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Film Festival Returns: Southport Boulevard of Broken Dreams...Eddie Muller's Noir City 4 Returns To Chicago by Daniel J. Kelley

The Face Behind The Mask (Columbia, 1941). One Sheet (27" X 41"). Film Noir.
Starring Peter Lorre, Evelyn Keyes, Don Beddoe, George E. Stone, John Tyrrell, and Stanley Brown. Directed by Robert Florey. An unrestored poster with good color and an overall very presentable appearance. It may have tears, paper loss, minor stains, edge wear, and/or some fold separation. There is slight paper loss in the image area. Please see full-color, enlargeable image below for more details. Folded, Fine...$338.38

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Film Festival Returns: Southport Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Daniel J. Kelley 16 August 2012

Daniel J. Kelley is a contributor to “The Chicago Daily Observer.” His essay on the film noir roles of actor Hugh Beaumont is included in the most recent “Noir City” anthology issue which is now available in paperback.

According to writer Daniel J. Kelley...

"Noir City Chicago returns for its fourth year at the Music Box Theater. The festival series opens on Friday, August 17th, and runs for one week, concluding on August 23rd. Authors Alan K. Rode and Foster Hirsch, both representing the Film Noir Foundation, a not for profit organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of vintage motion pictures, will introduce the fifteen feature films. Appropriately enough, many of the film titles selected for this year’s festival program have solid literary pedigrees. The films include screen adaptations of works by such authors as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cornell Woolrich, Graham Greene and Mickey Spillane...

Three Strangers (Warner Brothers, 1946).Belgian (14" X 19"). Crime. Starring Sydney Greenstreet, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Peter Lorre, Joan Lorring, Robert Shayne, Marjorie Riordan, Arthur Shields, Rosalind Ivan, Alan Napier. Directed by Jean Negulesco. This Belgian poster has had the imprint area trimmed by three inches. There is edge wear with small tears, light fold wear, pieces of scotch tape on the corners, and light stains on the edge. Gorgeous artwork of the three leads by Wiki. Fine+...$68.12

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 The opening night of the festival features two films with Peter Lorre: “Three Strangers” and “The Face Behind the Mask.” Geraldine Fitzgerald and Sydney “the Fatman” Greenstreet co-star with Lorre in “Three Strangers” which was directed by Jean Negulesco. “The Face Behind the Mask” is an economical “B” movie from Columbia Pictures in which Lorre is an immigrant driven to a life of crime after being disfigured in a fire.

One of the most prolific authors of the pulp fiction that lent itself so readily to film noir screen adaptations was the bitter and reclusive Cornell Woolrich, whose own biography rivals that of Edgar Allan Poe for its nightmarish strangeness. When his initial literary efforts to mimic F. Scott Fitzgerald failed, Woolrich’s fevered imagination churned out short stories that were produced for as little as a penny per word during the Great Depression. Woolrich has the unique distinction of being the crime author whose works, including titles issued under his pseudonyms of William Irish and George Hopley, were most frequently adapted for movies during Hollywood’s Golden Era. While many of his stories and novels were fodder for Poverty Row productions, talented directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Siodmak, Jacques Tourneur and Francois Truffaut, among others, also directed movies based upon Woolrich’s writings. On Saturday, there will be a marathon Wool-rich triple feature!

Contemporary hipsters often associate film noir with smooth jazz. This music was, however, principally a late cycle addition to the film genre. Most of the feature films released during the Forties featured fully orchestrated musical scores. One notable exception is “The Phantom Lady” which features the frenetic drumming of Gene Krupa who dubbed the scenes featuring Elisha Cooke, Jr. on the drums. Highly regarded by noir aficionados, “The Phantom Lady” is another of those forgotten films that has not been released on DVD. Robert Siodmak directed the film.

