed by Don Siegel. 81 mins. 1954. 3:15, 6:25, 9:45

 

*Monday, June 1*

ALLOTMENT WIVES Former Hollywood superstar Kay Francis made a final stop at poverty row to star in (and produce) this sadly neglected B noir! She plays a socialite who secretly heads a nasty gang of women who prey on returning WWII servicemen. Violence, blackmail and murder highlight this sordid tale of shame! With Paul Kelly, Otto Kruger, Gertrude Michael. Directed by William Nigh. 83 mins. 1945. 8:00

 

PORT OF 40 THIEVES A cunning femme fatale with a penchant for murder has devised a foolproof scheme that could net her a fabulous fortune! Or has she? A sublimely perverse and very rarely seen poverty row noir with a mind-boggling myriad of twists and turns! Starring Stephanie Bachelor, Tom Keene, Lynne Roberts. Directed by John English. 60 mins. 1944. 6:45 & 9:35.

 

*Tuesday, June 2*

THE LAST CROOKED MILE Even though she?ll always be best remembered as the demonic Vera in ?Detour,? Ann Savage turns in a great performance as a slinky cabaret singer in this energetic B noir about the frantic chase for $300,000 in stolen loot, culminating in a wild scene at a sleazy carnival. Also in the cast are Don ?Red? Barry, Sheldon Leonard, Adele Mara, John Dehner. Directed by Phil Ford. 67 mins. 1946. 8:00

 

THE GUILTY Twin sisters?one good, the other bad?dangerously hold a man?s fate in their hands. But which one is which? This rare poverty row gem is one of the eeriest and most disturbing of the many fine films adapted from the obsessively demented Cornell Woolrich?s provocative pulp fiction. Starring Bonita Granville, Don Castle, Regis Toomey. Directed by John Reinhardt. 70 mins. 1947. 6:35 & 9:15.

 

*Wednesday, June 3*

THE SPECTER OF THE ROSE A fascinating foray into the darkly demented world of dancers, in which at least one of whom might (or might not) be a psychotic murderer! Very strange, this is a noir of an entirely different stripe; all on a B budget! Excellent cinematography by Lee Garmes. Starring Judith Anderson, Michael Chekhov, Ivan Kirov, Lionel Stander. Written and directed by Ben Hecht. 90 mins. 1946. 8:00.

 

THE MADONNA'S SECRET The masterful John Alton provides some astonishing camerawork for this strangely hypnotic noir mystery about a famous painter who can?t seem to get the image of his dead fianc?e out of his mind. When his models, one by one, start turning up dead, he becomes Prime Suspect #1. Starring Frances Lederer, Gail Patrick, Ann Rutherford, Linda Stirling. Directed by William Thiele. 79 mins. 1946. 6:25 & 9:45

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Saturday's program was simply awesome. The Burglar is truly a forgotten gem of late-50s noir, which as Dewey pointed out in the program also would influence New Wave Cinema a few years later.

 

The first film in the festival in a 1.85:1 ratio, if memory serves, The Burglar opens with some mock newsreels that immediately draw you into the story, even as they help set up the plot. The performances are great, especially Dan Duryea and Jayne Mansfield in the lead roles; I also enjoyed Phoebe Mackay as Sister Sara (the victim of Duryea's robbery) and Stewart Bradley as a double-crossing police officer.

 

Towards the end of the film, as the action moves into an amusement park, there were many eerie and bizarre sights, and the movie proved that it made a better use of that setting than The Last Crooked Mile.

 

The Burglar was Paul Wendkos' first directorial effort; he'd later go on to make Gidget and The Mephisto Waltz, and then worked mostly on television.

 

Watching Witness to Murder on the big screen was also a revelation; I'd seen the movie on TCM before, but wondered how John Alton's amazing photography would look like in a darkened theater. Based on my memory of what the movie looked like on TCM, I'd say that the theatrical print is quite darker, but also reveals more contrast (perhaps not surprisingly, since it's possible whomever controls this UA title didn't put much effort into the video transfer).

