In his introduction, Eddie Muller called the British film Corridor of Mirrors (1948) “probably the most unknown film on our (Noir City DC) schedule.” Muller also explained that British noir differs from American noir in several different ways, particularly in the British artistic response(s) to World War II, which often included art, fantasy, and obsession as ways to cope with war.
Sunday was my final day at Noir City DC 2016 and the final day that Eddie Muller would be on hand to introduce films. The viewing day began with a film I’d never seen, Specter of the Rose (1946), written, produced and directed by Ben Hecht. Hecht’s work is now legendary, but at the time he was a newspaper man writing for the Chicago Tribune. Screenwriter/director/producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz urged Hecht to write screenplays for Hollywood, telling him, “There’s millions to be grabbed out here and your only competition are idiots!”
Eddie Muller made his first Noir City DC 2016 introduction on Friday night by focusing on the larger scope of this year’s festival: the Art of Darkness, a theme that explores not just the arts in film noir, but more importantly the loneliness and isolation of being an artist, the terrors of collaboration, the darkness of the creative soul. Good stuff. Although Muller noted that some of the 23 films shown at Noir City DC are straight-up noir movies that have little or nothing to do with the arts, The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) certainly does. (Most of what you’ll read here are paraphrases of Muller’s comments, some of which I couldn’t take down fast enough.)
Although the turnout for Monday night’s films was disappointing, it was a Monday night, and, as one of my friends reminded me, any opportunity to see these films on a large screen is an opportunity worth celebrating.
I saw 205 movies in 2015. Many bloggers no doubt watched more, some maybe watched less. You can read about every movie I watched here – if you’re really bored this early in the New Year – or I can just take you on a quick journey of the highlights.
Be warned: I love lists, so I’m making plenty of them in December, both for movies and comics/graphic novels. Most of this month’s posts will no doubt include some type of Best of 2015 list, so if you’re into lists like I am, kick back and enjoy.
I’m starting off my Best Movies of 2015 (which will have several categories in the coming days and weeks) with the Best Theatrical Experiences I had this year. I qualify this by saying that (1) I go to very few movies in theaters, for which I have no excuse, since (2) I could walk to the nearest movie theater. Don’t get me wrong: I love seeing movies in theaters on big screens, but I prefer to do so with other people who love movies as much as I do, not with people who are going to talk, text, and who knows what else during the film. So, here we go…
I only watched two non-film noir movies in November, so if you’re not interested in noir, this will be a really short read.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Stanley Kubrick
I’ve had three “Holy Grail” movie goals for years, films that I’ve longed to see on a big screen with a big audience: Citizen Kane (which I saw back in April), Lawrence of Arabia, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Love it or hate it, you really should – if at all possible – try to see 2001: A Space Odyssey on as large a screen as possible. The AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center screened the film in 70MM last night and it was glorious. Last night marked the third (or maybe fourth) time I’d seen the film, but I’d never seen it like this before.
Sometimes the closer you live to the site of a film festival, the harder it is to participate in it. Although I live less than an hour’s drive from the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center, I was only able to attend two days of Noir City DC. Yet in those two days, I saw some amazing films and met some wonderful people. My wife and I are planning on flying out to San Franscisco in January to attend at least part of Noir City 14. (I’ll be there for the noir; my wife – not a film fan – for the sightseeing and hiking.)
For anyone considering the next Noir City DC, rest assured that the festival is well-run, organized, and very user-friendly. The main theater is simply gorgeous, a spacious art deco masterpiece that you could spend hours examining. The two smaller theaters – although nowhere near as extravagant as the main viewing hall – are clean, comfortable and inviting. All the threater employees I encountered were nothing less than friendly and helpful.
Now on to the films I saw on Sunday, October 25:
Woman on the Run (1950)
Directed by Norman Foster
Produced by Howard Welsch, Ann Sheridan
Screenplay by Norman Foster, Alan Campbell
Based on a short story by Sylvia Tate
Cinematography by Hal Mohr
Edited by Otto Ludwig
Music by Arthur Lange, Emil Newman
In his book Film Noir FAQ (2013) , David J. Hogan writes, “At this writing, Woman on the Run is commercially available, via a poor print, on budget DVD. A good print is hidden in a vault somewhere. Let’s find it.” (p. 293)
That’s exactly what Eddie Muller set out to do. Continue reading