Director and producer Roy William Neill is best remembered for his eleven wartime “Sherlock Holmes” pictures which starred Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. His final film “The Black Angel” is a stylish adaptation of Woolrich’s blackmail novel featuring Dan Duryea, Broderick Crawford, June Vincent, Wallace Ford, Peter Lorre and Constance Dowling with a script by Roy Chanselor.

In a truly film noir turn of events, after finishing the picture, Neill, who had long intended to return to his native England and enjoy a life of luxury in retirement, promptly dropped dead upon his arrival in the United Kingdom. Neill had built a stately residence with his Hollywood earnings, but he collapsed and died after crossing the threshold of his newly completed dream house for the first time.

One of Woolrich’s best short stories (“The Boy Who Cried Murder”) was adapted for the truly frightening film “The Window.” The Aesop fable of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” was given an urban updating by Woolrich as a child with a propensity for lying is unable to convince his skeptical parents and neighbors that he witnessed an actual murder while climbing an apartment building fire escape on a sweltering summer night. The modestly budgeted R-K-O film was shelved for over a year by the mercurial Howard Hughes simply because he disliked it.

Upon its delayed premiere, the movie exceeded expectations and proved to be a surprise hit. The child actor Bobby Driscoll, who was primarily known for his work on “The Song of the South” at Walt Disney studios, earned a special Academy Award for his work on both “The Window” and “So Dear to My Heart” as the best Juvenile performer of 1949. Tragically, like many a character in Woolrich’s fiction, Driscoll became a narcotics addict and he died of an overdose in an abandoned building not at all unlike the New York City tenement slums depicted in this motion picture. Driscoll was twenty-one at the time of his death and his unclaimed body was buried in a pauper’s grave.

[editor's note: Age, A Bad Case Of Acne, also caused the down-ward spiral in his [Child Star Bobby Driscoll] life too...Later he was identified by his mother and given a proper burial.]


“99 River Street” is a hard hitting noir directed by Phil Karlson in which John Payne plays a washed up boxer reduced to driving a taxi cab. The former contender is framed for murder when his unfaithful wife runs afoul of her current flame who is an unrepentant criminal. “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” is an expose’ of union corruption along the waterfront. Arnold Laven directed. These films will be shown on Sunday.

On Monday, August 20th, the tabloid press is examined in “Shakedown” with a cast that includes Howard Duff, Brian Donlevy and Lawrence Tierney. The second feature is “Undertow” which was filmed on location in Chicago and stars Tierney’s younger brother, Scott Brady.

Chicago native Robert Ryan (a graduate of Loyola Academy, when the Catholic high school was based in Rogers Park, Ryan was born and raised a few miles from the Music Box in Uptown) is the star attraction in two intense performances on August 21st. In Nicholas Ray’s “On Dangerous Ground,” Ryan portrays a brutal cop whose loathing for criminals earns him a suspension after he beats up a suspect. His punishment is a reassignment to the sticks. Ida Lupino and Ward Bond co-star.

In a delightful example of malice in which art imitates life, director Max Ophuls cast Ryan as a maniacal millionaire, “Smith Ohlrig,” in the film "Caught" whose obsessive behaviors compare most unfavorably with the actual owner of R-K-O Studios, Howard Hughes. Barbara Bel Geddes plays the department store model who agreed to marry the madman and James Mason is a sympathetic doctor who tries to help her escape the tyrannical control freak.

Alan Ladd achieved stardom in his breakout role as the contract assassin Raven in “This Gun for Hire.” The movie was adapted from Graham Greene’s novel. Ladd’s supporting performance stole the picture out from under the nominal leading actor Robert Preston and his successful playing opposite Veronica Lake resulted in the screen couple being reunited in several more Paramount releases. Ladd’s seldom seen 1949 version of “The Great Gatsby” has been revived on account of its darker take on the life and death of a bootlegger with a taste for the finer things in life. Both films will be screened on August 22nd.

