Washington DC (actually Silver Spring, MD, if you want to get technical) will be transformed into Noir City, complete with shadows, femmes fatales, and maybe a few fedoras. It all starts tomorrow at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Just look at all those great titles! You can find the complete schedule here. If that’s not enough to get you excited, film historian and noir expert Foster Hirsch will be on hand to introduce films on Oct. 14 and 15, and the Czar of Noir himself, Eddie Muller, will attend the following weekend.
My love for movies is so strong and intense that I frequently have to leave the room when someone’s discussing TV shows. Although I have taken some steps this year, watching four complete seasons of TV shows (which seems like a minuscule drop in a very large bucket), I can’t help thinking of all the time I could’ve been watching movies. Still, those shows are tempting, but not nearly as tempting as watching (and collecting) classic TV shows.
Gaslight (1944) George Cukor
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
It was a great pleasure not only to see a wonderful film like Gaslight (1944) at the AFI Silver, but also to hear a panel discussion afterward on an important topic: domestic violence in general and “gaslighting” in particular. If “gaslighting” is an unfamiliar term, it is “a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.” (Oxford Dictionary)
October is off to a good start with some classic horror titles, a rewatch of a 70s horror classic, a bit of film noir, and the movie everyone’s talking about. Read on…
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) (2x)
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Produced by Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper, Jay Parsley, Richard Saenz
Written by Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper
Cinematography by Daniel Pearl
Edited by Larry Carroll, Sallye Richardson
Music by Wayne Bell, Tobe Hooper
I was 12 years old when The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released and my friends and I knew we somehow had to see it. The title alone was enough to scare the crap out of us. I grew up in the South where we all knew what a chainsaw was capable of doing. I am convinced most of our fourth grade vocabularies didn’t contain the word “massacre” before hearing about this movie. Although we were too young to see the film, we couldn’t escape it. Newspaper ads claimed “By far the most horrifying film ever made!” Radio and TV ads were brief, containing voiceover narration such as “What happened was true,” and “the most bizarre and brutal series of crimes in America,” followed by lots and lots of screaming. The film was highly controversial and was (at least for a time) banned in at least 11 countries. As far as I know, it never came to my hometown theater, which meant I’d have to travel to Jackson, Mississippi (about 35 miles away) to have any chance of seeing it. Although those chances were slim, I was both excited and terrified by the possibility of one day watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches (documentary 2016)
Directed by Robert de Young
Produced by Stephan Wellink & Robert de Young
Executive Producer Alan Finney
Edited by Leon Burgher
When you see Rod Taylor for the first time, you simply can’t turn away. It’s not even an option. Regardless of whether you’re watching him in a romantic comedy, an action-adventure bonanza, a drama, or one of his many television appearances, your eye is naturally drawn to him. It’s impossible to look anywhere else. Taylor’s business manager Murray Neidorf remembers, “People in the industry saw him and said ‘Wow…’” Angela Lansbury sums it up best: “He’s a man’s man. He’s a woman’s man. He’s an ideal man.”
It may seem that September offered a lower-than-usual number of movies, but when you consider that I actually watched four seasons of TV (I previously discussed The Night Of and Alfred Hitchcock Presents Season One), I saw quite a lot. In order to get October off to a good start, I’m limiting my comments to the bare minimum.
If you missed Part I or Part II from September, look no further. Part II is going to go by quickly, so here we go…