HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2013 NOIR CITY 11 IN SAN FRANCISCO
Crowds flocked to NOIR CITY's flagship festival in San Francisco to luxuriate in its most expansive schedule yet—27 films—held once again at its genuine movie palace home, the historic Castro Theatre, January 25—February 3, 2013. This year's festival kicked off with a tribute to guest of honor Peggy Cummins, legendary for her ferocious performance as outlaw Annie Laurie Starr in Gun Crazy. Watch the on-stage interview here. NOIR CITY's tribute to Ms. Cummins continued on Saturday afternoon with screenings of two 1957 films, Curse of the Demon and Hell Drivers in which she also starred. The 10-day festival culminated in an all-day marathon of six rare B-noirs, including the world premiere of another FNF restoration, 1947's High Tide—giving patrons a chance to recover from the revelry of the NOIR CITY Nightclub the night before. Dressed to the nines, partiers time-travelled back to 1949 for an extraordinary Saturday evening of scintillating music, sexy striptease, and dancing in a glamorous vintage venue, the Regency Lodge. This year's show, emceed by "Czar of Noir" Eddie Muller, included the sizzling jazz of the Dmitri Matheny Group, the sultry pop-noir stylings of Erin Brazill and the Brazillionaires, the return of international striptease sensation Evie Lovelle, torch song temptress Laura Ellis, and the uniquely soulful and sinister serenades of El Radio Fantastique!
The continued support of attendees of the NOIR CITY festivals aids the Film Noir Foundation in their mission to preserve film noir and a theatrical audience for this unique American art form. Attendees of the NOIR CITY festivals and donors to the FNF are directly responsible for the availability of 35mm prints of nearly lost film for screening in repertory theaters across the States. Go here for more on the FNF's mission to save film noir for future generations.
↑ View and order prints from David M. Allen's photo coverage of NOIR CITY 11 and NOIR CITY Nightclub here.
On its first Saturday night NOIR CITY paid tribute to another great woman of cinema, film preservationist Nancy Mysel ,with screenings of Try and Get Me! and The Hoodlum. Nancy managed the Film Noir Foundation's restoration projects, including The Prowler (1951) and Cry Danger (1951). She died last year after a prolonged battle with cancer. At the screenings, the FNF officially announced the Nancy Mysel Legacy Project, created to recognize and financially endow the development of new film preservationists. Nancy's family was present to inaugurate the project, in which they play a major role.
Opening weekend ended with a "Showbiz Noir" double feature, the premiere of the FNF's restoration of Repeat Performance (1947) and the U.S. premiere of the stunning 4K digital restoration of the stupendous Sunset Boulevard (1950).
This was the second time NOIR CITY screened Repeat Performance. Originally shown in 16mm at NOIR CITY 6 when the lone 35mm print in existence proved too fragile to project. We were particularly proud to resurrect this rare fantasy-noir hybrid in a brand new 35mm restoration, funded in part by the FNF.
The week also featured a night of "African-American Noir," highlighted by the West Coast premiere of the ultra-rare adaption of Richard Wright's classic Native Son (1951)—starring the author himself. It is an incredible "missing" piece of cinema history and we were thrilled to host its West Coast premiere. The week also saw the return of two favorite NOIR CITY themes, San Francisco Noir, which included the U.S. premiere of the 4K digital of Experiment in Terror (1962), and Bad Girls Night. Both proved tremendously popular, as always, with NOIR CITY patrons, as did our first ever triple bill of Pre-Code Proto-Noir.
The NOIR CITY Bus Tour also made a triumphant comeback this year. 24 passengers enjoyed a three-hour excursion through some of San Francisco's most cinematic sites (what's left of them!) with their guides Miguel Pendas and Eddie Muller. Attendees watched film clips from classic noir films such as The Maltese Falcon, The Lineup, The Sniper, Thieves' Highway, Dark Passage, House on Telegraph Hill, Vertigo and many more—while visiting locations where the films were actually shot!
NOIR CITY also hosted its first night of 3-D Noir, pairing two of the very first 3-D movies of 1953, Inferno and Man in the Dark, both digitally restored. Both proved solid films with superior writing and acting, unexpected for 3-D in its gimmicky infancy. Then on Saturday, attendees gorged on a triple bill tribute to the king of fatalistic pulp fiction, Cornell Woolrich, including a brand new 35mm print of Street of Chance (1942), the world premiere of The Chase (1946), freshly restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation, and the FNF's preservation of the suspense classic The Window (1949).
PEGGY CUMMINS IN PERSON!
When Peggy Cummins walked on stage after a sold out screening of Gun Crazy, she was greeted with a standing ovation. Visibly moved, she shared her feeling with the audience, "I really do feel like Cinderella," and went on to describe the impossibility of explaining her experience to her son while "peeling the potatoes" and "doing the washing up" back home—"How can I tell them what it was like?" Ms. Cummins and Eddie Muller discussed onstage the making of, and the worldwide enduring passion for this extraordinary film. Ms. Cummins also recalled her acting career before, during, and after Hollywood. You can watch the full interview here.