'50s Film Noir

Mondays, January 13 - February 10, 2003

What better way to kick off the Brattle's 50th year as a cinema than with a series of the genre that is most associated with the theater: Film Noir. Some superb noirs were made in the 1950s and most are just as topical today as they were then. In this series we present quite a range, from the cynical indictment of the media in SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS to the creepy, "beware of the preacher" tale of NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. In the middle, we cover everything from Japanese-Americans after WWII (CRIMSON KIMONO) to back alley abortion (DETECTIVE STORY). We've got noirs from some world-class directors. Fritz Lang gives us the double bill of THE BIG HEAT and HUMAN DESIRE. The flexible William Wyler (see ROMAN HOLIDAY on January 24-26) directs Kirk Douglas in DETECTIVE STORY. And the ultimate maverick director, Sam Fuller, offers up PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET, where the theives are the good guys , and CRIMSON KIMONO. It's a load of talent taking on challenging topics in truly entertaining ways, this winter at the Brattle.

Monday, February 13, 2003

New 35mm Print!
Sweet Smell Of Success
at 5:15, 7:45, 10:00
1957 Alexander Mackendrick w/Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis

With the man himself in town for the stage production of Some Like It Hot, we couldn't resist presenting Tony Curtis in one of his best performances as Sidney Falco, the smarmy press agent who'll do anything to get the spread. Burt Lancaster plays J.J. Hunsecker, an all-powerful society columnist who makes and breaks careers with a flick of the wrist, while Curtis slithers around on his hands and knees trying to get into his good graces. SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS is simply an essential film and certainly one of the best films of the '50s.

Monday, January 20, 2003

50th Anniversary!
Pickup On South Street
at 3:30, 7:30
1953 Sam Fuller w/Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter, Richard Kiley

In celebration of the recent publication of the great maverick director's posthumous memoirs, we present two of Sam Fuller's best noirs. In PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET, Richard Widmark plays Skip, a thief who chooses the wrong pocket to pick and ends up in possession of a seriously valuable piece of film. As Skip finds himself stuck between the feds and the commies, he finds an unlikely ally in the original courier of the film, a young woman named Candy. The pinnacle of B-Noir.

The Crimson Kimono
at 1:30, 5:30, 9:30
1959 SamFuller w/Glenn Corbett, James Shigeta, Victoria Shaw

When a stripper is murdered in Los Angeles, two police detectives, one white and one Japanese-American, try to track down the killer in the city's Little Tokyo. Things get a little more complicated when the pair fall in love with the same key witness. Fuller tackles some tough, unconventional issues in this peek at a rarely seen side of the '50s.

Monday, January 27, 2003

New 35mm Print!
Detective Story
at 5:15, 7:30, 9:45
1951 William Wyler w/Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, Horace McMahon, William Bendix, Lee Grant, Craig Hill, Cathy O'Donnell

A day in the life of a New York City police precinct reveals, in the detectives and criminals they catch, a colorful cast of characters. Kirk Douglas is the glue holding the story together as one bitter, hard-nosed detective whose single-minded pursuit of a back-alley abortionist might lead to his self-destruction. Called "bruisingly real" by The New York Times upon its release, DETECTIVE STORY stands as an essential merging of neo-realist style and film noir toughness.

Monday, February 3, 2003

50th Anniversary!
The Big Heat
at 7:30
1953 Fritz Lang w/Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Lee Marvin, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby

Another relentless detective inhabits this first-rate noir by one of the world's greatest directors. Glenn Ford plays a tough-guy out for justice when a cop's apparent suicide reeks of murder and even the top brass aren't interested in uncovering the truth. Alongside Ford, Fritz Lang places Lee Marvin, as a ruthless gangster, and Gloria Grahame, as his scarred moll, in two of their best roles.

Human Desire
at 5:30, 9:30
1954 Fritz Lang w/Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford

Lang adapts Emile Zola's La Bete Humaine as a seedy tale of adultery and murder as he reteams his BIG HEAT co-stars Ford and Grahame. Ford plays a soldier returning from Korea who falls for his abusive co-worker's manipulative wife (Grahame).

Monday, February 10, 2003

Restored 35mm Print!
Night Of The Hunter
at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30
1955 Charles Laughton w/Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, Billy Chapin, Sally Jane Bruce

NIGHT OF THE HUNTER is the one and only film directed by actor Charles Laughton. In it he shows not only a remarkable talent with all ages of actors but also an affinity for the art of the moving image that is astounding. This was one of the late, great Robert Mitchum's finest hours. He makes an indelible mark as the menacing but seductive Preacher, with 'Love' and 'Hate' tattooed on his knuckles, who ruthlessly searches for the money hidden by a former cellmate. The supporting cast also deal out amazing performances, not only from veterans like Winters and Gish, but from the child leads as well.

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