Noted film programmer Elliot Lavine brings his critically acclaimed “I WAKE UP DREAMING” festival of rare and classic film noir to Cinema 21 for one astounding week, March 17 — 23. An incredible week that will feature a whopping 16 noir features: a mix of hard-core classics, poverty row stunners, cult oddities and the scarily timely original 1962 version of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE! Many will be screened in 35mm studio prints.
Tickets on sale now!
Friday, March 17
Seminal noir classic of sex, violence, and betrayal played against the steamy backdrop of post-war Los Angeles. A disillusioned man returns home in an attempt to win back his ex-wife who now hangs on the arm of one of the city's most ruthless gangsters. But will this stand in his way? The smoldering on-screen sexual chemistry between the two leads is justifiably the stuff of legends. Unmissable on the big screen! Starring Burt Lancaster, Yvonne DeCarlo, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally, Percy Helton and electrifying on-screen musical performances by Esy Morales and his band. Photographed by Frank Planer. Directed by Robert Siodmak. 35mm Studio Print. In B&W. 88 mins. 1949.
At 4:00 and 7:30
Perhaps one of the most genuinely bizarre cult noirs ever, GUN CRAZY tells the ferocious tale of a thrill-crazed young couple who embark on a deadly crime spree, desperately seeking the freedom that has always eluded them. This low-budget classic trades on equal doses of radically subversive filmmaking technique and the beautifully unwholesome fetishistic images it cooks up. A major influence on the French New Wave a decade later. Starring Peggy Cummins, John Dahl, Berry Kroeger, Morris Carnovsky, Rusty Tamblyn. Photographed by Russell Harlan. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis. 35mm Studio Print. In B&W. 89 mins. 1950. At 5:45 and 9:15
Saturday, March 18
From the depths of Poverty Row comes the most heralded, god-forsaken B noir ever made! Shot, edited and scored in about a week, this pessimistic pearl takes as its focus the very nature of Fate itself. A down and out piano player, hitchhiking from New York to LA encounters the femme fatale from Hell and things only get worse. A stone-cold delight from first frame to last. See it on the big screen to fully appreciate the utter audacity of cinematic ingenuity at its best. Starring Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Edmund MacDonald, Claudia Drake. Photographed by Benjamin Kline. Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. Digital. In B&W. 69 mins. 1945. At 1:00 pm ONLY! Separate Admission.
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE
A brilliant mixture of film noir and speculative fantasy fiction, this bristling Cold War masterpiece about the effects of brainwashing and Oedipal complexities still packs a mighty punch here in chilly 2017. An army officer returns home from the Korean War with some terrifying secrets planted in his mind by ruthless Communist agents. Just what their evil purpose is and how it will be unveiled make for one shockingly suspenseful experience. Daringly innovative and wonderfully subversive. Starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh, James Gregory. Photographed by Lionel Lindon. Directed by John Frankenheimer. DCP. In B&W. 129 mins. 1962. At 2:30 and 7:00
KISS ME DEADLY
Mickey Spillane's brutal private bedroom dick, Mike Hammer, slugs and slogs his way through the dankest alleys and sewers of Los Angeles in his quest for the «rest what sit,» an elusive and explosive key to nothing less than the end of the world. This is one of noir's most conspicuously adult films, visually and thematically innovative, senselessly coarse. And even though the film's subliminal messaging is distantly removed from the original novel, it nevertheless remains the ultimate reflection of noir's fatalistic powers during the deeply paranoid 50s. Starring Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Maxine Cooper, Gaby Rogers, Jack Elam. Photographed by Ernest Laszlo. Directed by Robert Aldrich. 35mm Studio Print. In B&W. 106 mins. 1955. At 5:00 and 9:30
Sunday, March 19
When the robbery of a bookie joint goes fatally bad, an innocent kid is framed for murder. Another incredible example of the kind of «high art» that could be created down on Hollywood's Poverty Row. A stunning early noir from a director who would later come to help define the style. Starring John Ireland, Sheila Ryan, Hugh Beaumont, Jane Randolph. Photographed by Guy Roe. Directed by Anthony Mann. Digital. In B&W. 72 mins. 1947. At 1:00 pm ONLY! Separate Admission.
