Austin Film Society presents Noir Canon
In Paris, after the World War II Nazi occupation, American crime and detective films flooded back into cinemas after a four-year absence. The moral and visual darkness of these films caused French critics and audiences to coin a new term, film noir, to describe them. The narrative directness, visual sophistication and dark humor that characterized these films have made film noir enduringly popular. This series shares some of the foundational films of film noir and in our pre-film introductions, we will discuss what characterizes the genre, what it meant to audiences of its time, and what it still says to us today.
- June 1 and 3: Out Of The Past - Jacques Tourneur, best known for his atmospheric horror films for producer Val Lewton, directs a superb cast (Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Jane Greer, Rhonda Fleming) in this story of a former low-rent detective, established in a new, wholesome life, who is drawn back into the world of darkness he barely escaped.
- June 8 and 10: In A Lonely Place - Whatever genre he happened to be working in, director Nicholas Ray always found a way to make artful, psychologically rich work. Here, Humphrey Bogart plays a cynical, sardonic screenwriter suspected of murder. His neighbor (Gloria Grahame) is fond of him and provides an alibi, but is his darkness more than surface-deep?
- June 13 and 17: This Gun For Hire - The king and queen of noir, Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, are paired for the first time in a thrilling, lightning-paced noir based on a Graham Greene novel. Ladd plays a blackmailer and murderer who is being shadowed and investigated by Veronica Lake, who has been enlisted by police to crack his shell.
- June 22 and 24: The Big Heat - One of director Fritz Lang’s masterpieces and a Hollywood film of rare depth and expression. Despite his department’s lax attitude towards the matter, tough cop Glenn Ford goes nose to nose with crime boss Lee Marvin. When the gangsters strike back, Ford must fight to save what he has left. With Gloria Grahame, in her greatest performance.
- June 29: Raw Deal - The German-American director Anthony Mann was a master-craftsman, and, in collaboration with cinematographer John Alton, created some of the best looking and most economical down-market noir. Raw Deal stars Dennis O’Keefe as a con who escapes and tries to go straight but must first contend with his adversary, played by Raymond Burr. With genre great Claire Trevor as the bad girl who loves O’Keefe.