Saturday Matinée • January 27, 2024 DOUBLE FEATURE
ACROSS THE BRIDGE
This adaptation of a Graham Greene tale improves upon the original thanks to some added plot twists. Rod Steiger gives a compelling performance as an arrogant industry captain caught embezzling. Fleeing to Mexico he impulsively switches identities with another rider and throws the body off the train. Unfortunately, his choice of victim lands him in a worse predicament. The film won rave reviews and great box-office receipts in England but remains virtually unknown in the U.S. Leave it to NOIR CITY to fix that!
UNITED KINGDOM (1957) Dir. Ken Annakin. 103 min.
ZERO FOCUS / ZERO NO SHÔTEN
This many-layered mystery is only one of several crime-laced dramas by the great (if still largely unheralded) director Yoshitarô Nomura. Newlywed bride Teiko Uhara sees her husband Kenichi off on one last business trip to his old office in Kanazawa; she eagerly anticipates his return so they can start their new life. But Kenichi mysteriously vanishes and when the police move too slowly, resourceful and tenacious Teiko begins her own investigation. This cross between slow-burning character study and thriller is a tense and spellbinding experience. In Japanese with English subtitles
JAPAN (1961) Dir. Yoshitarô Nomura. 95 min.
Saturday Evening • January 27DOUBLE FEATURE
ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS / ASCENSEUR POUR L'ÉCHAFAUD
Louis Malle bridges classic noir and the French New Wave with peerless style. An adulterous couple's slick plot to murder the woman's husband collides with a pair of bungling teens acting out their nihilistic crime-movie fantasies. Jeanne Moreau is immortalized as she takes the greatest nocturnal stroll in cinema history as Miles Davis' improvised score caresses her like a night breeze. Meanwhile, Maurice Ronet's attempts to escape a stalled elevator become a mesmerizing visual poem of entrapment. French noir doesn't come any cooler than this. In French with English subtitles.
FRANCE (1958) Dir. Louis Malle. 91 min.
A programmer with no well-known actors, this obscurity exploits a unique premise: A trio of crooks knocks over a suburban London bank at Saturday closing, leaving the manager and his secretary locked in the vault. Dissention roils the gang, however, when they realize Monday is Easter holiday and the captives will suffocate before being discovered. Not wanting to add murder their résumés, the crooks must break back into the bank while still evading capture. A film that had been all-but-forgotten—until this NOIR CITY revival!
UNITED KINGDOM (1962) Dir. Vernon Sewell. 80 min.
Sunday • January 28DOUBLE FEATURE
murder by contract
1:30, 5:30, 9:00 PM
Cold, ruthless New Yorker Claude (Vince Edwards) has no prospects—so he decides to stake his place in the world as a contract killer—but when he's sent to sunny Los Angeles to off a gangland witness, a sudden case of "ethics" could prove fatal. A low-budget gem (shot by veteran DP Lucien Ballard in only seven days) featuring a strangely hypnotic pace and haunting musical theme by guitarist Perry Botkin. A personal favorite of Martin Scorsese who's admitted this film's stylistic influence on Taxi Driver.
UNITED STATES (1958) Dir. Irving Lerner. 81 min.
3:15, 7:00 PM
BRAND-NEW 35mm RESTORATION A strange, spellbinding, and singular cinematic experience. Vittorio, a conservative and bourgeois Italian attorney (Enrico Maria Salerno), has a day to waste in Los Angeles while in transit to Mexico City. After making his first mistake—walking—Vittorio is absorbed into the orbit of a group of sexy and slightly sinister Italian ex-pats hustling to survive in modern America. Presaging later works such as Scorsese's After Hours and Lynch's Mulholland Drive, this is an astounding rediscovery, gorgeously restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive. In Italian and English, with English subtitles
ITALY (1962) Franco Rossi. 104 min.
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NC 21 poster by Bill Selby