The closing night of the festival, August 23rd, has an explosive double feature: James Cagney is in top form on “top of the world” as the sociopathic criminal, Cody Jarrett, a cold blooded killer with an unusually pronounced oedipal complex in Raoul Walsh’s “White Heat.” Mickey Spillane’s “Kiss Me Deadly” is given a particularly subversive twist by veteran screenwriter Buzz Bezzerides in the Robert Aldrich production of a most unusual Mike Hammer film. Ralph Meeker plays Hammer as private investigator looking to cash in by solving a Pandora’s box murder mystery in a truly apocalyptic film. Watch for Cloris Leachman, the beauty contest participant chosen as “Miss Chicago” in 1945, in an important supporting role.

Music Box information here

**
Daniel J. Kelley is a contributor to “The Chicago Daily Observer.” His essay on the film noir roles of actor Hugh Beaumont is included in the most recent “Noir City” anthology issue which is now available in paperback.

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Tags: 4, city, cry, dan, danger, dick, eddie, film, films, foundation, More…frank, kelley, muller, noir, olive, powell, tarzi, writer

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Comment by Darkness To Light... on August 26, 2012 at 11:07am

[editor's note: In Order To View The Lobby Cards and Posters Up-close and Personal...Just Tap The Lobby Cards and Posters [On This Page][ and Then The Lobby Cards and Posters Will Appear On A Separate Page Smaller Then "Tap" it again...] In Order To Take a Closer Look...Thanks,]

Comment by Darkness To Light... on August 26, 2012 at 11:03am

Kiss Me Deadly (United Artists, 1955). Belgian (14" X 21"). Film Noir.
Starring Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Juano Hernandez, Cloris Leachman, Maxine Cooper, Jack Elam, and Strother Martin. Directed by Robert Aldrich. An unrestored poster with good color and an overall very presentable appearance. It may have tears, slight paper loss, minor stains, and/or some fold separation. Please see full-color, enlargeable image below for more details. Folded, Fine+...THIS POSTER SOLD FOR $79.00

 

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Kiss Me Deadly (United Artists, 1955).Lobby Card Set of 8 (11" X 14"). "Blood Red Kisses! White Hot Thrills! Mickey Spillane's latest H-Bomb!" A noir made for the Atomic Age, "Kiss Me Deadly" is one of the roughest, toughest detective films ever made. The Kefauver Commission named this film the number one corrupting influence on America's youth in 1955. This lobby card set has corner creases and wrinkling, pinholes and some soiling. The title card has some small stains and an edge tear. Great, hard-edged action shots in this set -- look for a young Jack Elam! Fine/Very Fine. THESE LOBBY CARDS SOLD FOR $161.00

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Comment by Darkness To Light... on August 26, 2012 at 10:52am

White Heat (Warner Brothers, 1949). Belgian (14" X 22").
Warner Brothers created some of the best crime dramas of the era, and Cagney was one of their greatest assets. His tough guy attitude, top acting and unlimited facial expressions led to remarkable roles in a string of hits-- The Public Enemy, Angels With Dirty Faces, Each Dawn I Die, The Roaring Twenties, etc... In top form, Cagney plays the mentally disturbed gangster Cody Jarrett to the hilt. Virginia Mayo is just as treacherous as his wife, with Edmond O'Brien co-starring. This striking Belgian poster has a few minor pinholes and a horizontal crease in the imprint area and wrinkles. The sensational artwork is by Wik. Folded, Very Fine-...THIS BELGIAN POSTER SOLD FOR $179.25

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Comment by Darkness To Light... on August 24, 2012 at 10:10am

The Great Gatsby (Paramount, 1949).

Six Sheet (81" X 81").
This oversized dramatic image of a trench-coated Alan Ladd (in one of his finest performances) has the three female leads (Shelley Winters, Betty Field, and Ruth Hussey) all looking up at him longingly. On the left is one of the wild parties where "Gatsby" meets socialites. Great linenbacking and mild restoration for small cross-fold separations with small chips and wear at the fold lines, and small tears in the bottom left corner, has this poster sparkling! Fine/Very Fine on Linen.

