I’ve got a huge struggle that few people understand, but maybe you do. My struggle is this: I’m interested in far too many things for one lifetime. It’s a real problem. I love my library job, I love books, I love comics, and I love movies. Especially movies. Of all the things I love, it’s the subject I loved first, starting as a very young child. It’s ingrained, I can’t shake it, I can’t be cured. And I think I can honestly say I get more excited about movies every year and that’s saying something. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, as I said before, I think you understand.
So with that in mind, I thought I’d share my year in movies with you. (And I’d love to hear about your year in movies as well.)
Picking up where Part I left off, leading off with the films I saw at Noir City 14 in San Francisco:
Noir City 14 was filled with many great moments and wonderful films, but by far the festival’s highlight was the North American premiere of the Argentine film Los tallos amargos (The Bitter Stems or The Bitter Stalks) from 1956.
Noir City 14 presented me with a couple of challenges. I wanted to get my money’s worth from the festival, yet I also wanted to explore San Francisco with my wife, who is not a movie fan. So I made a decision to skip a couple of films, one of which I had already seen recently, The Dark Corner (1946), which you can read about here.
Even so, I was able to catch the last 30 minutes or so of the film, plenty of time to see William Bendix get what was coming to him at the hands of Clifton Webb. (Sorry, slight spoiler there…)
In his introduction to the next film, Eddie Muller admitted that Crack-Up (1946, directed by Irving Reis) is not one of his favorite noir films, but it does fit the Noir City 14 theme of art. The film begins with an agitated man (Pat O’Brien, below on his back) smashing the glass door of the Manhattan Museum and assaulting a museum guard. Once the museum staff rush to the scene, they discover that this crazed man is none other than George Steele, art critic, forgery expert, and lecturer at the museum.
Ever since film noir began to wrap its dark tendrils around my neck a couple of years ago, I knew it would eventually lead me deep into the heart of Noir City. This year, I could no longer resist. Although I could only attend six days of the festival’s ten-day schedule, I got a good sense of what Noir City, its films and its people, are all about.
Although I was only able to attend six days (out of ten) of Noir City 14 in San Francisco, I had a great time, saw some great films, and have lots to report during the next few days, including my Alfred Hitchcock San Francisco tour, a brief conversation with Eddie Muller, and much more. Right now, I need a little sleep…