 

I've sometimes suspected that Barbara Stanwyck and George Sanders, both of whom I admire and enjoy watching very much, might have been slightly miscast in their roles here, but that's a really small quibble. Watching them in a B noir is great no matter what.

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Saturday's pairing of *THE BURGLAR* (1957) and *WITNESS TO MURDER* (1954) drew perhaps our largest overall crowd yet. We were able to screen Sony's beautiful 35mm widescreen print of *THE BURGLAR* and many of those in the audience who had never seen it before now proclaim it to be among their most favorite films ever, noir or otherwise. Cinematically jaw-dropping in every respect, it is a film that will haunt you forever. Director Paul Wendkos (this was his feature debut) drew upon many intriguing references, most notably techniques employed by Orson Welles, to tell this disturbingly morbid tale. Those not familiar with the fiction of David Goodis (he adapted the screenplay from his novel of the same name) are well advised to catch up with this very interesting writer. Among his other novels adapted for the big screen are Jacques Tourneur's *NIGHTFALL*, Delmer Daves' *DARK PASSAGE* and Francois Truffaut's *SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER*. Goodis' novels were always far more appreciated by the French, making the Truffaut film something of a deeper homage than what appears on the surface.

*WITNESS TO MURDER* came to us via a sterling 16mm print. As Holly noted, it was considerably more contrast-y than what we've seen broadcast on TCM and that totally worked in the film's favor, mainly because of the strength of John Alton's brilliant cinematography. At times Alton had the audacity to keep the action in the frame lighted by nothing more than a match or a single bulb from a table lamp, creating a sense of menace and dread completely lacking in more expensive suspense films. Its themes of emotional detachment and paranoia are beautifully developed despite the rather outrageous story line. This is yet another film screaming out for a DVD release; it's unfathomable to me that so many noir fans are unaware of this atmospheric classic.

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Two more Eagle-Lion noir masterpieces on Sunday, both with a hint of what would someday be known as the "Twilight Zone" touch.

First up was *REPEAT PERFORMANCE* (1947), a rarely seen gem starring Joan Leslie (the young lame girl from the 1941 Bogart gangster epic *HIGH SIERRA* ), Louis Hayward and Richard Basehart. This ingenious film suggests that given the opportunity to live a difficult and tortured year all over again, things just might work out differently. Without even a hint as to how or why this is happening, the film brings together a dizzying array of eccentric characters and motivations and, at the last possible moment, pulls the rug out from under our feet. The director, Alfred Werker, is perhaps best known as the man who had to be content sharing uncredited directorial chores with Anthony Mann on *HE WALKED BY NIGHT* (1948).

The co-feature, *HOLLOW TRIUMPH* from 1948 (aka THE SCAR) is one of those incredible noir dramas that people seem to have heard of but rarely claim to have seen. (TCM ran it a couple of times recently, so at the very least it's available). The story of a hardened gangster who goes on the lam after a casino heist goes haywire is further complicated by the fact that a noted local psychologist is the absolute spitting image of our anti-hero (Paul Henreid in both roles). Even better is the fact that Joan Bennett is along for the ride and if you're still looking for a reason to check this gem out, the incomparable John Alton shot it and it's loaded with the kind of noir imagery that gave the style its name. B picture work horse Steve Sekely directed tirelessly in every conceivable genre; this is his magnum opus. A four-star winner all the way!

Needless to say, the Roxie crowd was properly wowed.

Tonight's ultra-rare program features "Nazi Noir" ( *WOMEN IN THE NIGHT* ) and--God help us-- "Prostitute Noir" ( *UNDER AGE* ). What a dandy way to spend Memorial Day!

