Manhandled (1949) Lewis R. Foster
Writer Alton Bennet (Alan Napier) confides to his therapist Dr. Redmond (Harold Vermilyea) that he’s having nightmares of killing his wife Ruth (Irene Harvey), who just happens to own a very impressive collection of jewelry. Sure enough, Mrs. Bennet turns up dead and, of course, Alton is the leading suspect, but Detective Lieutenant Bill Dawson (Art Smith) thinks Alton is innocent.
Repeat Performance (1947) Alfred L. Werker
Ok Ru (1:32)
Repeat Performance asks a question we’ve probably all asked at some point: What if I could live part of my life over and change the outcome? This happens to Sheila Page (Joan Leslie) on New Year’s Eve as she finds herself holding a gun, standing over her dead husband Barney (Louis Hayward). In a panic, she flees the scene and seeks out her friend, a poet named William Williams (Richard Basehart in his first film). During this frantic moment, Sheila wishes she could go back and live 1946 all over again, but with a different outcome.
Although Noir City DC 2017 has come to an end, I’m still working my way thorough my notes and hope to report the films I haven’t already discussed. One of the highlights of the festival was seeing one of my all-time favorites on the big screen for the first time: Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past, which marked not only the film’s 70th anniversary, but also the Robert Mitchum Centennial.
Film Noir Foundation President Eddie Muller congratulated Todd Hitchcock, the AFI Silver’s Director of Programming, for finding a 35mm print of a film Muller wanted to show at Noir City 15 back in January, Any Number Can Win (Mélodie en sous-sol), the second film in Saturday’s Alain Delon double feature. Muller treated us to a Walter Matthau double feature on Friday, so here’s an Alain Delon double feature, which caused Muller to joke, “Walter Matthau, Alain Delon… They’re like brothers, right?”
I ask you, how many times in your life have you ever read or heard the words “Walter Matthau Double Feature”? You can’t exactly envision people lining up and down the block for such a double bill, but I’d say the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center brought in well over 100 people for both The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) and Charley Varrick (1973) last night.
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.
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)
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).