Thursday, April 5, 2012

Night of Noir in City of Angels

The Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Hollywood is a cool place to visit, with it's huge assortment of film books, posters and memorabilia. There's a heavy emphasis on vintage cinema throughout the store, so you'll want to stop in sometime and browse the racks.

The shop is going to be the epicenter of film noir cool April 28, when it plays host to authors Alain Silver and James Ursini, who have written some indispensable books on film noir, including their latest, "Film Noir: The Directors." Show up at 5 p.m. on that day and they'll autograph copies of their newest tome.

Then, all you hard-core noir junkies will want to saunter down Hollywood Blvd. to the Egyptian Theater, where a noir double bill will be hitting the screen so hard it might bruise.

1956, Universal, 103 min, USA, Dir: Arnold Laven

This stepson to ON THE WATERFRONT packs a wallop of its own. An upstart district attorney (Richard Egan) tries to crack the New York waterfront’s mob-enforced code of silence and mete out justice for a murdered whistleblower. Jan Sterling is terrific as the victim’s widow, heading a dynamite supporting cast of familiar and fantastic character actors, including Dan Duryea, Charles McGraw, Sam Levene and Walter Matthau. Lawrence Roman’s fact-based script is vigorously directed by Arnold Laven. NOT ON DVD

1957, Warner Bros., 85 min, USA, Dir: Martin Ritt

Another gritty exploration of life on the Manhattan docks that’s also a powerful look at 1950s race relations. Sidney Poitier and John Cassavetes play working-class pals driven apart by ignorance and racism (exemplified by a virulent thug, played brilliantly by Jack Warden). Martin Ritt’s stunning directorial debut, based on Robert Alan Aurthur’s 1955 teleplay “A Man Is Ten Feet Tall.” Not entirely noir, but a smart and suspenseful drama overdue for rediscovery!

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