While a man sits on death row for the murder of his blackmailing mistress, his blindly faithful wife leads a desperate chase in the night for the truth. That dark journey proves to be unexpectedly tragic. One of Cornell Woolrich's most popular and powerful books, offering a story as disturbing and dissolute as the author's own forlorn life. Starring Dan Duryea, June Vincent, Peter Lorre, Broderick Crawford, Constance Dowling, Wallace Ford. Photographed by Paul Ivano. Directed by Roy William Neill. 35mm Studio Print. In B&W. 80 mins. 1946. At 2:30, 6:15, and 9:55
RIDE THE PINK HORSE
An embittered war veteran arrives in a dusty border town intent on avenging the death of his buddy at the hands of a ruthless mobster. But Fate, in the form of a mysterious young Mexican girl, intervenes with startling and somewhat supernatural results. Dorothy B. Hughes' brilliant mystery novel has been adapted by Ben Hecht and Charles Brackett and directed by this once lost film's star, Robert Montgomery. Featuring Wanda Hendrix, Thomas Gomez, Andrea King, Fred Clark, Art Smith. Luxuriously photographed by Russell Metty. Directed by Robert Montgomery. 35mm Studio Print. In B&W. 101 mins. 1947. At 4:10 and 8:00
Monday, March 20:
A relentlessly hen-pecked cashier begins a dangerous affair with a beautiful but deceptive woman. When she discovers his talent as an amateur artist, she and her abusive lover hatch a scheme that soon drains their victim of his livelihood, his home, and his self-respect. Truly one of the screen's great achievements, a brutally frank discourse on the vagaries of Fate. Starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea, Margaret Lindsay. Photographed by MIlton Krasner. Directed by Fritz Lang. Digital. In B&W. 103 mins. 1945. At 3:45 and 7:30
After a carefully planned heist of an illegal gambling den goes haywire, the cunning ringleader goes on the lam. When he encounters a prominent psychologist who is his exact double, an insidious and deadly plan is hatched. A top-notch B noir, sizzling with unexpected plot twists and the stunning cinematography of John Alton. A relatively obscure and unheralded gem of menace and surprise! Starring Paul Henreid, Joan Bennett, Edward Franz. Photographed by John Alton. Directed by Steve Sekely. Digital. In B&W. 83 mins. 1948. At 5:45 and 9:30
Tuesday, March 21
A man vacationing in San Francisco stumbles into a waterfront dive where an unseen stranger slips a dose of radium into his cocktail. Now, with less than a week to live, he begins a desperate attempt to find his own murderer--a lurid and dangerous odyssey of betrayal and murder, one that can only lead to a nightmarish climax. An all-time cult favorite! Starring Edmond O'Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler, Neville Brand. Photographed by Ernest Laszlo. Directed by Rudolph Mate. Digital. In B&W. 83 mins. 1950. At 4:00 and 7:30
A desperate man breaks out of prison and begins a relentless and bloody pursuit of those who betrayed him. Beautifully photographed by John Alton, arguably the premier cinematographer of noir in the 1940s and 50s. A classic of good and evil, light and shadow--and a film that firmly established its brilliant director as one of noir's most significant visual storytellers. Starring Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt, Raymond Burr, John Ireland. Directed by Anthony Mann. Digital. In B&W. 78 mins. 1948. At 5:454 and 9:15
Wednesday, March 22
THE BIG HEAT
While investigating the suspicious suicide of a cop, a dedicated police detective begins to uncover insidious corruption in high places. When a bomb meant for him kills his beautiful young wife instead, he becomes a dangerous vigilante, doomed and determined to bring those responsible to justice. One of the most brutally violent noir dramas of the 50s. Starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Lee Marvin, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby, Jeanette Nolan. Photographed by Charles Lang. Directed by Fritz Lang. 35mm Studio Print. In B&W. 90 mins. 1953. At 4:00 and 7:30
THE BIG COMBO
A sadistic crime boss mixes it up with a hard-nosed cop in a nerve-wracking tale of obsession and revenge. This seminal film is a stylish blend of traditional noir themes and images with an increasing tendency toward modern violence and brutality. It doesn't hurt either that John Alton, the premier noir cinematographer shot it, providing us all with further incontrovertible evidence of his mastery of light and shadow. Ripe with homoerotic undertones, unsettling and ultimately exhilarating. Starring Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Jean Wallace, Brian Donlevy, Helen Walker, Lee Van Cleef, Earl Holliman. Photographed by John Alton. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis. Digitial In B&W. 89 mins. 1955. At 5:45 and 9:15
Thursday, March 23
Notorious crime writer Jim Thompson provided the tough-as-nails screenplay for this ground-breaking noir bombshell about an intricately planned racetrack heist that runs murderously awry. This dazzling film (only the director's second) established brilliant and bold techniques that would serve to influence future generations of filmmakers, including Quentin Tarantino. Starring Sterling Hayden, Coleen Grey, Elisha Cook, Jr., Marie Windsor, J. C. Flippen, Vince Edwards. Photographed by Lucien Ballard. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. DCP. In B&W. 84 mins. 1956. At 4:00 and 7:30
MURDER BY CONTRACT
A chillingly perverse tale of a pitiless hired assassin who suddenly has second thoughts when his latest assignment is revealed to be a woman. An idiosyncratic case study of a man without a soul--rendered in a baffling near-abstract beat style. Martin Scorsese has cited this film as inspiration for Travis Bickle's character in «Taxi Driver.» Starring Vince Edwards, Herschel Bernardi, Caprice Toriel, Philip Pine. Photographed by Burnett Guffey. Directed by Irving Lerner. 35mm Studio Archive Print. In B&W. 81 mins. 1958. At 5:45 and 9:15