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Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 10:25 am
by moira finnie
The Haunted World of the B Film Noir May 15th through May 28th

Take heart, lost and disillusioned aficionados of film noir--especially if you are in the San Francisco area. One of our own from the Silver Screen Oasis, Dewey1960 aka Elliot, has been invited to visit his former stomping grounds, The Roxie Theater, where he programmed films from 1990 until 2003. The occasion also marks the imminent publication of Elliot's fascinating new book called "TV NOIR: I WAKE UP DREAMING".

Dewey/Elliot has selected an eclectic program of B Film Noirs to introduce many of us to the forgotten stepchildren of the genre. The budgets of these films may have been small, but the imaginations and gritty lives that inspired them reveal much about the possibilities of adult themes in cinematic storytelling that continues to capture some fundamental truths about the human experience.

Thursday, May 14 Special Pre-Opening Night Shindig!

Friday May 15:

THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE (1947): a fast-moving character study of life on the road highlighted by one more acid-dipped portrait by the ultimate tough guy Lawrence Tierney as a guy on the lam.

THE GUILTY (1947): The usually sunny Bonita Granville stars as twins in an adaptation of a Cornell Woolrich story ("He Looked Like Murder") that allows the actress to use that nervous energy of hers for a darker characterization (or two). This film, complete with voice-over narration, dark streets, flashbacks, psychic war wounds, bartenders who listen to one's troubles and, of course, a series fateful twists, sounds delicious.

Saturday May 16:

RAW DEAL (1948): Anthony Mann directed this film, which, while examining a convict's breakout, double crosses, revenges and romantic entanglements is an object lesson in the need to keep your work life separate from your private life. Dennis O'Keefe, tough, loyal Claire Trevor, warm yet moralizing Marsha Hunt and the always fine villain, Raymond Burr, are all on hand for the nimble proceedings.

(1947): Anthony Mann also directs this small budgeted gem about a youth (Ed Kelly) who is framed for a deadly bookie robbery, his sister (Sheila Ryan), determined to clear him, and a conspiring salon owner (Jane Randolph) who's too smart for her own good. Highlighted by a great performance by John Ireland as a thug and featuring Beaver Cleaver's future Dad, Hugh Beaumont as a rather nice, if staid cop.

Sunday May 17:

CANON CITY (1948): a graphic, based-on-fact prison film written & directed by Crane Wilbur. This forgotten gem is filled with action, despair, gallows humor and fine performances by Scott Brady, Jeff Corey, Whit Bissell and the actual warden of the prison, Roy Best, (who wasn't doing his career any favors by being in this movie). Watch for feisty Mabel Paige as an old lady. Hey, what's that under her apron?

FRAMED (1947): A caper film with some better than average twists. The underrated Glenn Ford is at his early best, opposite a reptilian Barry Sullivan and would be femme fatale Janis Carter. The latter duo make a loathsome pair looking to help themselves to their local bank's reserves, leaving Glenn holding the bag.

Monday May 18:

THE SPECTER OF THE ROSE (1946): A Ben Hecht film, with Judith Anderson & Michael Chekov in the cast, in a setting that blends murder and the ballet world. Lee Garmes' cinematography is a highlight.

THE MADONNA'S SECRET (1946): Francis Lederer, Ann Rutherford, Gail Patrick and serial queen Linda Stirling are featured in a story that examines the life of an artist and the possibility of murder. With the great John Alton behind the camera, this is a must-see.

Tuesday May 19:

THE STORY OF MOLLY X (1949): Writer-director Crane Wilbur spins the tale of June Havoc, who stars as the Molly of the title. Havoc is the head of a crime gang after her fella, the former kingpin, meets his maker. After sundry robberies and other nefarious acts, Molly eventually lands in a women's correctional institution, where the semi-documentary style of the film we get a frank, pre-John Cromwell's Caged look at naughtiness behind bars, as well as possible redemption for the lead.

PORT OF FORTY THIEVES (1944): Stephanie Bachelor, a '40s stalwart in myriad Republic pictures, is the femme fatale lead here as a gal married to a wealthy older man whose health is endangered by her proximity. I've only had a chance to boo and hiss Miss B. in Roy Rogers' "Springtime in the Sierras" (1947) prior to this, but from what I understand, she is even colder in this little number, offing several people who get between her and her inherited money in several imaginative ways.

