Our friendly West Coast correspondent and film programmer, Elliot Lavine , has alerted me to his latest upcoming investigation into the square root of Film Noir at the Roxie Theater in San Franciso, scheduled from Friday, May 14th-Thursday, May 26th, 2011.
Update! June, 2011: Elliot Lavine is interviewed at MUBI here
Elliot has researched, pleaded and beguiled various studios and archives to come up with a remarkable set of rare films for this year's I Wake Up Dreaming - 2011: The Legendary and the Lost! He tells me that the vast majority of movies this time are 35mm studio archive prints and all but approximately three titles are unavailable on DVD. Among the 28 films, the restless spirit of Cornell Woolrich will be celebrated in several films, including the excellent Phantom Lady (1944) and haunting Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), neither of which are available on DVD, for reasons too arcane to describe.
Once again, congratulations to Elliot for compiling this unique feast of films! Below is the list of scheduled films and the times of the screenings:
FRI MAY 13
Quintessential mid-40s classic noir from the erotically obsessed poison pen of Cornell Woolrich! An unhappily married man returns home from an evening on the town with a mysterious, nameless woman and finds the cops in his living room and his wife in the bedroom—strangled to death! Cher chez la femme? Starring Franchot Tone, Ella Raines, Alan Curtis, and Elisha Cook, Jr. Directed by Robert Siodmak. In B&W. 35mm STUDIO ARCHIVE PRINT. 88 mins. 1944. NOT ON DVD! FRI at 8:00 only!
Cinema-rich nightmare of a young woman’s plunge into madness is a visually sensational voyage to dreamland and a movie unlike any you’ve seen. Shot silent and scored by George Antheil, it also features the raging beatnik bop of Shorty Rogers in an unforgettable set piece that eerily recalls tonight’s co-feature. Totally beat, and how. With Adrienne Barrett, Bruno Ve Sota, Ben Roseman. Written and directed by John Parker. We’re pleased to be presenting the original version of DEMENTIA—not the re-cut, Ed MacMahon-narrated version that was retitled “Daughter of Horror.” 35mm archive print. In B&W. 56 mins. 1955.
FRI at 6:40 and 9:45
SAT MAY 14
MINISTRY OF FEAR
A sadly neglected masterwork of dark suspense from one of the true founding visionaries of the film noir style—Fritz Lang! A man just released from a psychiatric asylum stumbles blindly into a terrifying Nazi plot in wartime London. A sizzling blend of hyperbolic expressionistic imagery and propagandist zeal from a director who understood all too well the terrors of encroaching fascism. Starring Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, Carl Esmond, and Dan Duryea. Directed by Fritz Lang. In B&W. 35mm STUDIO ARCHIVE PRINT. 85 mins. 1944. NOT ON DVD! SAT at 3:45, 7:45
STREET OF CHANCE
SAT at 2:15, 6:00, 9:30
SUN MAY 15
THE NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES
THE AMAZING MR. X (THE SPIRITUALIST)
MON MAY 16
MON at 6:30 and 9:45
TUE MAY 17
THE GREAT FLAMARION
ONCE A THIEF
WED MAY 18
Not even a substantially bigger budget and a star-packed cast could deter the uncontested Master of Maudit, Edgar G. Ulmer, from creating one of his most unique masterworks. The story of a young man, his unexpected rise to prominence and his subsequent downfall at the hands of those he once exploited, has been called the director’s Citizen Kane. Starring Zachary Scott, Louis Hayward, Diana Lynn, and Sydney Greenstreet. Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. In B&W. Presented in a beautiful, restored 35mm PRINT courtesy of the UCLA Film Archives. 104 mins. 1948. NOT ON DVD! WED at 8:00 only!
A famous actress lies near death after a terrible car crash. She tells the girl reporter who comes to interview her a horrible, long-buried secret—one that will eventually pull her into a terrifying web of corruption, insanity, and murder! An unusual and seldom seen rarity—filmed in Quebec—that will remain in your memory long after your dark walk home. Starring Paul Lukas, Mary Anderson, and Helmut Dantine. Directed by Fyodor Otsep. In B&W. 16mm print. 98 mins. 1947. NOT ON DVD! WED at 6:10 and 9:55
THUR MAY 19
Blaming himself for the death of his partner, a reckless U. S. Customs Agent hatches a plan that will enable him to snag the killers and bust a huge smuggling ring in the bargain. This snappy B programmer—with plenty of verve to spare, delivers the goods and then some. Starring William Eythe, Marjorie Reynolds, Griff Barnett. Directed by Seymour Friedman. In B&W. 35mm STUDIO ARCHIVE PRINT. 71 mins. 1950. NOT ON DVD. THURS at 8:00 only!
SMOOTH AS SILK
A rarely screened, ingenious B noir that offers up a short but twisted tale of duplicity involving a dangerous femme fatale and her uncanny ability to manipulate the fates of no fewer than three formidable chumps at one time! Swift and unpredictable, this film is a well-kept secret destined to become a fixture in the noir universe. Starring Kent Taylor, Virginia Grey, Milburn Stone, John Litel. Directed by Charles Barton. In B&W. 35mm STUDIO ARCHIVE PRINT! 64 mins. 1947. NOT ON DVD! THURS at 6:40 and 9:30
FRI MAY 20
This frisky and swiftly-paced Columbia B potboiler tells the sordid tale of a down-on-her-luck young woman who works as a “percentage girl” at the Club 46—hustling unsuspecting boozers and setting them up for the big roll at the hands of the goons who work the door. Coming at the very start of the noir cycle, this curio survives as a knowing nod to what was lurking just down the alley. Starring Ann Dvorak, Preston Foster, and Bruce Bennett. Directed by Sidney Salkow. In B&W. 35mm STUDIO ARCHIVE PRINT! 65 mins. 1940. NOT ON DVD!
