Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer of noir

I probably should have mentioned instead of talking about the Bulldog Drummond films that, starting tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM, TCM is runnins a special summer series of noir films. Every Friday in June and July, TCM will be showing 24 hours of noirs (or films they claim are noirs) from the classic era of noirs, as well as the films inspired by the old noirs. Eddie Muller, who hosted a Friday Night Spotlight a couple of years ago on noir writers, will be back to host, presumably only during prime time. After all, when TCM had the centenary of World War I last year, the films ran for 24 hours but the on-air presenter was only around for prime time.

Anyhow, a couple of the movies are worth mentioning. The whole thing kicks off at 6:00 AM with M, Fritz Lang's classic film about a child murderer (Peter Lorre) on the loose in Berlin, and the underworld vigilante justice that is going after him because his activities are making the police cause problems for them. That will be followed at 8:00 AM by another foreign noir. This one, however, is French, which makes more sense since it's generally the French films of the late 1930s that are considered to be the prototype of the American noir film. Anyhow, the film in question is La bête humaine, which was remade in Hollywood 15 years later as Human Desire. (By the same token, the late 1930s French proto-noir Le jour se lève, also known as Daybreak, was remade in Hollywood as The Long Night. Neither of these is airing in June, I think.)

I certainly wouldn't consider the Bette Davis version of The Letter to be noir, but there it is at 9:45 AM. Another movie airing tomorrow that I wouldn't consider noir, but just a straight crime flick, albeit a good one, is High Sierra at 12:45 PM.

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