Wednesday May 20:

THE LAST CROOKED MILE (1946): Viewers get to meet sultry, sequined singer and über-bad girl Ann Savage once again, as well as "Red" Barry in this caper film, as Barry tries to track down some 300k in stolen samoleans, while trying to figure out if Savage is the key to everything. This film, highlighted by some sharp, slightly bawdy dialogue is graced by the presence of several classic character actors, including Irving Bacon, Sheldon Leonard, and Tom Dugan.

VIOLENCE (1947): Nancy Coleman and Michael O'Shea star in this crypto-cautionary tale of incipient fascism lurking within a civic group called the United Defenders. Directed by the intriguing Jack Bernhard (Decoy, Blonde Ice), this poverty row movie toys with amnesia, disenchanted veterans, hate groups and girl reporters making good. The cast features character actors who this viewer regards as perennial lifesavers: Sheldon Leonard, Peter Whitney, and Emory Parnell.

Thursday May 21:

PRIVATE HELL 36 (1954): Don Siegel directs the story of two detectives investigating a theft who become a bit involved with the prime suspect. With Ida Lupino, Steve Cochran, Howard Duff and Dorothy Malone.

NO MAN'S WOMAN (1955): Marie Windsor soars as a woman seemingly without redeeming qualities, but capable of demands and an annoying presence that make her fate inevitable.

Friday May 22:

NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL (1955): A film that features and excellent cast headed by Broderick Crawford, Richard Conte, Anne Bancroft, Marilyn Maxwell, and J. Carroll Naish liven up this exposé of crime based on the book by newsmen Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer. The film looks at period's elevation of the organization man through a jaundiced, criminal lens.

THE HOODLUM (1951): Lawrence Tierney returns, this time playing a criminal in the big house for the next ten years, until Mama (Lisa Golm) makes a tearful--if manipulative--plea to the parole board. While her delusions about her son earn him a pass, a few, including one party who shows Lawrence the room with the electric chair just before he's sprung, there's little likelihood that Tierney's character will return to the straight and boring life of a citizen. I understand that Tierney, who's reportedly very good, turns on the fulsome charm in this one, so it sounds like a must-see. Look for Lawrence Tierney's real brother, Edward Tierney, playing his sibling in this movie.

Saturday May 23:

THE BURGLAR(1957): seminal pulp novelist David Goodis wrote the screenplay for this film, based on his book. The great Dan Duryea stars as the head of a burglary ring that includes jewelry expert (Peter Capell), some muscle, played by '50s fixture, Mickey Shaughnessy, and a sexy vamp who distracts victims as she visits their homes, played by '50s icon Jayne Mansfield.

WITNESS TO MURDER (1954): the underrated Roy Rowland directed this Barbara Stanwyck-George Sanders movie, which starts off with a bang when Stanwyck witnesses a murder from her apartment. Beautifully photographed by noir's visual poet, John Alton and featuring a wildly over the top moment from Sanders when confronting Babs that you must see to believe.

Sunday May 24:

REPEAT PERFORMANCE (1946): a wish fulfillment film in the worst way from the point of view of Joan Leslie, who's unhappily married to Louis Hayward. A blend of noir and fantasy, with Leslie as a woman who has just committed a murder. She wishes she could live the last year of her life over again and is granted that wish. First timer Richard Basehart is featured playing a poet, and veteran actress Virginia Field adds to the film.

HOLLOW TRIUMPH (1948): to master criminal Paul Henreid "It's a bitter little world full of sad surprises, and you don't let anyone hurt you." One of Paul's surprises in this film is how good he is in the double leading role as a psychiatrist and a lifelong criminal who becomes involved with sad, cynical Joan Bennett. From the talented Steve Sekely, the director of the notable sci-fi flick, "The Day of the Triffids" (1962).

Monday May 25:

WOMEN IN THE NIGHT (1948): an interesting sounding film purporting to tell the story of women captured by the Nazis and Japanese at the start of WWII. The film, which is photographed by Academy Award winner Eugen Schüfftan, has a semi-documentary feel as it shows how the captives forced to serve as hostesses in a Shanghai brothel, but reveals more about the relationships among the varied women and their captors than is usual for any movie of that time. Since most of us will probably never have a chance to see this movie in a theater, it may help that it is available on line here. Violent and pretty explicit for a movie made during the Production Code, but then, those guys never seemed to pay as much attention to B movies.

UNDER AGE (1941): At the beginning of this early Edward Dmytryk effort, two young sisters (Nan Gray and Mary Anderson) leave the county detention home and with no family or way to support themselves. They are soon set up by Alan Baxter as a manager/pimp working in a series of motels. Look for Tom Neal as one of the clients, and for several moments that make one ponder where Joe Breen was napping.

