In what’s become a Vancouver/Cinematheque tradition, every summer brings a new lineup of classic noir films to the arthouse theatre on Howe. Thanks to some clever sleuthing (i.e. an email request), we were able to procure an early look at the top-secret programme. Herewith, some of the private eyes, femme fatales and evil masterminds coming to the city this August.
Double Indemnity (Aug. 3-6)—Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in Billy Wilder’s version of James M. Cain’s thriller about life insurance, the ins and outs of the American legal system, and the allure of a finely-turned ankle. The movie opens the series with a screening Aug. 3 as part of the Courtyard Wingding, which also includes Night Editor (see below) and a reception and entertainment.
Night Editor (Aug. 3, 7-8)— “One of the raunchiest and best B-movies of the 1940s!” says Noir City. In the 1946 B-movie, “philandering cop Tony Cochrane (William Gargan) and married society dame Jill Merrill (Janis Carter) are in the midst of an illicit rendezvous when they witness a brutal murder. Afraid of exposing their affair, they don’t report the crime, but the violence seems to sexually arouse Jill, as does the opportunity to blackmail the killer” (from thecinematheque.ca description).
The Maltese Falcon (Aug. 5-7)—Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in the film version of Dashiell Hammett’s who’s-got-it? It’s the stuff dreams are made of, kid.
The Glass Key (Aug. 5-7)—More Hammett, this time with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in what cinematheque.ca calls “a moody, sadomasochistic tale of political corruption, sexual impropriety, and murder. Ladd is an up-from-the gutter political aide attempting to extricate his employer from a mob-hatched murder frame-up. Lake is the boss’s seductive fiancée. William Bendix, in a scene-stealing supporting role, is the sadistic thug who gleefully administers a vicious marathon beating to Ladd… The Glass Key ‘remains the best adaptation of a Hammett story … The Maltese Falcon excepted’ (Robert Porfirio, Film Noir).”
Affair in Trinidad (Aug. 11, 13, 17)—After a four-year hiatus from Hollywood, Rita Hayworth returned to the screen and re-teamed with her Gilda co-star Glenn Ford. Hayworth is a nightclub singer whose husband is found dead in mysterious circumstances; Ford is appalled to find his sister-in-law behaving like a woman in a B-movie noir. He sets out to investigate his brother’s death. Hayworth is given two dance numbers, the better to recall her celebrated “Put the Blame on Mame” semi-striptease in Gilda.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Aug. 19, 21-22)—The 1956 thriller has several touchstones of noir, including Expressionist visuals, a script by Daniel Mainwaring (Out of the Past), and an unreliable femme fatale. It’s screening as part of the ancillary program Noir Sidebar: Hard-Boiled 1950s Science Fiction, which also includes Them!
For a complete list of scheduled movies, along with ticket info and screening times, visit thecinematheque.ca.