Saturday, January 19, 2013

High Heels and Fedoras: Exploring Film Noir—2013 Film Club series begins in February


The 2013 Film Club is back at The Venue 1550 at the Daystar Center, 1550 S. State St., Chicago. Hosted by Stephen Reginald, the film club will feature six film noir classics, including Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce. Movies will be screened at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesdays of the month, starting February 12, 2013. The host will introduce each film giving background information before screenings, with Q & A afterwards. Reginald is a freelance writer/editor and popular instructor at Facets Film School in Chicago. He was also the original host of Meet Me at the Movies.

High Heels and Fedoras: Exploring Film Noir
Film noir conjures up images of detectives, criminals, dangerous men and women, all in shades of black and white. While possessing a very definite cinematic style, movies identified as film noir presented a darker vision of American life. This vision contrasted sharply with the Norman Rockwell worldview Hollywood was also grinding out during the height of World War II. But it was during the war years that the genre was at its peak.

Black film
The term film noir is French for “black film.” Nino Frank, a French film critic, is believed to have labeled these darker American films. In the states, they were labeled as melodramas; there was no preconceived formula from which directors and writers were working. But World War II did change America and the world. Filmmakers were exploring themes and situations that wouldn’t have been considered a decade earlier. Criminals and villains became heroes and the femme fatale—deadly woman—also came into prominence. In film noir, the lines between good and evil are blurred, but in many ways represent a more realistic view of the world. The noir vision still influences filmmakers today.

Explore film noir by discovering (or rediscovering) some of the established classics of the genre. Tickets per film are $5 for general admission or $3 for seniors and students. You can always purchase tickets at the door. If you’d like to purchase tickets online for one or all six films in advance, click here.

Film Schedule
Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. (CST)

February 12 This Gun for Hire (1942) This tough adaptation of the novel by Graham Greene stars Alan Ladd as Raven, a professional hit man who’s been double-crossed by one of his clients. He crosses paths with Veronica Lake, a nightclub entertainer who puts herself in harm's way when she volunteers to spy on her boss who authorities believe to be a link in a major crime syndicate.

March 12 Double Indemnity (1944) Based on the novel by James M. Cain (Mildred Pierce, The Postman Always Rings Twice) and nominated for seven Academy Awards, this movie set the standard from which other film noirs are judged. Directed by the legendary Billy Wilder, and starring screen legends Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson, and Barbara Stanwyck.

April 9 Murder My Sweet (1945) Dick Powell stars as private investigator Philip Marlowe in this noir classic based on the novel by Raymond Chandler. Marlowe is hired by Moose Malone, an ex-con trying to track down his old girlfriend, who he lost track of while he was in prison. With each lead, Marlowe is pulled into a web of deceit, intrigue and murder.

May 14 Mildred Pierce (1945) Joan Crawford won an Academy Award for Best Actress playing the title role of a self-sacrificing mother who will do almost anything to gain her daughter’s love. Nominated for a total of six Academy Awards, this James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice) story has earned its place as a noir classic thanks to a great cast, snappy dialogue, and crisp direction from Michael Curtiz (Casablanca).


June 11 The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) Lana Turner and John Garfield generate some serious heat as Frank, a drifter and Cora, a diner waitress who is married to a much-older man. Turner has big plans for the diner that her husband owns. She has big plans for Frank too, but first she needs to get rid of her husband…with Franks’ help. Another tough, gritty drama from the pen of James M. Cain (Mildred Pierce) that film critic Leonard Maltin said “Packs a real punch.”

July 9 Out of the Past (1947) Considered by many to be the best film noir drama of all time, it also solidified the career of Robert Mitchum as a tough-guy leading man. Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey currently on the straight and narrow until his past catches up with him. Jane Greer costars as the ultimate femme fatale who brings Jeff to ruin. Costarring future-stars-in-the-making, Kirk Douglas and Rhonda Fleming. This film’s reputation continues to grow in stature with each passing year.

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