Tuesday May 26:

SUSPENSE (1946): This promising sounding film whips up elements of sexual tension, office politics, and mayhem in the cutthroat world skating. Barry Sullivan, Albert Dekker, Eugene Pallette, and Bonita Granville are the actors on ice in this Frank Tuttle film with a script by Philip Yordan. It sounds fascinating, with a theremin providing music and Karl Struss as cinematographer adding to the murky atmosphere as well.

THE PRETENDER (1947): good actor Albert Dekker stars this time as a businessman with a cash flow problem in a movie enhanced by cinematographer filmed by John Alton. He decides to marry his legal ward, (Catherine Craig) in order to get his hands on her money. The ward, however, is in love with a young doctor (Charles Drake) who is soon stalked by a hired killer. Partly psychological portrait with fantastic aspects to the brooding story.

Wednesday, May 27:
ALLOTMENT WIVES (1945): Kay Francis runs an organization preying on service men by getting them to marry her minions with the expected violence, blackmail and murder that one might expect. Kay, on the other side of fame, produced and starred in film, which is marked by a very dark view of human nature and the institution of marriage.

WIFE WANTED (1946): Kay Francis' last movie, acting the part of a fading star and appearing on screen for the last time. With her are former co-stars Paul Cavanaugh (Transgression 1931) and Veda Ann Borg (Confession 1937) under the direction of '50s noir guy, Phil Karlson in this tale of conmen, real estate and blackmail.

Thursday May 28:

CITY OF FEAR (1959): Nuclear age paranoia thrives as escaped con Vince Edwards heads for LA with "Cobalt 60" (no, not malt liquor) but a substance that could blow the city off the map, if it doesn't kill Edwards first. All Edwards wants is money, power and a good time, but he has to shake Lyle Talbot and John Archer off his tail before that...great score from Jerry Goldsmith.

SHACK OUT ON 101 (1955): Whit Bissell's most heroic moment is preceded by about 90 minutes of amusing cold war espionage banter between Frank Lovejoy, Terry Moore, Keenan Wynn and "Slob", played by Lee Marvin, who steals the movie, greasy undershirt and all. A Cold War farce, long before "Dr. Strangelove" (1964).

Full details here.

My only regret is that I have only seen some--not all--of these stories from the shady side of life. Congratulations, Dewey on the book and the noir festival. We wish we were there!

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 12:14 pm
by feaito
What a thrill! Congratulations Dewey! Thanks for posting this Moira :D

The Line-up is impressive and full of rare films... Of the group I have only seen "Allotment Wives" which was quite a discovery for me.

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 12:51 pm
by MissGoddess
BRAVISSIMO, Dewey!!!! This is fantastic---how I wish I could be there. I hope
you will PLEASE share tidbits with us here after the fesitval---and I want to know
more about the book!

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 1:34 pm
by moira finnie
MissGoddess wrote:I hope
you will PLEASE share tidbits with us here after the fesitval---and I want to know
more about the book!

Yeah, Elliot. It would be really cool if you could share your comments and notes here on the films after you've had a chance to host them live at the Roxie. If you have any more info on the book in the near future, I hope that you'll post that pronto too.

Hey, anybody up for chartering a Lear Jet to SF so the SSO members can witness Dewey's well-deserved moment in the spotlight, (or should I say night in the shadows, since we are talkin' film noir)? Ah, dreams to live by....

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 1:57 pm
by Dewey1960
Moira, thanks so much for the wonderful announcement of my Noir series at the Roxie! Your descriptions of the films rival those of the greatest blurbists in America! It is indeed a unique pleasure to have been able to track down these titles--many of them incredibly rare. The Roxie is the perfect theater for film noir; it is the oldest operating movie theater in San Francisco (celebrating its 100th birthday this year!) and it has retained its funky luster beautifully well over the decades. It's not a huge theater (roughly 250 seats) and it's far from glamorous, yet it has a dignity and distinction all its own. I'm very proud to be returning in this guest programming capacity.
I really hope that all of our SSO members who live here in the Bay Area make it out for some of these shows--the chance might not come again so soon! And for those in faraway places who are contemplating a trip out to Sunny Cal this spring, I would certainly love the opportunity to meet up with you at the Roxie! I do happen to know of at least one SSO'er in the Midwest who's planning a sojourn...
'Nando: Yes, ALLOTMENT WIVES is a major gem and definitely one of the highlights of the series, as is its companion piece, WIFE WANTED. Now that's a double bill not to be missed!
MissG: Thanks so much; I truly wish you could just jump on a jet plane (with a bunch of our other SSO pals) and join us here! And I fully intend to update everyone with details of how our little series goes. This should darken up our sunny San Francisco skies!
Best to you all!!

