TCM on Thursday, January 17, 2013 for A Night In Noir City co-hosted by the Czar of Noir Eddie Muller.
Eddie writes on the TCM website:
I was thrilled, of course, to be asked by the good folks at TCM to
program and co-host a night of noir with the redoubtable Robert Osborne.
My elation was tempered somewhat by the realization that I could only
choose four films! Out of the literally hundreds of bold and brooding
crime dramas I've screened and written about during the past fourteen
years--only FOUR! A challenge, to say the least. In the end, I opted to
make "A Night in Noir City" an extension of the "rescue, restoration and
revival" work I do as head of the Film Noir Foundation, a grassroots
non-profit that raises funds to protect and preserve at-risk exemplars
of film noir--which I consider to be Hollywood's only truly organic
So rather than present familiar classics of the genre, like Double Indemnity (1944) or Out of the Past
(1947), I went with more obscure, but in my opinion no less deserving,
choices. It's my hope that prime-time exposure on TCM will shine a fresh
light on these terrific, often overlooked, gems.
CRY DANGER (1951)
The Film Noir Foundation, along with our colleagues at the UCLA Film
& Television Archive, recently restored this Dick Powell thriller.
Powell had a special way with a wisecrack, and was also one of the most
astute independent producers in the business. Cry Danger was his
film all the way, and he showed off his savvy by hiring wondrous
wiseacre Bill Bowers to pen the original screenplay, and giving
Oscar®-winning editor Robert Parrish his first directing gig. Sure, noir
is supposed to be dark and nihilistic, but a great cast spewing Bowers'
dynamite dialogue proves it can be incredibly fun as well. I dedicate
this showing to the late, great Nancy Mysel, who supervised the
restoration of this film, a project we both savored.
99 RIVER STREET (1953)
I'm a huge fan of rugged and razor-sharp 1950's paperback crime
fiction--and this is about as close as anyone ever came to hurling it
onto the screen, unabashed and undiluted. John Payne is terrific as a
bitter ex-boxer turned cabbie Ernie Driscoll, whose wayward wife leads
him into all sorts of nefariousness in nocturnal New York. Director Phil
Karlson perfected his slam-bang style right here; to me, this is his
signature film. The highlight: Evelyn Keyes, typically cast as the good
girl, turning up the heat in a pair of jaw-dropping set pieces.
TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY (1951)
When I first encountered this exceptional film more than a decade ago, I declared it "Gun Crazy
 scripted by John Steinbeck." A minor masterpiece in the
filmography of the virtually forgotten Felix Feist, this is one of the
best "love on the lam" tales in all noir. Steve Cochran--the Elvis of
Noir--is perfect as a vulnerable ex-con who falls hard for bruised "taxi
dancer" Ruth Roman (as a blonde! And never better!). Thwarted passions,
a dank hotel room, a dirty cop--a gunshot! And suddenly our luckless
lovers are fugitives fleeing cross-country. It's high time for this
fantastic film to finally come out of hiding and get the recognition it
THE BREAKING POINT (1950)
Many cineastes point to 1950 as perhaps the finest year ever for American movies (Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve, In a Lonely Place, The Asphalt Jungle, and many more)--but this breathtaking adaptation of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not
stands equally with all those classics. John Garfield gives the most
personal and self-revelatory performance of his career as a fishing boat
captain who gets in too deep when he bends the law to keep his business
afloat. The film was shunned--by its own studio--because of Garfield's
troubles with the House Un-American Activities Committee, and in the
following years copyright entanglements with the Hemingway estate kept
it from earning the reputation is deserves. Insightful script (by Ranald
MacDougall), brilliant performances from the entire cast (no one can be
singled out, they're all superb), and Michael Curtiz's most compelling direction--and yes, I'm not forgetting Casablanca (1942) and Robin Hood (1938) and Mildred Pierce (1945) and many others. The Breaking Point truly is that good.
Eddie Muller produces and hosts NOIR CITY: The San Francisco Film Noir
Festival, the world's largest noir retrospective.
Hat Tip: Sue Trowbridge
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