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NOT NECESSARILY NOIR @ the Roxie in SF ? Aug 20 - Sept 2

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Hey everyone -


Next month the Roxie Theater in San Francisco plays host to my latest film series--

*NOT NECESSARILY NOIR!* Two thrilling weeks of dark and disturbing motion picture

entertainment featuring films in a variety of unusual genres (horror, science fiction,

westerns) as well as films made in COLOR in the years long past the period generally

associated with film noir.


Here's the line-up:


*Friday, August 20*

*INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS* (1956) Don Siegel's original

version of what is, for many, the ultimate sci-fi noir of the period!

*THE CREEPING UNKNOWN* (1956) Val Guest directs this eerie

UK horror-scifi-noir hybrid and it's a major creep-fest. Brian Donlevy

stars as the enigmatic Professor Quartermass.


*Saturday, August 21*

*MIRAGE* (1965) Director Edward Dmytryk's wide-screen black & white

homage to Hitchcock starring Gregory Peck and Diane Baker. Amnesia

noir at its best. Great score by Quincy Jones.

*13 WEST STREET* (1962) Unsung Alan Ladd late-model noir. It was his

second from last film and he really looks haggard in this. Directed by

Philip Leacock.


*Sunday & Monday, August 22 & 23*

A pair of unjustly ignored films from director Jack Garfein!

*THE STRANGE ONE* (1957) Ben Gazzara as a sociopathic military

cadet determined to destroy all those around him. Awesome!!

*SOMETHING WILD* (1961) Carroll Baker as a rape victim who winds

up in a relationship with mentally unstable Ralph Meeker. Incredible!


*Tuesday, August 24*

*THE DAY OF THE OUTLAW* (1959) Andre DeToth's snowbound western

noir stars the iconic Robert Ryan. One of Hollywood's great, forgotten films.

*TERROR IN A TEXAS TOWN* (1958) Sterling Hayden stars in Joseph H.

Lewis' wholly eccentric western drama. Justice comes at the end of a harpoon!


*Wednesday, August 25*

*THE SADIST* (1963) Arch Hall, Jr. in one of the most disturbing terror films ever

made. Photographed in stunning black & white by Vilmos Zsigmond.

*A TOWN HAS TURNED TO DUST* (1958) Rediscovered TV Noir from "Playhouse

90." Written by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer. Dynamic tale of

small-town racial prejudice. William Shatner stands out as the rabid leader of a

lynch mob!


*Thursday, August 26*

*THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK* (1941) Brilliant horror-noir hybrid with Peter Lorre as

an idealistic immigrant who becomes a savage criminal after being hideously disfigured

in a fire. Evelyn Keyes is in it, too. Directed (with flair) by Robert Florey.

*HOUSE OF HORRORS* (1946) This was Rondo Hatton's last film. The actor suffered

from the degenerative disease acromegaly and required no make-up. A real oddity.


*Friday, August 27*

*OBSESSION* (1976) Brian DePalma's odd take on Hitchcock's "Vertigo" starring Cliff

Robertson and Genevieve Bujold. Written by Paul Schrader. Score by Bernard Herrmann.

*LAST EMBRACE* (1979) Director Jonathan Demme's turn to pay regards to the Master

of Suspense. Starring Roy Scheider and Janet Margolin.


*Saturday, August 28*

*BREATHLESS* (1983) Jim McBride's incredible remake of Godard's new wave trend-setter.

Am I the only one who prefers this version? Richard Gere and Valerie Kaprisky star.

*ROMEO IS BLEEDING* (1993) Gary Oldman and Lena Olin re-imagine film noir by turning

every classical notion on its ear. Peter Medak directs, and how!


*Sunday & Monday, August 29 & 30*

*BAD LIEUTENANT* (1992) Harvey Keitel as the eponymous, nameless cop in Abel Ferrara's

brutal and brilliant tale of redemption.

*BLUE COLLAR* (1978) Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto in Paul Schrader's

unforgettable dissection of the American Dream. One of the 70s most shamefully overlooked



*Tuesday, August 31*

*THIEF* (1981) Michael Mann's first feature as a director is also one of his best! James Caan,

Tuesday Weld and Willie Nelson star in this rugged, visually exhilarating crime saga. Tangerine

Dream does the music.

*CUTTER'S WAY* (1982) John Heard, Jeff Bridges, and Lisa Eichhorn all take home the acting

honors in Ivan Passer's heartbreakingly real drama of post-Vietnam War disillusionment.


*Wednesday, September 1*

*MICKEY ONE* (1965) A couple of years before they altered cinema history with "Bonnie & Clyde,"

Warren Beatty and director Arthur Penn teamed up for this one-of-a-kind existential crime drama.

*THE WOMAN CHASER* (1999) Based on Charles Willeford's demented novel of the same name,

this is one whacked-out, retro noir classic in the making. Patrick Walburton (Putty, on the "Seinfeld"

show is the star).


*Thursday, September 2*

*HARDCORE* (1979) George C, Scott as the straighlaced Michigan businessman who comes to LA

in order to rescue his teenage daughter from the evils of prostitution! "Oh my God, that's my daughter!" Peter Boyle plays a sleazy private eye. Paul Schrader wrote and directed.