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Dewey,

I couldn't help but notice that both of the movies on Sunday's schedule dealt very specifically with the inevitability of fate. I imagine you may have thought about that when you programmed the festival. (Not only that, both movies also feature characters getting on or wanting to get on a cruise ship near the end of the film) ;)

 

In any event, the Eagle-Lion double-bill sure was breathtaking, both due to the stories being presented, as well as the beautiful black-and-white photography in both of them; it's almost a clich? to praise John Alton's work in a noir; L. William O'Connell's photography for Repeat Performance was definitely top-notch.

 

Also worth noting, I suppose, is the fact that Repeat Performance marked Richard Baseheart's film debut. The movie also has a good supporting part for the great Natalie Schafer, whom I recognized immediately as the future Mrs. Howell in TV's "Gilligan's Island".

 

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Given that Paul Henreid also gets producer credit for Hollow Triumph, I can't help but wonder if the source material so appealed to him that he felt he simply had to play the dual role that is the key to the movie's plot. I won't go into details, but I think he gets it just right all the way, with a very heartfelt and sensitive performance by Joan Bennett along the way.

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Hi Dewey,

 

I just wanted to chime in and say I was able to make it into the City for two of the double bills and thoroughly enjoyed all four films. I caught the Saturday matinees for Raw Deal and Railroaded and then The Burglar and Witness to Murder. I hadn't seen any of the four, and all of them were definitely worth seeing, especially in a theater with excellent prints. Raw Deal lived up to FrankG's' (and some other noir fans) praises, in story, excellent performances, and John Alton's great cinematography. Railroaded and The Burglar had fine performances, right down to all the supporting roles, as well as some really good location shots, and Witness to Murder was suspenseful, brilliantly shot, and featured great work by Stanwyck (who in my opinion, was incapable of ever giving anything less than a terrific performance), Sanders, and Gary Merrill.

 

I asked for you both days I went to the theater, but the few employees who were there said they hadn't seen you. I guess you made your appearances later in the day or for the evening shows. Anyway, you did a great job putting together this program, and I'm certainly glad I got the chance to check out those four films.

 

Regards,

Rick

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Hey Rick -

So sorry that I missed you! On those particular days I wasn't able to make it down for the early matinees, only the evening shows. I'm not sure if you noticed, but we've held the series over for an additional six days beginning on Friday, May 29---with matinee screenings on Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps you'll be able to make it on down for some more of these great noirs! Thanks for being here!

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Last night we presented a pair of insanely rare and obscure noirs with the underlying theme of prostitution running wildly through them. And while the theme manifested in this sensationalized nature, these two films were really much more about the abusive treatment of women at the hands of evil, sadistic men.

*UNDER AGE* (1941) is a seldom seen Columbia B oddity directed by Edward Dmytryk near the beginning of his illustrious yet controversial career. Two young sisters are released from the Girl's Reformatory and are immediately preyed upon by a lascivious group of men (pimps) who offer them employment at "The House By The Side of the Road," a thinly veiled prostitution racket run by Miss Burke, a hardened dame who puts the girls to work dragging suckers in off the road where they are bilked by this treacherous gang (as well as the girls) in one way or another. Things rapidly go from bad to worse for the girls with death and tragedy looming prominently. An absolutely thrilling and fantastic climax had the capacity crowd at the Roxie in a fever pitch!! Outstanding!!

The co-feature was *WOMEN IN THE NIGHT*, a 1948 film about American women held prisoner by Nazi and Japanese soldiers and forced to work as "hostesses" at the Shanghai Officer's Club. Very little is left to the imagination here and the result is a high impact tale of sex and slavery, photographed with maximum noir integrity by the legendary Eugene Shufftan!

All in all, a remarkable night of lurid noir entertainment at the Roxie and needless to say the packed house was delirious with delight.

Our cavalcade of B noir nightmares continues tonight with rare screenings of the poverty row gems *SUSPENSE* (1946) and *THE PRETENDER* (1947).

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Monday night's bill was indeed, something quite unique, and I think the audience reaction totally confirmed it. (Their reaction to the mere mention of Edward Dmytryk was very interesting, as well).

