I’m thrilled and proud to announce that after an astonishing twenty-five years of presenting classic and rare film noir at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater, I will now be taking my show up the street to the fabulously palatial CASTRO THEATRE. That’s right! For five consecutive Thursdays (August 6 – September 3) the Castro will host I WAKE UP DREAMING 2015: HOT SUMMER NOIR, a simmering collection of twelve rarely screened film noir gems (in glorious 35mm studio prints) all being shown at the Castro for the very first time.
I’ve handpicked these phenomenal films based on their overall unfamiliarity to Castro audiences and the strangely hypnotic hold they seem to have on diehard “noir heads” everywhere. Without a doubt, this year’s installment of I WAKE UP DREAMING looks to be the most exciting ever.
Thanks for checking in and feel free to stop back regularly for updates!
– Elliot Lavine
Here’s the line-up of films:
THURSDAY, AUGUST 6: NOIR ESOTERICA!
SO DARK THE NIGHT. A renowned Parisian detective vacations along the French countryside only to find a brutal case of murder waiting for him. One surprising twist after another in what many consider to be one of director Joseph H. (“Gun Crazy”) Lewis’ finest hours. Starring Stevan Geray, Micheline Cheirel, and Eugene Borden. Photoraphed by Burnett Guffey. 71 mins. 1946. 35mm Studio Print. Showtimes: 6:15pm and 9:30pm
RIDE THE PINK HORSE. Directed by and starring Robert Montgomery, this remains one of the last true Holy Grails in the film noir universe. Adapted from a novel by Dorothy B. Hughes, it reaches far beyond the conventional boundaries of noir and wanders into a spiritual stratosphere previously unexplored by Hollywood. Also starring Wanda Hendrix, Thomas Gomez, Fred Clark, Art Smith, and Andrea King. Screenplay by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer. Photographed by Russell Metty. 101 mins. 1947. 35mm Studio Print. Showtime: 7:30pm
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13: COLUMBIA NOIR TRIPLE-DECKER!!!
CHINATOWN AT MIDNIGHT. A studio backlot San Francisco is the setting for this exciting B noir! A ruthless jewel thief becomes a murderer during a brazen holdup! With the cops closing in, it becomes a dangerous game of cat and mouse down along the dark and forbidden alleys of Chinatown. This super-rare noir stars Hurd Hatfield, Jean Willes, and Tom Powers. Directed by Seymour Friedman. Photographed by Henry Freulich. 1949. 67 mins. 1949. 35mm Studio Print. Showtime: 6:15pm
DANGEROUS BLONDES. Film Noir’s most unheralded comedy stars Evelyn Keyes and Allyn Joslyn as a daffy married couple — he writes grisly murder mysteries and she gets them both up to their necks in trouble when they suddenly become entwined in a real-life case of murder in the first. Sidesplittingly funny with a pretty high body count! Also starring Edmund Lowe, William Demarest, and Ann Savage! Directed by Leigh Jason. Photographed by Phlip Tannura. 70 mins. 1943. 35mm Studio Print. Showtime: 7:45pm
MYSTERIOUS INTRUDER. The fifth installment of Columbia’s WHISTLER series is also one of the best. Series star Richard Dix plays an unscrupulous private detective on the track of a missing girl and a huge sum of money. Wonderfully weird and atmospheric, it proves to be a B noir of the highest order. Also starring Barton MacLane, Nina Vale, Regis Toomey, Mike Mazurki, and Charles Lane. Directed by William Castle. Photographed by Philip Tannura. 61 mins. 1946. 35mm Studio Print. Showtime: 9:30pm
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20: SEX AND VIOLENCE!
GUNS GIRLS & GANGSTER. A deliriously demented B noir classic!! Sex and crime converge as an ex-con plans a daring Las Vegas casino robbery with the help some pretty shady characters, including the mindbogglingly voluptuous wife of the con’s ex-cellmate. All hell breaks loose when her husband busts out of the can and comes gunning for them. The incredible cast includes Mamie Van Doren (!), Gerald Mohr, and Lee Van Cleef (!). Directed by “King of the Bs”, Edward L. Cahn. Photographed by Kenneth Peach. 70 mins. 1959. 35mm Studio Print. Showtimes 6:00pm and 9:15pm
INSIDE DETROIT. Racketeers square off in the Motor City over who gets to control a Detroit local of the UAW. Old-school noir horseplay on the mean streets of Detroit with a health dose of mid-50s repressed sexuality thrown in for good measure! Filmed on location! Starring noir stalwarts Pat O’Brien and Dennis O’Keefe. Also in the cast: Tina Caver, Mark Damon, and Joe Turkel. Directed by Fred F. Sears. Photographed by Henry Freulich. 82 mins. 1956. 35mm Studio Print. Showtime 7:30pm
THURSDAY, AUGUST 27: DEEP NOIR TRIPLE THREAT!!!
KILLER’S KISS. A boxer steps in when he witnesses a B girl being roughed up by her slimy lover leading to unexpected and violent consequences. A dreamlike soiree into a weirdly noir netherworld, it will stay rooted in your brain long after you leave the theater. Starring Frank Silvera, Jamie Smith, and Irene Kane. Written, directed, and photographed by Stanley Kubrick. 67 mins. 1955. 35mm Studio Print. Showtime 6:20pm
WITNESS TO MURDER. A woman awakens in the middle of the night and through her bedroom window witnesses a brutal murder! Despite her desperate pleas, no one seems to believe her — except the killer! A brilliant and thrilling noir classic, still relatively unknown to the general public. Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Merrill, George Sanders (!), Jesse White, and Juanita Moore. Directed by Roy Rowland. Photographed by the legendary John Alton (!!!). 84 mins. 1954. 35mm Studio Print. Showtime 7:45pm
DEMENTIA. Time has turned this one-of-a-kind subversive beat-noir into the masterpiece it was destined to become. This cinema-rich nightmare of a young woman’s plunge into madness is a visually sensational voyage unlike any you’ve seen before. Shot silent and eerily scored by George Antheil, this is not a film to be trifled with. Starring Adrienne Barrett, Bruno Ve Sota, and Ben Roseman. Directed by John Parker. Photographed by William C. Thompson. 56 mins. 1953. 35mm print. Showtime 9:30pm
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3: FROM THE POISON PEN OF DAVID GOODIS!
NIGHTFALL. An innocent man becomes the target of both the cops and the crooks who believe he knows the whereabouts of a fortune in stolen loot. Breathtakingly exciting and romantic, this is a noir thriller that delivers the goods, and how! Starring Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft, Brian Keith, James Gregory, and Rudy Bond. Screenplay by Sterling Silliphant, from the novel by David Goodis. Directed by Jacques Tourneur. 78 mins. 1957. 35mm Studio Print. Showtimes: 6:00pm and 9:30pm
THE BURGLAR. Goodis’ twisted tale of love between thieves is a major tour de force for all concerned. A gang of crooks, led by a disillusioned veteran of crime, rob a fake spiritualist and then hightail it off to Atlantic City. Resembling nothing less than something out of the French New Wave, it is a film of astonishing power and raw sexual frankness. Starring Dan Duryea, Jayne Mansfield, Martha Vickers, and Mickey Shaughnessy. Directed by Paul Wendkos. Screenplay by David Goodis (from his novel). Photographed by Don Malkames. 90 mins. 1957. 35mm Studio Print. Showtime 7:40pm
These twelve incredible films represent a sumptuous sampler of sizzling summer noir and I’m honored to be able to present them at the Castro. I hope noir fans all over the Bay Area (and beyond) have an opportunity to see them on their beautiful, huge screen!