Sunday • January 21, 2024  DOUBLE FEATURE


1:30, 5:30, 9:30 PM

In the 1930s, Jean Gabin brought a gallery of doomed anti-heroes to life with a blend of poetic fatalism and blunt proletarian defiance, becoming the first global icon of the noir spirit. He chose Jean Renoir to direct this adaptation of Émile Zola's novel about a working-class man whose "hereditary flaw" causes psychotic episodes. When he falls for the wife of a railway official, herself damaged by abuse and exploitation, they are on track for inevitable tragedy. Renoir gives the film a gritty flavor, telling a bleak story with unsentimental empathy. In French with English subtitles

FRANCE (1938) Dir. Jean Renoir. 100 min.


3:30, 7:30 PM

Following the popular success of 1953's The Big Heat, Columbia Pictures reteamed Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame with director Fritz Lang for this Americanized adaptation of Le bête humaine, smuggling the sordid tale of adultery and murder past the censors. Gloria Grahame gives a bruised and beleaguered performance as the abused woman who wonders if murdering her loutish husband (Broderick Crawford) is the only way out of her domestic hell. DP Burnett Guffey adds noir panache to Lang's cruel and suffocating depiction of the eternal noir triangle.

UNITED STATES (1954) Dir. by Fritz Lang. 91 min.

Monday • January 22DOUBLE FEATURE


7:00 PM

AWOL for almost twenty years, this brutal and breakneck hostage yarn is powered by one of Edward G. Robinson's most vicious performances. Gangster Vince Canelli (Eddie G.) makes a daring prison break on the day of his execution, holing up with a group of horrified hostages. Who will survive? Fregonese's vigorous direction and stark imagery courtesy of the great Stanley Cortez (The Magnificent Ambersons) abet Robinson as he chews apart the scenery and his fellow cast members. A rarity is revived for NOIR CITY!

UNITED STATES (1954) Dir. Hugo Fregonese. 80 min.


8:30 PM

Adapted from a novel by ex-con José Giovanni, who based it on a real prison break he'd taken part in, and costarring another of the actual participants, Jacques Becker's masterpiece commits itself to raw verisimilitude. A stripped-down focus on process and stunning use of sound bring hypnotic intensity to scenes of the prisoners digging their way from their cell to the tunnels below. Noir master Jean-Pierre Melville declared Le Trou, "the greatest French film of all time," adding, "And I weigh my words carefully." In French with English subtitles

FRANCE (1960) Dir. Jacques Becker. 131 min.

Tuesday • January 23DOUBLE FEATURE

they made me a fugitive

7:30 PM

A harrowing thriller made in England contemporaneously with America's rising noir tide, but more uncompromising thanks to the absence of Hollywood's Production Code. Trevor Howard plays Clem Morgan, a down-at-heel WWII veteran who falls in with a ring of black marketeers. After being framed for murder, Clem is sentenced to Dartmoor Prison—only to escape in search of vengeance. A big success in England in 1947, it helped spur the nation's postwar noir movement. Retitled I Became a Criminal for U.S. release.

UNITED KINGDOM (1947) Dir. Alberto Cavalcanti. 78 min.


9:00 PM

Often heralded as the most significant Korean film of all-time, Aimless Bullet is both a crime drama and a critique of Korean life in the years following the 1953 armistice between North and South Korea. A Seoul salaryman struggles to provide for his family while stoically enduring an excruciating toothache. Things turns steadily darker when his younger brother, an angry war vet, turns to crime and his sister becomes a prostitute. Hollywood noir seems like a victory parade in comparison to the despair displayed here, which got the film banned by the South Korean government. In Korean with English subtitles

SOUTH KOREA (1960) Dir. Yu Hyun-mok. 110 min.

Film Noir Foundation

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NC 21 poster by Bill Selby