“City Across the River” with a young Tony Curtis, left.
Shady dames and slick gunsels are now on screen during the 15th Annual Film Noir Festival spooling at American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Usual suspects like “Sunset Boulevard” and “The Killers” are joined by rare archival prints of many films chosen by Czar of Noir Eddie Muller and Los Angeles Kingpin Alan K. Rode.
The opening weekend featured Cy Endfield’s shocking and powerful “Try and Get Me,” based on an actual 1934 kidnapping and murder in San Jose. A very young Lloyd Bridges plays a flashy yet psycho hoodlum who guides struggling ex-vet Frank Lovejoy into a life of crime. “The Other Woman,” a poor man’s “Sunset Boulevard,” features Cleo Moore as a bad actress out to punish the director for denying her a small part. “Repeat Performance” could be called the “It’s a Wonderful Life/Groundhog Day” of noir, in which Joan Leslie relives a year of her life wondering if outcomes will change.
Special screenings of upcoming films not on DVD include 1949’s “City Across the River,” featuring a young Tony Curtis, and a double dose of Cornell Woolrich, with Burgess Meredith and Claire Trevor starring in “Street of Chance” (1942), followed by L.A. Daily Mirror favorite Gail Russell in 1948’s “Night of a Thousand Eyes.”
Other rare noirs include “Chicago Calling” (1952), with Dan Duryea portraying an unemployed, alcoholic photographer prowling the streets of Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill, “Appointment With a Shadow” (1951), a Cinemascope noir, “Guilty Bystander” (1950), with Zachary Scott playing an alcoholic ex-cop out to find his kidnapped son, “Cry of the City” (1948), an Expressionist story of good and evil, with Victor Mature and Richard Conte chasing each other over Manhattan’s dirty streets, a foreign version of “Native Son” (1951), featuring an appearance by novelist Richard Wright himself, and “No Way Out” (1950), in which a young Sidney Poitier makes his feature film debut.
For a crackling ending to proceedings, the festival concludes with a screening of “Roadhouse” (1950), followed by what the Film Noir Foundation is calling “Jefty’s Roadhouse” in the Egyptian’s courtyard, which includes Italian dinner, martinis, Dean Mora’s hot Swingtet, sultry vocalists, burlesque, bowling, and an interactive movie mystery caper. Check out the American Cinematheque’s website for further information and to purchase tickets.