Or Advanced Guide to Cinematic Survival?
Note: The humble program note has a long and noble history. Sometimes anonymous, sometimes not, cheered as often as they were reviled, these brief, ephemeral, often illuminating handouts, likely destined for the dustbin the same night they appeared, offer “wisdom in a nutshell,” as one of Ivy Compton-Burnett’s characters aptly put it. This article is the second in Bright Lights’ series of vintage program notes from those heady days of the 1970s when unstoppable auteurists started their own cine clubs and commandeered movie theaters to bring their idea of cine-culture to audiences. Our late friend Roger McNiven continues the series with fascinating write-ups of two more works on the subject of “women larger than life,” in this case Bette Davis in King Vidor’s woefully underrated Beyond the Forest and Barbara Stanwyck in Gerd Oswald’s undeservedly obscure Crime of Passion. This double feature was screened at the legendary Thalia Theatre in New York City on Monday, December 3, 1979. We have added images but not edited the text, deferring to the time and spirit in which it was written.
Today starts a Film Forum revival of John Stahl’s 1945 “nature noir,” LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, as creepy a subtextual indictment of post-code Americana as I’ve ever seen. Gene Tierney[…]
In 1944, John Brahm directed his suspensful period noir, The Lodger, starring the wonderfully silken-voiced Laird Cregar (above left) as a mysterious rooming house guest who may or may not[…]
A strangely soothing, a sun-drenched proto-neo-noir, NIAGARA is one of my favorite Marilyn Monroe movies, up there with DON’T BOTHER TO KNOCK and THE MISFITS in its ability to capture[…]
The name of the film is Black Magic, it was released in 1949, and it stars Orson Welles in one of his most flamboyant performances as Joseph Balsamo, aka Cagliostro,[…]
The frame is from Screaming Mimi (1958), directed by Gerd Oswald, based on Fredric Brown’s “The Screaming Mimi” (below), which also provided the inspiration – uncredited – for Dario Argento’s[…]
In film noir, the anima (a female projection of the male unconscious) often takes the form of a femme fatale, a figure that lures the male protagonist to his doom.[…]
Commie on a plane – Oliver Blake and Dana Andrews in The Fearmakers Under the credits of Jacques Tourneur’s The Fearmakers (1958) we see a bearded Dana Andrews being tortured[…]
[The following is Bright Lights After Dark‘s contribution to the Contrarianism Blog-a-Thon hosted here.] Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958) is a noir masterpiece. For some, it represents Welles’ greatest[…]