Monday, Jan 28 — PRE-CODE PROTO-NOIR TRIPLE BILL
A HOUSE DIVIDED
D. William Wyler. 1931, Universal, 70 min.
One of the first talking pictures from legendary director William Wyler tells the magnificently melodramatic tale of a widowed fisherman (Walter Huston) on a small Pacific Island whose new mail-order bride (Helen Chandler) prefers the conjugal bed of the old man's son (Douglass Montgomery). The pitched battle between father and son leads to a crippling accident that brings the guilt and desperation to a boiling point, propelling the trio toward a stunning (and brilliantly realized) climax.
LAUGHTER IN HELL
D: Edward L. Cahn. 1933, Universal, 70 min.
Recently rediscovered after all existing prints were thought lost, this extraordinary rarity starts with Barney Slaney (Pat O'Brien) murdering his wife and her lover and being sentenced to a life of hard labor. A terrific adaptation of the novel by cult writer Jim Tully, which has inexplicably languished in obscurity for decades. The only way to see it? In this theater, tonight!
THE KISS BEFORE THE MIRROR
D: James Whale. 1933, Universal, 67 min.
Attorney Paul Held devises an "insanity" defense for a man accused of killing his adulterous wife. As Held builds the case, he suspects his own wife of cheating . . . and decides a "not guilty" verdict will allow him to murder his adulterous spouse! Director Whale brings high style to this clever tale, shot on the same sets where he created Frankenstein. The racy courtroom drama provides a rare serious role for Frank (The Wizard of Oz) Morgan and a small but luminous role for Gloria (Titanic) Stuart.
TRIPLE FEATURE FILMS
NOT AVAILABLE ON DVD
Tuesday, Jan 29 — AFRICAN-AMERICAN NOIR
D: Pierre Chenal. 1951, Argentina Sono Films [Library of Congress], 91 min.
Richard Wright's 1940 novel Native Son was a literary sensation when first published, providing African Americans with a startlingly symbolic narrative and powerful new voice. A film version, however, was impossible, as the story delved into deep-seated fears—on the part of both blacks and whites—that American movies were not prepared to face. South America, however, had no such qualms, and in 1951 ex-patriate Frenchman Pierre Chenal and Argentinian producer Jamie Prades set about adapting the harrowing tale, with Buenos Aires standing in for Chicago. It is equal parts noir thriller and social commentary, depicting the existential and societal pressures faced by a black man trying to survive in a culture dominated by whites.
INTRUDER IN THE DUST
D: Clarence Brown. 1949, MGM [WB], 87 min.
Nobel prize winner William Faulkner's 1948 novel is a high-minded piece of crime fiction, written as atonement for the mistreatment of blacks in his native South. Proud African American farmer Lucas Beauchamp (Juano Hernandez, in a memorable portrayal) is a defiant Mississippi landowner accused of murdering a white man. When the county's most prominent lawyer (David Brian) refuses to defend him, it's up to a young boy (Claude Jarman Jr.) to stand up to the vigilantes and help solve the crime.
WEST COAST PREMIERE
Wednesday, Jan 30 — SAN FRANCISCO NOIR
D: Edward Dymtryk. 1952, Columbia [Sony], 97 min.)
1:30 PM, 7:00
San Francisco is the backdrop for one of the first movies about a modern serial killer. Decades before such stories became commonplace, husband and wife writers Edna and Edward Anhalt researched dozens of actual cases to create this psychological "exposé" of a murderous misfit who wants to be caught, but finds it too easy to slip into the margins of a bustling post-WWII metropolis. Arthur Franz gives an edgy performance as the psychologically scarred sniper, whose murderous trail leads viewers on a fascinating tour of mid-century San Francisco, from Pacific Heights through the back alleys of North Beach to the once-industrial China Basin.
EXPERIMENT IN TERROR
D: Blake Edwards. 1962, Columbia [Sony], 123 min.
3:30, 9:00 PM
A San Francisco bank teller (Lee Remick) is forced to be an accomplice to a daring robbery scheme when her sister (Stefanie Powers) is taken hostage by a perverted criminal genius. Glenn Ford is the taciturn old-school FBI agent charged with hunting down the mysterious mastermind. Typically light and breezy Blake Edwards shows masterful skill with suspense, ratcheting up the tension to Hitchcockian heights while making abundant and evocative use of actual San Francisco locales. More than a time capsule of the city circa 1962, this is arguably the most intense thriller ever set in San Francisco. NOIR CITY is proud to have been chosen by Sony Pictures to debut its digital restoration of this spine-tingling suspense classic!
4K DIGITAL RESTORATION!!
Thursday, Jan 31 — BAD GIRLS NIGHT
THE OTHER WOMAN
D: Hugo Haas. 1954, 20th Century-Fox, 81min.
When megalomaniacal film director Walter Darman (Hugo Haas) fires no-talent actress Sherry Stewart (Cleo Moore) from his latest artistic opus, the shamed sexpot schemes revenge! She drugs Darman, convinces him they've shared a night of scandalous debauchery, and begins the blackmail. But this is a director with experience at rewriting other people's scripts!
NOT ON DVD
THE COME ON
D: Russell Birdwell. 1956, Allied Artists [UCLA], 83min.
This late-in-the-cycle James M. Cain-style noir gets an ultra-rare screening at NOIR CITY via the last surviving 35mm print in existence! Sexy married cougar Anne Baxter catches the eye of sun-baked seafarer Sterling Hayden and—wouldn't you know it!—before their swimming suits are dry they're plotting the murder of her husband. Not available in any other media; this is your sole chance to see Anne Baxter pant her way through dozens of double-crosses . . . on the giant Castro Theatre screen!
NOT ON DVD