Noir City Annual 2015 – Eddie Muller, editor
Film Noir Foundation, 2016
Paperback, 271 pages
If you’ve ever watched one of Eddie Muller’s introductions on TCM’s Noir Alley (every Sunday at 10am EST, by the way) or FilmStruck, listened to one of his DVD commentaries, or heard him introduce a film in person, you know that Muller’s love of film noir is personal, passionate, and boundless. Now imagine a book filled with men and women just like Muller who share his passion for film noir. That’s what you get when you pick up any Noir City annual.
When first looking over the Noir City schedule, you might come away disappointed, not in the selection of titles, but in the number of films shown per day. With the exception of Saturdays, Noir City features two films a day, generally showing around 7:15pm and 9:00pm or thereabout. (The two Sunday films are repeated later in the day.) But remember, you’re in San Francisco, one of the most fascinating cities on the planet, so go explore it! In the two years I’ve attended Noir City, I have also gone on a wine tour, an “Alfred Hitchcock’s San Francisco” walking tour, visited the Museum of Modern Art, Alcatraz, a Japanese garden, John’s Grill, ran a 5K, spent time in Chinatown, and much more.
The deeper you immerse yourself into any subject, the more you discover you don’t know about that subject. I’ve been watching movies for most of my life and have occasionally picked up books about them, but such books were never a serious focus. During the past few years, I’ve been very aware that there’s so much about film that I don’t know. I’ve started reading more these past few years and this year I read several books on film. None of them were a waste of time and several of them were very good. I’d like to share with you my favorite books on movies I read in 2016 (although only a few of them were actually published in 2016).
I’ve seen a lot of great gift guides floating around lately. Two in particular are excellent for the lover of classic film: first the Classic Movie Gift Guide from The Blonde at the Film and then the 2016 Classic Film Holiday Gift Guide from Out of the Past. Both of these excellent gift guides inspired me to create my own, one dedicated solely to film noir. Now understand that as much as I love film noir, I am not an expert. I am still in the infancy stages of learning about film noir, so my suggestions are far from comprehensive. Yet I hope they will be helpful.
We’re almost finished with October, which means the horror movies will have their reign for just a bit longer. After that, it will be time for some real scares, true horror, nail-biting paranoia, gut-wrenching (insert your own clichés) goodness: film noir.
November is, of course, Noirvember, a month filled with film noir of all kinds. I don’t know if I’ll be able to match last year’s 30 Films in 30 Days, but I get all giddy just thinking about it. You’d think I’d want a break after Noir City DC, but I’m an addict: I just have to have more film noir.
Two clarifications are in order. First, when reporting the events of Noir City DC 2016, I want to give you a taste of Eddie Muller’s film introductions that is as accurate as possible while providing some thoughts of my own. I’ll try to make it clear when I am quoting or paraphrasing what Muller said. My opinions will hopefully be read only as my opinions; I’m not trying to put words in Muller’s mouth. (When in doubt, listen to Muller, not me!)
Second, last Sunday marked the fourth time I’ve seen The Narrow Margin in 20 months. I am still not tired of it and could watch it again right now. If you’ve never seen it, I hope Muller’s thoughts on the film (and maybe even mine) will convince you to seek it out.