For five consecutive Thursdays (Aug 6 – Sept 3) the Castro will present Elliot Lavine’s I WAKE UP DREAMING 2015: HOT SUMMER NOIR — a simmering collection of rarely screened films (all in 35mm studio prints) — and all being shown at the Castro for the very first time! Lavine handpicked these films (12 in all) based on their overall unfamiliarity to Castro audiences and the strange appeal they still have with diehard ”noir heads” everywhere. Without question, this year’s I WAKE UP DREAMING series looks to be the most exciting ever.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 6: Double Feature!
RIDE THE PINK HORSE (1947) 7:30 only!
Based on the novel by acclaimed mystery writer Dorothy B. Hughes, RIDE THE PINK HORSE tells the story of Lucky Gagin, a disillusioned WWII veteran who arrives in the dusty border town of San Pablo. Gagin is on a mission but his motives are unclear. Is he there to exact revenge against oily gangster Frank Hugo (Fred Clark) who killed his best pal or simply to squeeze some blackmail money out of him. His path is complicated by two angels of mercy, one in the form of a sweet young Mexican girl (Wanda Hendrix), the other a rambling and garrulous carnival operator (Thomas Gomez). Further complicating his mission is the arrival of Bill Letz (Art Smith), a most unusual FBI agent.
SO DARK THE NIGHT (1946) 6:15 and 9:30
One of Director Joseph H. Lewis’ best but least known films, it tells the twisted tale of a famed Parisian detective who, while vacationing along the French countryside, is confronted by a brutal and baffling murder. With customary stylish bravura, Lewis invests this modest ”B” picture with enough visual pyrotechnics to fill a dozen films. Utilizing many of his trademark touches, he takes us down a rather dark and ultimately disturbing path. This beautiful, haunting films stars Stevan Geray, Micheline Cheirel, and Eugene Borden and was photographed by the great Burnett Guffey! At 71 minutes, it more than delivers the goods, and how!
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13: Triple Feature!!
CHINATOWN AT MIDNIGHT (1949) 6:15 only!
Suave Hurd Hatfield stars as Clifford Ward, a smooth jewel thief working out of San Francisco’s Chinatown who uses Lisa Marcel’s (Jacqueline De Witt) interior design store as a fence for his stolen loot. But when a hold-up goes seriously wrong and two innocent victims are killed, Ward goes on the run. With the local cops in hot pursuit, Ward hides out in a seedy San Francisco hotel, fending off the law as best he can. What ultimately distinguishes this obviously cheap ”B” noir is its curiously nasty tone, given considerable heft from Hatfield’s coolly amoral performance.
DANGEROUS BLONDES (1943) 7:45 only!
Evelyn Keyes and Allyn Joslyn are the stars here: he plays Barry Craig, a rather timid writer of best-selling mystery novels; she’s his pretty but slightly daft wife Jane whose ditzy ideas wind up getting both of them knee-deep in a real life, grisly murder case. What could have been a pretty dreary affair winds up not only being a howlingly funny screwball romp, but a nasty and gnarly murder tale as well — with a body count that could hold its own with any RKO production of that era.
MYSTERIOUS INTRUDER (1946) 9:30 only!
MYSTERIOUS INTRUDER, the fifth film in the series, is from 1946. Richard Dix stars as Don Gale, a seedy, corrupt private detective who stumbles onto a missing persons case that also involves a lost fortune. Gale will stop at nothing to get as close to the money as he can and his bumbling intensity is a joy to witness. Dix was a truly fine actor and he invests each of his performances in the Whistler films with an uncanny blend of menace and mirth. The supporting cast — Barton MacLane, Regis Toomey, Nina Vale, Mike Mazurki, and Charles Lane — is , as usual, top notch.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20: Double Feature!
GUNS, GIRLS & GANGSTERS (1959) 6:00 and 9:15
A deliriously demented ”B” noir classic! Sex and crime converge as an ex-con plans a daring Las Vegas casino robbery with the help some pretty shady characters, including the mindbogglingly voluptuous wife of the con’s ex-cellmate. All hell breaks loose when her husband busts out of the can and comes gunning for them. The incredible cast includes Mamie Van Doren (!), Gerald Mohr, and Lee Van Cleef (!). Directed by ”King of the Bs,” Edward L. Cahn.
INSIDE DETROIT (1956) 7:30 only!
Racketeers square off in the Motor City over who gets to control a Detroit local of the UAW. Old-school noir horseplay on the mean streets of Detroit with a health dose of mid-50s repressed sexuality thrown in for good measure! Filmed on location! Starring noir stalwarts Pat O’Brien and Dennis O’Keefe. Also in the cast: Tina Caver, Mark Damon, and Joe Turkel. Directed by Fred F. Sears.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 27: Triple Feature!
KILLER’S KISS (1955) 6:20 only!
A boxer steps in when he witnesses a B girl being roughed up by her slimy lover leading to unexpected and violent consequences. A dreamlike soiree into a weirdly noir netherworld, it will stay rooted in your brain long after you leave the theater. Starring Frank Silvera, Jamie Smith, and Irene Kane. Written, directed, and photographed by Stanley Kubrick.
WITNESS TO MURDER (1954) 7:45 only!
A woman awakens in the middle of the night and through her bedroom window witnesses a brutal murder! Despite her desperate pleas, no one seems to believe her — except the killer! A brilliant and thrilling noir classic, still relatively unknown to the general public. Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Merrill, George Sanders, Jesse White, and Juanita Moore. Directed by Roy Rowland.
DEMENTIA (1953) at 9:30 only!
Time has turned this one-of-a-kind subversive beat-noir into the masterpiece it was destined to become. This cinema-rich nightmare of a young woman’s plunge into madness is a visually sensational voyage unlike any you’ve seen before. Shot silent and eerily scored by George Antheil, this is not a film to be trifled with. Starring Adrienne Barrett, Bruno Ve Sota, and Ben Roseman. Directed by John Parker.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3: Double Feature!
NIGHTFALL (1957) at 6:00 and 9:30
An innocent man becomes the target of both the cops and the crooks who believe he knows the whereabouts of a fortune in stolen loot. Breathtakingly exciting and romantic, this is a noir thriller that delivers the goods, and how! Starring Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft, Brian Keith, James Gregory, and Rudy Bond. Screenplay by Sterling Silliphant, from the novel by David Goodis. Directed by Jacques Tourneur.
THE BURGLAR (1957) at 7:40 only!
Goodis’ twisted tale of love between thieves is a major tour de force for all concerned. A gang of crooks, led by a disillusioned veteran of crime, rob a fake spiritualist and then hightail it off to Atlantic City. Resembling nothing less than something out of the French New Wave, it is a film of astonishing power and raw sexual frankness. Starring Dan Duryea, Jayne Mansfield, Martha Vickers, and Mickey Shaughnessy. Directed by Paul Wendkos. Screenplay by David Goodis from his novel.
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