Fourteen years ago, the American Cinematheque launched its inaugural festival of film noir. Back in 1999 it was called “Side Streets and Back Alleys: A Festival of Film Noir,” and it featured dozens of forgotten films, retrieved from critical exile, that have since been recognized as unjustly neglected genre gems, with many returned to circulation via DVD.
This year the the festival returns to the Egyptian Theatre, where it all began, with a super lineup of films ranging from pre-Code proto-noir (OKAY, AMERICA and AFRAID TO TALK) to perennial festival favorites (T-MEN, THE WINDOW, CAGED) to rediscovered rarities (NAKED ALIBI, SHIELD FOR MURDER, JOHNNY ALLEGRO, MANHANDLED, THREE STRANGERS, Alan Ladd’s 1949 THE GREAT GATSBY).
I’m all for F. Scott Fitzgerald, so I’ll go to the opening night Alan Ladd double-bill,
- THE GREAT GATSBY (1949)Universal, 91 min, USA, Dir: Elliott Nugent
Resurrected at last is this Golden Age version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, unseen for decades. Thanks to our friends at Universal Pictures, Alan Ladd’s noir-tinged take on the timeless tale of shady success and lost love can be seen again, in a brand-new print made exclusively for Noir City! Screenplay by Cyril Hume and Richard Maibaum, based on the novel and a play by Owen Davis. Directed by Elliott Nugent. An intriguing take on an American classic. NOT ON DVD
- THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942)Universal, 81 min, USA, Dir: Frank Tuttle
Alan Ladd skyrocketed to stardom playing vengeful assassin Philip Raven in this stylish adaptation of Graham Greene’s classic novel of espionage, transposed to the California coast. Veronica Lake sizzles in her first of seven onscreen pairings with Ladd, and noir favorites Laird Cregar and Marc Lawrence lend memorable support. Directed by Frank Tuttle, from a screenplay by W.R. Burnett (THE ASPHALT JUNGLE) and Albert Maltz (NAKED CITY)
Thank you, American Cinematheque, for text.
Photo, Alan Ladd in “Gatsby”
Noir City: Hollywood | Egyptian Theatre | opens Friday April 20 | full sked here
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