The Man Who Wasn't There: Wendell Corey, Actor

9/6/13 to 10/5/13

We commemorate the work of actor Wendell Corey (1914–1968), known mostly for his key supporting roles, with ten films that showcase his range, including The Furies (with Barbara Stanwyck), The Rainmaker (with Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn), Harriet Craig (with Joan Crawford), The Killer Is Loose, and Sorry, Wrong Number.

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Past Films

  • Loving You

    • Saturday, October 5 8:35 pm

    Hal Kanter (U.S., 1957). Things are not going well for old-timey musician Tex Warner (Wendell Corey) and His Rough Ridin' Ramblers, until a local boy steps out of the crowd: Elvis Presley. The King, in only his second film, puts his best pelvis forward and knocks 'em dead with multiple songs, including “Teddy Bear.” (101 mins)

  • Hell's Half Acre

    • Friday, September 27 7:00 pm

    John H. Auer (U.S., 1954). Archival print! The swaying palms and lapping waves of Waikiki give way to the sordid darkness of nearby Chinatown in this little-known Aloha Noir. Wendell Corey (in a rare starring role) plays an island gangster gone legit, until, of course, he's brought back into the game…. Elsa Lanchester, Evelyn Keyes, and Philip Ahn costar. (90 mins)

  • The Killer Is Loose

    • Friday, September 27 8:50 pm

    Budd Boetticher (U.S., 1956). Bottle-bottom bespectacled “Foggy” Poole (Wendell Corey) is an unassuming bank clerk, turned to become the inside man on a heist, in Boetticher's tight and trim tale of noir terror, helped along by the presence of Joseph Cotten, Rhonda Fleming, and Alan Hale. (73 mins)

  • The Rainmaker

    • Sunday, September 22 7:40 pm

    Joseph Anthony (U.S., 1956). Conman Bill Starbuck (Burt Lancaster) is a bogus rainmaker aiming to “help” a parched Depression-era Kansas town out of its drought-or at least its cash. Katharine Hepburn plays a spinster who falls for this traveling trickster, and Wendell Corey is the town's dowdy, damaged deputy. (120 mins)

  • The Big Knife

    • Sunday, September 15 7:20 pm

    Robert Aldrich (U.S., 1955). Aldrich's scalding look at Hollywood stars Jack Palance as a disillusioned movie star, Rod Steiger as a manipulative mogul, and Wendell Corey as Steiger's oily assistant. Ida Lupino and Shelley Winters costar in this caustic Clifford Odets creation. (110 mins)

  • My Man and I

    • Friday, September 13 9 pm

    William A. Wellman (U.S., 1952) Archival print! Social-realist author John Fante provides the script for this intriguing look at immigrant relations, starring Ricardo Montalbán as a Mexican-born farm worker looking to better himself in the San Joaquin Valley who encounters a racist (Wendell Corey), his ever-yearning wife (Claire Trevor), and a lost lush (Shelley Winters). (98 mins)

  • Harriet Craig

    • Friday, September 13 7 pm

    Vincent Sherman (U.S., 1950) Vault Print! Joan Crawford stars as an ever-fraught and overwrought woman who protects her suburban home like a fortress, waging war against dirt, untidiness, and even her messy dullard of a hubby, Wendell Corey. One of 1950s Hollywood's rare spotlights on the “housewife,” here given all the neuroses of any noir figure. (93 mins)

  • The Furies

    • Saturday, September 7 8:30 pm

    Anthony Mann (U.S., 1950). Strong-willed Barbara Stanwyck's love-hate relationship with cattle-baron father Walter Huston takes on the proportions of Greek tragedy in "one of the darkest Westerns ever made" (SF Chronicle). Wendell Corey costars as “Rip Darrow,” a gambler who's Stanwyck's only match. (107 mins)

  • Desert Fury

    • Friday, September 6 7 pm

    Lewis Allen (U.S., 1947). A card-shuffler and his thuggish partner (Wendell Corey) bring some hot winds into a desert town in this film noir in bright living color, starring Burt Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott, John Hodiak, and Corey in his debut role. Saurian-like with sappy eyes, he only warms up when the sun is down. (94 mins)

  • Sorry, Wrong Number

    • Friday, September 6 9 pm

    Anatole Litvak (U.S., 1948) Wealthy shut-in Leona Stevenson (Barbara Stanwyck) gets connected to a wrong number-and overhears two men plotting a murder, perhaps even hers. Burt Lancaster and Wendell Corey, as an ever-caring physician, add flavor to Litvak's paranoia-drenched noir, told through a series of dizzying flashbacks. (89 mins)