Dark Past: Film Noir by German Emigrés

3/1/12 to 4/15/12

Hollywood was the great beneficiary of the exodus of filmmakers from Hitler's Germany in the 1930s. Directors such as Otto Preminger, Max Ophuls, Douglas Sirk, Billy Wilder, and Fritz Lang skillfully transformed the low-budget B-movie into what we now call film noir. Characterized by brooding urban cityscapes distilled from German Expressionism, the eight films in this series are also permeated by the feeling that no one can shake their dark past.

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Past Films

  • Dark City

    • Sunday, April 15 6:15 pm

    William Dieterle (U.S., 1950). Charlton Heston made his big-screen debut as an alienated vet turned small-time gambler pursued by the cops, a lounge singer, a widowed suburbanite, and more. Dark City is noir from its beat-up bookie joints to its grimy hotel rooms, and boasts a murderers-row of character actors like Ed Begley, Jack Webb, and Harry Morgan. (97 mins)

  • Caught

    • Friday, April 13 7 pm

    Max Ophuls (U.S., 1949) Archival Preservation Print! Barbara Bel Geddes marries Robert Ryan for his money but discovers that the dream house is a prison. A darkly ironic Cinderella story, also starring James Mason. (88 mins)

  • Criss Cross

    • Friday, April 13 8:50 pm

    Robert Siodmak (U.S., 1949). Burt Lancaster and Yvonne De Carlo are caught in a criss crossing web of obsession and betrayal in Siodmak's ill-fated noir of double-dealings and a stylishly enacted armored car heist that takes all involved to the very brink. (87 mins)

  • Strange Illusion

    • Saturday, March 24 8:35 pm

    Edgar G. Ulmer (U.S., 1945) Archival Print! Hamlet goes Poverty Row, with a heavy dose of quack Freudianism, in Ulmer's low-budget, deliciously neurotic noir. (83 mins)

  • Where the Sidewalk Ends

    • Thursday, March 22 7 pm

    Otto Preminger (U.S., 1950). Dana Andrews is a tough cop who accidentally kills a suspect, then tries to cover it up by framing someone else in this world-weary noir, written by the great Ben Hecht. (95 mins)

  • High Wall

    • Thursday, March 8 7 pm

    Curtis Bernhardt (U.S., 1948) New Archival Print! Found unconscious behind the wheel of his wrecked car, his strangled wife beside him, Steve Kenet (Robert Taylor) quickly confesses to murdering his two-timing spouse. But did he? Find out in this neurotic noir. (98 mins)

  • The Dark Past

    • Thursday, March 1 7 pm

    Rudolph Maté (U.S., 1948). Held hostage in a lakeside cabin by pathological thug (William Holden), Dr. Collins (Lee J. Cobb) overwhelms his captor using a single weapon, a book entitled The Criminal Mind and Insanity, in this taut siege story by director Maté, the lensman behind The Passion of Joan of Arc. (75 mins)

  • Shockproof

    • Thursday, March 1 8:40 pm

    Douglas Sirk (U.S., 1949). Sirk stylishly directs a punchy Sam Fuller script about the relationship between a parole officer and an ex-con, lovers on the run from an unforgiving society. (79 mins)