The 13th annual festival of film noir hosted by the 'Czar of Noir', Eddie Muller, takes up residence at the Castro Theatre for ten days starting tonight, Friday, January 16. Several of the films featured at this year's Noir City are set in San Francisco, including the opening double-feature of Woman on the Run and Born To Be Bad. And since this year's theme is 'Til Death Do Us Part - A Festival of Unholy Matrimony, we couldn't help but think of the rather perfect union that has been formed between film noir and the city of San Francisco.
|Caption: "WOMAN ON THE RUN - UNIVERSAL INTERNATIONAL Life-saving medicine is passed to fugitive Frank Johnson (ROSS ELLOTT) by his wife (ANN SHERIDAN) in this scene from Fidelity Pictures' "Woman On The Run," dramatic story of a tottering marriage saved when a mutual peril makes the partners realize their love for one another. Dennis O'Keefe co-stars with Ann in this Universal-International release." Oct. 24, 1950 [P641 SHERIDAN, ANN] (Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library)|
Drawn to the romantic landscape by the lure of possibility, millions have flocked here to cast their stakes in the hope for prosperity, pleasure, and a personal freedom seldom dreamed of elsewhere. Following the imperatives of manifest destiny, the city's pioneers engaged in fraud, larceny, kidnapping, and murder. The prospect of gold led many to their demise while establishing a terrain ruled by human passions.
|Caption: "KEEPS SECRET FROM HER - Edmond O'Brien, in and as "The Bigamist," doesn't tell wife Ida Lupino he has a mate (Joan Fontaine) in San Francisco. The Filmakers' [sic] picture will have its world premiere tomorrow at the St. Francis, with evening stage appearances by the above stars, Miss Fontaine, Edmund Gwenn, Producer Collier Young and Matt Dennis, who sings the film's theme song. All are here today in preparation for the premiere." Nov. 23, 1953. |
[P426 LUPINO, IDA (groups, doubles)] (Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library)
It is a looming, shape-shifting mist that, especially at night, plays tricks of perception on anyone it engulfs. It is eerie not so much for what it conceals [...] but for what one fears it might conceal. More than anything else it is this feeling - dread - that is the subject of film noir.Whether it is unleashed human desires or natural air-conditioning, San Francisco and noir have been in a long relationship that is still going strong.
|Caption: "WILLIAM POWELL AND MYRNA LOY BLOCK TRAFFIC.....When Director W.S. Van Dyke takes the "After the Thin Man" company to San Francisco for scenes of the new Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer picture, sequel to "The Thin Man". Motion picture fans on Market Street had a field day. In the foreground are Van Dyke and Ollie Marsh, cameraman. Hunt Stromberg is the producer." Oct. 28, 1936. [P558 POWELL, WILLIAM] (Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library)|
San Francisco Noir: The City in Film Noir from 1940 to the Present by Nathaniel Rich
The Art of Noir: Posters and Graphics from the Classic Film Noir Period by Eddie Muller
Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir by Eddie Muller
Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir by Eddie Muller
The Gang That Shot Up Hollywood by John Stanley, which features the article "Eddie Muller: Czar of Noir"
San Francisco Noir edited by Peter Maravelis
San Francisco Noir 2: The Classics edited by Peter Maravelis
All of the city-based titles in the Akashic Noir Series.
The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories edited by Otto Penzler
And, of course, anything by one of the San Francisco History Center's favorite authors, Dashiell Hammett.
If you would like to create a San Francisco film noir festival of your own, we suggest these titles:
Lady From Shanghai (1947)
Thieves' Highway (1949)
The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)
The Sniper (1952)
The Lineup (1958)
Experiment in Terror (1962)
Photos of some of your favorite noir actors, actresses, and directors can be found in the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin Photo Morgue, accessible through the San Francisco History Center Photo Desk on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
|Caption: "Lieutenants Cody Owen, left and Mel Avery, Naval Reserve pilots from Oakland Naval Air Station, are the lucky two carrying Doris Day beside the F2H Banshee jet... Doris was unanimously chosen the "Sweetheart of the Naval Air Reserve" today, in honor of the tenth anniversary of the Naval Air Reserve this year... She is working in the Arwin Production "Julie", in which she plays an airline hostess. It is presently being filmed on location at Oakland Airport, also the site of NAS Oakland and the "Weekend Warriors". May 9, 1956 |
[P DAY, DORIS] (Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library)
Coming soon: At the Oscars