FRI at 6:40 and 9:40
SAT MAY 21
RIDE THE PINK HORSE
I LOVE TROUBLE
SUN MAY 22
711 OCEAN DRIVE
An ambitious working stiff quickly rises to the top of the L.A. gambling rackets only to be challenged by ruthless gangsters looking to take control of his burgeoning criminal empire. Tough and hard-boiled from the pseudo-docu-noir school, it shows its iconic star to full advantage. Starring Edmond O’Brien, Joanne Dru, Otto Kruger. Directed by Joseph M. Newman. In B&W. 35mm STUDIO ARCHIVE PRINT. 102 mins. 1950. NOT ON DVD.
SUN at 3:45 and 7:30
An elaborate frame-up sends an eager but hasty lawyer headlong into a morass of mayhem and murder when he agrees to be the armed bodyguard for an eccentric millionaire. As usual our hero is in way over his thick head as every turn he takes pulls him closer to certain death! Featuring an all-star cast at peak form: Edmond O’Brien, Ella Raines, William Bendix, and Vincent Price. Directed by Michael Gordon. In B&W. 35mm STUDIO ARCHIVE PRINT. 87 mins. 1947. NOT ON DVD!
SUN at 2:00, 5:45, and 9:30
MON MAY 23
Johnny Legend presents two ultra-lost 35mm gems of prime 50s sleaze-noir!
THE VIOLENT YEARS
If this ultra-bizarre girl-gang opus reminds you of an Ed Wood film it’s because Wood wrote it (but didn’t direct) in the prime of his incredible career. See what happens when neglected teenage girls turn their anger and frustration to lives of vicious crime and shockingly vulgar sexuality! Starring Jean Moorhead, Arthur Milan, Theresa Hancock, Timothy Farrell. Screenplay by Edward D. Wood, Jr. Directed by Thomas Morgan. Presented in a RARE 35mm PRINT! In B&W. 65 mins. 1956. MON at 8:00 only!
DANCE HALL RACKET
The brilliant sick comic Lenny Bruce appeared in only one dramatic feature, and this is it: an early 50s sub-poverty row curio that must be seen to be believed! Bruce, who also wrote it, plays a hopped-up sadistic killer, the henchman of a local gangster whose sleazy dance-hall is really a front for a illicit rackets. Honey Bruce, Lenny’s then real-life wife, plays a stripper while his mom, one-time vaudeville performer Sally Marr, plays the club hostess. Ultra-lost! Directed by Phil Tucker. In B&W. Presented in a RARE 35mm print! Approx 60 mins. 1953.
MON at 6:40 and 9:20
TUE MAY 24
CELL 2455, DEATH ROW
Exciting, two-fisted B crime drama about a tough, crusading newspaper reporter who goes undercover in a rural prison chain gang in order to expose the sadistic conditions there. When his ruse is discovered his chances of survival grow increasingly dim. Starring Douglas Kennedy, Marjorie Lord, Emory Parnell. Directed by Seymour Friedman. In B&W. 35mm STUDIO ARCHIVE PRINT. 70 mins. 1950. NOT ON DVD. TUES at 6:30 and 9:30
WED MAY 25
WORLD FOR RANSOM
Incredibly rare low-budget cold-war drama that oddly presages its notorious director’s next film, KISS ME DEADLY (see tomorrow!) with its timelier than ever doomsday preoccupations. A brash soldier-of-fortune in Singapore finds himself tied up in a plot to kidnap a scientist—one of only three people in the world who know how to detonate an Atomic Bomb! Starring Dan Duryea, Patric Knowles, Marian Carr, Gene Lockhart. Directed by Robert Aldrich. In B&W. Digital transfer from one of the only known film prints. 82 mins. 1954. NOT ON DVD!
WED at 8:00 only!
THE 49th MAN
THUR MAY 26
KISS ME DEADLY
Mickey Spillane’s brutal private dick, Mike Hammer, blasts his way through the darkest and most corrupt corridors of Los Angeles in search of the “great whatsit,” an elusive and explosive key to nothing less than the end of the world. One of Noir’s most deliberately adult films, visually and thematically innovative—then and now. Starring Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Maxine Cooper, Gaby Rodgers, and Jack Elam. Directed by Robert Aldrich. In B&W. 35mm STUDIO ARCHIVE PRINT. 106 mins. 1955. THURS at 8:00 only!
WITNESS TO MURDER
One of the great, unsung noirs of the 1950s is this sizzling psychological stunner. Brilliantly photographed by John Alton, it stars Barbara Stanwyck as a woman who witnesses a murder one night when she sees her neighbor in an apartment across the street strangle a woman to death. But will anyone other than the killer believe her? Similar to and released the same year as Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW, it actually trumps that film in sheer perversity. The incredible supporting cast includes George Sanders, Gary Merrill, and Juanita Moore. Directed by Roy Rowland. In B&W. 35mm STUDIO ARCHIVE PRINT. 83 mins. 1954. NOT ON DVD.
THURS at 6:15 and 10:00
More details about this event and upcoming films at the Roxie Theater can be gleaned here.