 

I couldn't help but notice, at the end of Women in the Night, that the whole movie was filmed in Ensenada, Mexico, and that Eugene Shufftan shared the cinematography credit with Mexican cinematographer Jos? Ortiz Ramos. I wonder if it is safe to assume that with this being an American production, Shufftan would have photographed most of the movie.

 

All in all, it was a great double bill, and the audience _definitely_ had a great time.

 

P.S. Regarding The Pretender, I believe that's the first noir John Alton shot. Should be exciting!

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Question for you 1960...with the audiences at your show, do they watch the film respectfully, knowing the film was from another time...or do they laugh at it. Are they getting it or making fun of it?

 

Bring it to New York. Bring it to New York!

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CM asked: *with the audiences at your show, do they watch the film respectfully, knowing the film was from another time...or do they laugh at it. Are they getting it or making fun of it?*

 

I can honestly say that the Roxie noir crowd is perhaps the most respectful and reverential audience there is. They laugh when something is legitimately funny and cheer wildly when that particular emotional response is called for. I've sat through many so-called classic noir films at other theaters and the audience reaction can be maddening at best; condescending and smug. The Castro Theater, not far from the Roxie, holds its own Noir festival each year, and I really can't attend for that very reason. It seems to attract the tourists and the squares (along with a great many honest-to-goodness fans in all fairness) but the cumulative experience is, well, distracting at the very least. My hat really goes off to the Roxie audience; they are the best!!

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> {quote:title=Dewey1960 wrote:}{quote}

> I can honestly say that the Roxie noir crowd is perhaps the most respectful and reverential audience there is. They laugh when something is legitimately funny and cheer wildly when that particular emotional response is called for.

 

I can definitely attest to that; discovering such a respectful audiences is always a very nice surprise, anywhere you go. I don't recall audiences so appreciative except for a handful of very special places, like a few arthouse theaters in L.A. and Seattle, and the Film Forum in NYC.

 

And the mere fact that the Roxie audiences turn out in such large numbers for some of the rarest, most obscure titles ever to come out of Poverty Row also speaks for itself!

 

I've heard long-time Roxie fans speak with great fondness about the "good ol' times" (apparently, when Dewey was programming on a full-time basis) when the theater offered a steady diet of classic films, noirs, etc. Many of them sound like they'd love to see that happen again, and that they'd be ready to turn out regularly for that kind of repertory programming.

 

One can always hope... ;)

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Another exceptional double feature *Tuesday night at the Roxie!!* First up was *THE PRETENDER*, a quite rare 1947 poverty row noir from Republic Pictures. Directed by W. Lee Wilder (Billy Wilder's older brother!) and starring the incredible Albert Dekker, it also has the distinction of being the first hard-core noir film shot by John Alton. His work here is deliriously bizarre, creating major mood shifts with sudden dramatic lighting changes and eye-popping shadow play. The story of a corrupt financial advisor who plunders a client's holdings is transformed into an exercise in mounting paranoia thanks largely to Alton's inventive camera work and Dekker's convincing performance. Also on tap was *SUSPENSE*, a 1946 Monogram production starring Barry Sullivan, Belita (the ice skating sensation!) and Albert Dekker. This film was, at the time, the highest budgeted Monogram film and it showed. Directed by Frank Tuttle, it has a fairly sumptuous look for a poverty row production (despite a somewhat muddled story line) and is absorbing from start to finish.

 

*Wednesday night* featured a pair of Monogram noirs produced by and starring Kay Francis: *WIFE WANTED* (1946) and *ALLOTMENT WIVES* (1945). These would be Miss Francis' final Hollywood offerings and it's interesting that she chose to close her career on such a downbeat note--at a poverty row studio. Both deal with shady circumstances surrounding unwholesome enterprises: a lonely hearts club racket and a nefarious crime syndicate preying on the allotment checks of returning WWII vets. In *WIFE WANTED* Kay plays the one who is duped and in *ALLOTMENT WIVES* she?s the ring-leader of a pretty venal band of criminals. Well-paced ( Phil Karlson directed *WW* ) engrossing melodramas of the sort Kay appeared in periodically when she was one of the reigning divas on the (somewhat) tonier backlots at Warner Bros. Needless to say, the crowd ate it up!

