NOIR CITY 9 audiences proved to be noir-nuts, packing the Castro Theatre for ten days and nights of wonderfully entertaining craziness. Attendees came not just from San Francisco, but from across the United States and around the world. Loyal customers saw the ultimate payoff from their patronage: three brand new 35mm prints funded by the Film Noir Foundation: High Wall (1947), Loophole (1954), and The Hunted (1948). As always, NOIR CITY’s proceeds go towards future film preservation efforts, many of which are already in the works.
The Lady Gambles provided festival-goers a direct role in the FNF’s preservation efforts. Eddie Muller announced that the screening would be digitally projected from DVD, as a 35mm print was no longer available. After the film, Muller asked the audience to vote by applause if they thought the FNF should fund a new 35mm print. Thunderous applause provided the answer.
Prior to Stranger on the Third Floor, Judy Wyler Sheldon, daughter of director William Wyler and actress Margaret Tallichet (who costarred in Stranger) appeared onstage to introduce the film. Ms. Sheldon told of taking her parents to a screening of Stranger in the 1970's at a small film club in an S.F. apartment, much to the surprise of the event’s organizer!
Jazz chanteuse Laura Ellis and her band entertained guests at the Opening Night reception, and then for the entire Castro audience sang "Somewhere in the Night" after the intermission.
Fast-thinking fans snapped up the 12 available spaces for the inaugural Noir City Bus Tour, an all-afternoon excursion around San Francisco, complete with film clips, prowling locations used in Dark Passage, The Lady from Shanghai, Vertigo, as well as several of Dashiell Hammett's haunts. The Sunday outing concluded with an informal cocktail "seminar" at Tosca Cafe. Tour guides Eddie Muller and Miguel Pendas intimated that the tour will become a regularly-scheduled event.
NOIR CITY patrons sampled a variety of complimentary wine, beer and spirits over the course of the festival. Windsor Vineyards provided the custom label NOIR CITY 9 Wine. "The Big Sip" — from winetasting.com — poured Tough Dame Cabernet. Raymond Burr Vineyards and Marilyn Wines also provided an amazing selection of varietals and vintages. On the harder side, guests also tried Eagle Rare Bourbon and Rain Organic Vodka. Speakeasy Ales & Lagers provided the aptly named Payback Porter for Boys Night.
Last year Serena Bramble was presented with the FNF’s first “Endless Night” Prize, granted to young artists whose work, in any medium, “extends the ethos and allure of classic film noir into a new generation.” This year’s audiences watched her latest, San Francisco is the Scene of a Perfect Crime, a montage illustrating why San Francisco is NOIR CITY.
This year Passport holders who attended all 12 double bills were invited to cast ballots for the Best of the Fest “Roscoe Awards.” The results can be found here.
Here is photographer David Allen’s gallery of great NOIR CITY moments.
I've Been Following You... My City, San Francisco, Is Noir City — Alexandra Jones, sfbullDog
Noir City 9: S.F. Fest Sparks Wave of Restorations — G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
Crack-ups: Noir City 9 Corrals Characters on the Edge — Matt Sussman, SF Bay Guardian
Noir City: the Best Books behind the Great Films — Randy Dotinga, Christian Science Monitor
A Weekend in Black and White, Part 2: Noir City — Lincoln Spector, BayFlicks.net
Noir City 9 at the Castro — Tom Mayer, Beyond Chron
Noir City: the Best Books behind the Great Noir Films — Randy Dotinga, Christian Science Monitor
Psycho's, Madmen and the Mentally Deranged Invade San Francisco
for NOIR CITY
Film Festival — Lawrence French, Cinefantastique
Dangerous Denizens: Noir City 9 Plays the Castro Theatre — Tavo Amador, Bay Area Reporter
More Dark and Evil Doings — Tavo Amador, Bay Area Reporter
Noir Nights — Michael S. Gant, Metroactive
Annual Noir City Festival Shines a Spotlight on Cinematic Darkness — Berkeley Daily Planet
Festival Report - Noir City 9 — Michael Fox, KQED