[This 6 Sheet poster sold for $286.80]

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Comment by Darkness To Light... on August 24, 2012 at 10:05am

The Great Gatsby (Paramount, 1949).

Half Sheet (22" X 28") Style B. Drama.
Starring Alan Ladd, Betty Field, Macdonald Carey, Ruth Hussey, Barry Sullivan, Howard Da Silva, Shelley Winters and Henry Hull. Directed by Elliott Nugent. A restored poster with good color and an overall very presentable appearance. It may have tears, slight paper loss, minor stains, and/or some fold separation. Grades on all restored items are pre-restoration grades; Please see full-color, enlargeable image below for more details. Fine- on Linen.

[This half-Sheet Sold FOR $42.00]

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Comment by Darkness To Light... on August 24, 2012 at 9:58am

The Great Gatsby (Paramount, 1949).

Pressbook (24 Pages, 12" X 15"). Drama. Starring Alan Ladd, Betty Field, Macdonald Carey, Ruth Hussey, Barry Sullivan, Howard Da Silva, Shelley Winters, and Henry Hull. Directed by Elliott Nugent. An unrestored pressbook with good color and an overall very presentable appearance. It may have tears, slight paper loss, minor stains, and/or some fold separation. Grades on all restored items are pre-restoration grades; Please see full-color, enlargeable image [above] for more details. Fine+.

[This un-restored press-book sold for $95.60]

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Comment by Darkness To Light... on August 24, 2012 at 9:52am

The Great Gatsby (Paramount, 1949).

Insert (14" X 36"). This version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel hews much closer to the book than the later Robert Redford film, and many people find Alan Ladd's superb performance to be preferable as well. Betty Field, Macdonald Carey, Ruth Hussey, Howard Da Silva, and Shelley Winters round out the excellent cast. This impressive insert poster features a manly, bare-chested Ladd, and several of the fine ladies of the feature. Minor condition issues include pinholes in the image area, light overall soiling, corner bumps, and edge wear. A great-looking poster. Folded, Fine+.

[This Insert Sold For $239.00]

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Comment by Darkness To Light... on August 24, 2012 at 9:48am

The Great Gatsby (Paramount, 1949).

Lobby Card Set of 8 (11" X 14"). This was the second adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel, and is considered by many to be the best. Alan Ladd stars as social-climbing bootlegger Jay Gatsby, who endeavors to win back the love of an old girlfriend (Betty Field) with tragic results. This lobby card set shows edge wear, foxing, and corner bumps and creases, as well as a small stain at the top of one card. Despite these minor flaws, this is a beautiful set from a fine movie, a classic of both film and literature. Fine/Very Fine.

[These lobby cards sold for $448.13]

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Comment by Darkness To Light... on August 24, 2012 at 9:37am

This Gun for Hire (Paramount, R-1945). One Sheet (27" X 41").
This 1945 re-release poster features fantastic art of Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd. When released in 1942, Paramount found themselves with a huge hit on their hands in what would be an early film noir classic. They teamed Lake and Ladd in six more films and, to this day, they are known as the king and queen of noir. This fabulous one sheet is for the re-release of the hit, and with this poster, they have billed Alan Ladd first. This one sheet had very minor chipping in the right edge and a small amount of border loss along the lower left edge. There was touch-up to the crossfolds, primarily the center one, and the red title looks to have some slight touch-up also. This poster is at least as scarce as the original, maybe more so, and has had professional conservation work. It displays beautifully. Fine/Very Fine on Linen.

[THIS POSTER SOLD FOR $1,482.50]

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Comment by Darkness To Light... on August 22, 2012 at 10:17am

[editor's note: In Order To View The Lobby Cards and Posters Up-close and Personal...Just Tap The Lobby Cards and Posters [On This Page][ and Then The Lobby Cards and Posters Will Appear On A Separate Page Smaller Then "Tap" it again...] In Order To Take a Closer Look...Thanks,]

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