 

*Tonight (Thurs)* is our final regularly scheduled night before swinging into *SIX MORE NIGHTS* of ?by popular demand? bring backs!

 

The unsuspecting Roxie crowd will be bludgeoned tonight by a duet of cold war noir curios. Edward Dein's minimalist nightmare *SHACK OUT ON 101* from 1955 is up first and nothing new can be added to what?s already been said about this ultra-bizarre film?alright, how about this: *LEE MARVIN and TERRY MOORE!!* Co-feature is Irving Lerner?s 1959 noir thriller *CITY OF FEAR*. Once again Vince Edwards proves his niche as one of the 1950s nastiest noir anti-heroes. In Kubrick?s *THE KILLING* (56) he sizzles off the screen as Marie Windsor's violent lover, looming large like a black storm cloud of masculine sexual energy in every scene he's in and in Lerner?s *MURDER BY CONTRACT* (58) he goes deep inside as a pragmatic hit man. In this film he plays a desperate escaped con who mistakes a container of *RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL* for heroin! Will the cops be able to bring him down before an entire city becomes infected with radioactive poisoning!?! Only those at the Roxie tonight are likely to ever know the answer to that.

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Dewey,

The last two days have been just terrific. The ending of The Pretender was just delicious, I think the audience loved it (in hindsight, the poster reproduction in the program might have given away just a bit too much - but I hadn't looked at it very closely before watching the movie).

 

Suspense totally lives up to its description as perhaps the biggest-budget movie Monogram ever made; the performances are great, and the singing & dancing number wasn't bad at all...

 

The Kay Francis double feature was also a delight. I had watched Allotment Wives on TCM last time it showed, but nothing compares to watching it with a large, enthusiastic audience! You know Kay's last line in that movie? I loved the audience's reaction! :D

 

I'm sorry to hear that ChiO wasn't able to stay another week, I think he would have had a lot of fun.

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Our film noir series at the Roxie in San Francisco---I WAKE UP DREAMING---went out on a high note Thursday night with the massive pairing of *CITY OF FEAR* (1959) and *SHACK OUT ON 101* (1955), two cold war curios that had the packed house on their feet. This has been a great two weeks of dark fun, but it isn't quite over yet. The crowds have demanded more, so we've cobbled together another six nights of double-shots, a Best of the Fest that (finally!) comes to an end on Wednesday, June 3.

Last night (Friday) we showed *THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE* and *FRAMED*

Sat 5/30: *ALL NIGHT LONG* and *THE HOODLUM*

Sun 5/31: *PRIVATE HELL 36* and *NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL*

Mon 6/1: *ALLOTMENT WIVES* and *PORT OF 40 THIEVES*

Tues 6/2: *THE LAST CROOKED MILE* and *THE GUILTY*

Wed 6/3: *THE SPECTER OF THE ROSE* and *THE MADONNA'S SECRET*

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The last day of the regularly scheduled noirs was indeed quite a delight for everyone there, I think. Some of us might have already watched Shack Out on 101 on TCM, but it was so much more fun to watch it in a packed theater - the audience reaction was really priceless. The scene with the dumbbells seemed particularly hilarious this time. City of Fear was another great delight, especially in that gorgeous-looking 35mm print showed at the Roxie. The movie is truly a product of its time, and I say that in the best possible sense. I believe Sony has already announced plans to release this one on DVD, and I hope a lot more people will be able to watch it when/if Sony goes ahead with the planned release.

 

All in all, this has been quite possibly the best noir fest in a long time for many of those who attended (many of whom will also say it was the best $100 they ever spent!). The six additional days of screenings are the icing on the cake.

 

Thanks to Dewey and all the folks at the Roxie theater for making this event possible - you've made many noir fans extremely happy for the last couple of weeks.

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