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ONE WAY STREET

Alan's sporadic takes on Film Noir and other aspects of pop culture

Posted by on in Actors and Actresses
  The Saturday night double feature at the Noir City Festival in Hollywood led off with a screening of The Glass Wall (1953). This seldom seen film, with a near-faultless print courtesy of Sony-Columbia, provided a unique view of Times Square at night, as a hurt World War II refugee (Vittorio Gassman) jumps ship to enter America hunting for a former soldier, now a clarinet player (Jerry Paris) who can provide his safe entry to the Great Melting Pot. Gassman finds safety, empathy and then love in the arms of noir siren Gloria Grahame, the last dame you'd think would be working in a shoelace factory, but there you have it. The Glass Wall was written and directed by Maxwell Shane, a lawyer by profession, then turned to writing 'B' screenplays in the late 1930's and buying up land in the San Fernando Valley that was dirt-cheap at that time. Shane's...
Ann Robinson
©Alan K. Rode

Posted by on in Actors and Actresses
  John Ford once remarked that the best moments in films are invariably serendipitious. So too are the appearances of film noir festival guests, especially last night at the Egyptian Theatre. Gloria Pall made a last minute show-up at last night's viewing of The Crimson Kimono as the screening guest between the Sam Fuller double bill. The statuesque Ms. Pall has been around Hollywood since 1951 and was the focal point of the movie; the murdered stripper "Sugar Torch". Gloria proved to be a terrific raconteur, reeling off stories about Sam Fuller (she refused to film the opening sequence with a car nearly running into her; Fuller acquiesced to using a stunt double), charmed Elvis Presley when he was a Southern lad who liked to lick Gloria's fingers (ahem!) and went to lunch with Robert Mitchum after he brandishes a knife towards her (in the fist tattooed "HATE") in The Night...
©Alan K. Rode

Posted by on in Film Noir Events
  The L.A. Film Noir Festival really gained traction this week with some superb screenings and great attendance for the hypercompetitive Tinseltown movie market. Thursday's double bill at the Egyptian was Cry of the City (1948) and City of Fear (1959). The former picture is one of the classic Fox noirs that has yet to be issued in DVD format - an omission that noir aficionados find baffling. Darryl F. Zanuck returned to 20th Century Fox in 1944 - as Otto Preminger put it sarcastically, the mogul was, “off filming the war” - realizing that prewar Hollywood fare such as Andy Hardy and the traditional gangster pictures wouldn't cut it anymore. The documentary style of filmmaking was first popularized at Fox by Louis De Rochemont with The House of 92nd Street had melded with the overt post WWII noir realism popularized by Mark Hellinger at U-I with The Killers and Brute...
Cry of the City
©Alan K. Rode

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