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 1:57 pm
by MissGoddess
Hey, anybody up for chartering a Lear Jet to SF so the SSO members can witness Dewey's well-deserved moment in the spotlight, (or should I say night in the shadows, since we are talkin' film noir)? Ah, dreams to live by....

Wouldn't that be fun? What a raw deal the jet is in for repairs.


Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 2:09 pm
by ChiO
I was planning to go...then found out who programmed this nightmare...with no Robert Ryan or Timothy Carey appearances. Eh, what's the difference.

Mookryan and I will be sharing a trenchcoat (collar turned up), fedora (brim turned down) and bourbon (straight, no chaser) while on the lam...daring Dewey, the ever intrepid snoopster, to find us.

ETA: One month, 8 days. B-noirs by the Bay...what could be better? I feel a chill already.

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 5:01 pm
by Lzcutter
Congratulations Dewey!!!!

What an awesome line-up of films. I'm hoping that Moraldo will attend and report back here not only about the films but the wonderful festival as well!

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 7:44 pm
by Dewey1960
Thanks, Lynn! And, y'know, San Francisco's not that far a trek for you, my friend!

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 8:44 pm
by CineMaven
Well well well...trying to hide out on me ey???

I wish I were in San Francisco to see this B - festival. My sincere CONGRATULATIONS!!! And to think...becuz of a suspected troll's post on the TCM Message brought me here. ;-)


Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 11th, 2009, 9:25 pm
by Lzcutter
Welcome Cinemaven (imagine my surprise to see your avatar is Hedy and not Gloria or Jane Geer)


If I wasn't tied up with business, Mr Cutter and I would be there in a heartbeat, enjoying your festival and having drinks with you and with Moraldo.

Damn business always gets in the way.


Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 12th, 2009, 9:50 am
by Dewey1960
CineMaven - I wish you could be here in San Francisco too! And please don't let that troll get you down--you know where you can always find an Oasis!
Lynn, I believe you would be here if you could; consider yourself off the well-worn hook!

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 12th, 2009, 8:57 pm
by ChiO
My Main Dew-Meister,

Inquiring minds want to know: when programming a festival consisting of B-movies, what is your method for deciding which movies get the A-position?

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 13th, 2009, 8:28 am
by Dewey1960
Well, there are B movies and then there are...B+ movies. As far as this program was concerned, the trick was to determine which of the two films on any given night would theoretically be the bigger draw. In other words, which film would grab the coveted 8:00 show. Except for Saturdays and Sundays, the Roxie only runs evening shows and the 8:00 film will draw the biggest crowd. Some of the films in this series, despite being lesser known B productions, have established, or cult followings. RAW DEAL, DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE, PRIVATE HELL 36, etc are all films with a somewhat higher visibility factor than their co-features, making them the logical candidate for the 8:00 slot. The accompanying 6:30 and 9:30 shows are generally attended by fewer people and serve to bolster the 8:00 show. A strong, or at least tantalizing co-feature will contribute to the overall allure factor of the evening's program.
For the Saturday and Sunday films, I tried to come up with two strong films for each day since these are the most heavily attended days--making the decision as to which one fell into the 8:00 slot a little more difficult. THE BURGLAR and WITNESS TO MURDER (Sat 5/23) are both very strong films. In this case, ultimately THE BURGLAR won out, partly because we're using a beautiful studio 35mm print and partly because of the intuition factor. With REPEAT PERFORMANCE and HOLLOW TRIUMPH (Sun 5/24) it was tougher because both films, while exceptional, are fairly unknown to most movie-goers. I went with REPEAT PERFORMANCE because I think audience response will be stronger.
Needless to say, this has been a very challenging program to put together. My greatest hope is that people who have developed an appetite for classic noir films will allow themselves the opportunity to experiment with a more demanding menu of delicacies!

Re: Dewey1960 a Guest Programmer at the Roxie in May!

Posted: April 13th, 2009, 8:43 am
by jdb1
Dew-Dew, I'm so sorry I can't be there, the whole concept sounds so inviting. We rarely get things like this in NYC any more, since the economic pulse of the town is now dominated by semi-literate 20 year olds with far too much disposable income, and a taste for full frontal nudity with no redeeming artistic value. I can't imagine many of them having the patience to sit through a "real" noir because they probably wouldn't understand what they were seeing.

If only you could educate them. When will you come to NYC to make us a film festival? (When is the book coming out?)