Where Film Noir Lives...Too!
Mommy Dearest is on the run toward Virginia Beach, and this time she's armed with more than just a wire hanger.
Joan Crawford, the pouting diva of Hollywood divas, is the opening-night star in a film festival I'm hosting called "The Women of Film Noir," which opens Monday at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art with a screening of "Sudden Fear."
"The Women of Film Noir" is inspired by the museum's "Woman on the Run" exhibit, on view through Dec. 30. It celebrates the conniving,tempting, seductive femme fatales of dark, sinister movies. The festival will include three films:
Crawford in "Sudden Fear" at 7 p.m. Monday,
Ava Gardner in "The Killers" on Nov. 12,
and Barbara Stanwyck in "Sorry, Wrong Number" on Dec. 10. They are all tough gals, but even tough gals have to go on the run at times.
But what is this thing called "film noir"? It is one of the most frequently asked questions I hear.
Literally, it means "black film," but, actually, it is any film that deals with the seamier side of society. The underbelly. The conniving gangsters.
French critics invented the term to identify the dark, cynical movies that came out of America after World War II. After the Japanese and the Germans were no longer the villains, scriptwriters turned inward. Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney became stars. The streets of America became sinister, and stylish.
Neon lights reflecting off rain-drenched streets; that's film noir. It always rains in these movies, and there are epidemics of amnesia.
The festival is limited to movies about devilish women who can drive any man to crime.
You can leave your fears at home. These women are delightfully stylish temptations.
Mal Vincent, 757-446-2347, email@example.com