Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Scary times continue


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Eddie Muller's 11th Noir City film festival concludes at the Castro Theatre with many rarely seen and restored gems. Cheap blonde Cleo Moore is The Other Woman (1954). She's a no-talent actress who avenges herself on movie director Hugo Haas for firing her from his latest opus. He's an expert at dealing with angry dames. Haas directed. In The Come-On (1956), Oscar winner Anne Baxter and Sterling Hayden lust for each other. What about her husband? Baxter's heavy breathing whenever Hayden approaches is hilarious. Directed by Russell Birdwell. This is the last surviving 35mm print. Neither film is on DVD. (Thurs., Jan. 31)

Oscar winner Edmund O'Brien is the Man in the Dark (1953), a hood who undergoes brain surgery to cure him of his crooked ways! It also erases his memory. Where did he hide the loot? His former mobster pals, including mean Ted De Corsia, want to find out. Strange dreams help him reclaim his past. Hard-boiled Audrey Totter is his girlfriend. Directed by Lew Landers. Shown in a fully restored 3-D print. Robert Ryan, not a man to be messed with, finds himself in an Inferno (1953) after his unfaithful wife (gorgeous redhead Rhonda Fleming) and her lover (William Lundigan) leave him for dead in the desert. Ryan survives. His revenge is frightening. Directed by Roy Ward Baker. Shown in a fully restored 3-D print. (Fri., Feb. 1)

Cornell Woolrich's novels and short stories have been the basis for many great suspense movies, including Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954). The first to be filmed was Street of Chance (42), shown in a fully restored 35mm print. Burgess Meredith loses his memory after being struck by a beam. He realizes he's lived the past year as someone else. What's really going on? With Oscar winner Claire Trevor and Sheldon Leonard, who became a successful TV producer in the 50s. Jack Hively directed. New 35mm print. In The Chase (1946), Robert Cummings (before major TV stardomĀ  in the 50s) is hired by hunky tough guy Steve Cocharan as a chauffeur. Alas, his boss' sexy French wife (Michele Morgan) wants him to perform some services for her. Will he put the brakes on in time, or is he headed for a fatal crash? Philip Yordan adapted Woolrich's novel. Arthur Ripley directed. Screened in a fully restored 35mm print. In The Window (49), nine-year old Bobby Driscoll, sweltering in a Manhattan tenement, sleeps on the fire escape to cool off. He witnesses a murder. His parents don't believe him, but the killer does. With Barbara Hale (later Della Street on TV's Perry Mason), the terrific Arthur Kennedy, and Ruth Roman. Ted Tetzlaff directed. Mel Dinelli adapted Woolrich's story. (Sat., Feb. 2, matinee & evening)

Virginia Grey seldom played leads, but as actress Paula Marlowe, she's Smooth as Silk (1946). Her fiance (Kent Taylor) gets a playboy acquitted of manslaughter. Paula cozies up to the playboy's wealthy uncle in hopes he'll invest in her new production. What will her boyfriend do? With Milburn Stone, later Doc on TV's Gunsmoke . Charles Barton directed. Not on DVD. Marsha Hunt is stylish Mary Ryan, Detective (49). She infiltrates a gang of jewel thieves in this fast-paced B. Originally intended to be a series, but the idea was aborted when Hunt was accused of being a communist during the dark days of Hollywood's Red Scare. Abby Berlin directed. Not on DVD. Before becoming a respected director of A pictures, Anthony Mann apprenticed with programmers, none as bizarre as Strange Impersonation (46). It's about plastic surgery, newly developed anesthesia, an ambulance-chasing woman, and identity changes. With beautiful Brenda Marshall (then married to William Holden), silent screen star H.B. Warner, and B picture veteran Lyle Talbot. Robert Siodmark (The Killers , 46), shows a lighter touch in Fly By Night (42), a comedy/chase yarn with Richard Carlson, a murder suspect, fleeing with his alibi, artist Nancy Kelly (Rhoda's mother in The Bad Seed). Not on DVD. (Sun., Feb. 3, matinee)

In Night Editor (1946), a married cop and his girlfriend are having a good time in a car on Lover's Lane. Their fun is interrupted when they witness a vicious murder. He's torn between duty and shame; she's turned on. How will he solve the crime without revealing the truth? With William Gargan and Janis Carter. Directed by Henry Levin. Brave editor Lee Tracy hires a private eye (Don Castle) to protect him from gangsters he's been investigating. Then the two are in a car accident, seemingly trapped by the High Tide (46). Directed by John Reinhardt. Neither film is on DVD. (Sun., Feb. 3, evening)

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