*ROLLING THUNDER* (1977) Brutally violent shocker finds William Devane in the unenviable position of seeking vengeance on those who murdered his family. Tommy Lee Jones plays his buddy. Schrade rwrote it; John Flynn directed.

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Any program with a salute to Jack Garfein is near-perfect.


Any program with a salute to Jack Garfein _and_ *The Sadist* IS perfect.


Wish I could be there to wallow in the dark.

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Thanks ChiO - You probably don't realize it but you were the biggest reason I got so turned on by Garfein's film *SOMETHING WILD*. Had you not recommended it so highly I might not have checked it out further on TCM. Now it's going up on the big screen and we have you to thank!

Maven - your appreciation is greatly appreciated!

The Roxie Theater has finally posted the info on this series on their website; here's the link:


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  • 3 weeks later...



I'll be there and I'll try to bring Marco, too! I love *Cutter's Way* and have for more years than I can remember. I still remember the first time I saw it on the big screen in the City of Angels when it was on its original run.


Sorry I'll miss *Obsession* as it is probably my favorite DePalma homage film and John Lithgow is memorable in one of his earliest roles. And *Breathless*. I'm one of the few people who enjoys the remake. I would love to see it just for all the City of Angels locales that are no longer there. -Whimper, whimper.


But, I'll be there for Robert Ryan.

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Time for a first weekend report on *NOT NECESSARILY NOIR* at the Roxie. While the crowds haven't been as huge as this past Spring's program, the audience response, I'm happy to say, has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Friday night's opening program of *INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS* (1956) and *THE CREEPING UNKNOWN* (1955) was met with loud approval. One of the risks of programming a film like *BODY SNATCHERS* is that it's a film that has been wildly over-saturated on cable TV and home video. Finding someone who's never seen it would be a challenge, and it was apparent that most of the people in the audience were quite familiar with this truly frightening classic. Folks who have only seen it on their television monitors at home might not realize that it was shot in a wide-screen ratio and looks fantastic on the big screen, ratcheting up the terror and suspense enormously. The co-feature, *THE CREEPING UNKNOWN*, is less known to movie goers and is another film that benefits tremendously from the big screen treatment. All-in-all a perfect way to kick things off.


Saturday's program offered up a pair of seldom-revived 60s films. *MIRAGE* (1965), directed by noir stalwart Edward Dmytryk who employs many of the sinister cinematic tricks made popular by Alfred Hitchcock, pitting Gregory Peck against a seemingly unsolvable mystery revolving around a diabolical case of amnesia. Diane Baker co-stars and she's really a sight to behold, her beautiful dark features perfectly suited to Joseph MacDonald's sumptuous black & white cinematography. This one's a winner and the crowd ate it up. The co-feature, *13 WEST STREET* (1962) suffers only by comparison; a somewhat low-key revenge story with Alan Ladd at the sad tail end of his career. It's only periodically interesting, only coming to life near the end as Ladd finally unleashes his rage against the vicious punks who have ransacked his life. The prints on both of these films were spotless and gorgeous!


On Sunday (and again tonight) Roxie patrons were given the rare opportunity of seeing one of the most challenging films of the 1960s, Jack Garfein's disturbing *SOMETHING WILD* (1961). Garfein is an interesting fellow and I'm privileged to say that he's become a friend of mine over the past several weeks. When it was announced that this film (as well as the Garfein-directed co-feature *THE STRANGE ONE* (1957)) were to be revived in San Francisco, I received a very warm email from Mr. Garfein thanking me for including his films in our program. Jack, at 80 years old, is still very active in the world of the theater. Back in the late 50s he was credited with founding the West Coast branch of the Actor's Studio and watching his films (especially *SOMETHING WILD* ) is much like a crash course in The Method. Carroll Baker (who was married to Jack at the time) stars along with Ralph Meeker (who at one time understudied for Brando in STREETCAR and eventually took over the role) in a drama about a young college girl who is raped on her way home one night and the curious aftermath of this event. The film is staggeringly real in its refusal to offer up simple answers for complicated questions. Much of it seems to verge on improvisation despite the fact that Eugen Schuftan's incredible cinematography transforms it into a cinematic wonder. The effects are devastating: ordinarily films that are so dominated by performance and content lose sight of the fact that they are first and foremost examples of cinematic art. *SOMETHING WILD* gives us so much more to ponder thanks to its commitment to cinematic excellence. But this would be the last feature film Garfein would ever direct. The film made absolutely no money and angered many in the otherwise sedate Hollywood community who saw this film as an awkward attempt to "Europeanize" the American film industry. Shortly afterward Garfein moved to Paris and London where he founded acting studios which are still thriving today. Just this month he published a wonderful book (from Northwestern University Press) called Life and Acting: Techniques for the Actor. The audience yesterday was understandably mesmerized by the film and honestly, I can't think of another American film from this period that deals so frankly with difficult and adult material. Next month (Sept 18 & 19), Jack will be honored at the Billy Wilder Theater at UCLA with screenings of both these films. I urge any and all Los Angelenos to attend!

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