Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crime, darkness abound in film noir series

Frank Bigelow has been poisoned, and he’s been told he has about 24 hours to live.

Journey to the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque’s screening of D.O.A. Jan. 26 and 27 to watch as Bigelow, played by Edmond O’Brien, desperately tries to determine who wants to kill him before his time runs out.

The film is part of Cinematheque’s “Noir Town” series. It features ‘40s and ‘50s black-and-white films categorized as “film noir,” or black film, by French critics. Characterized by shadows — and packed with killers, detectives and femme fatales — the genre has remained popular.

“(The films) speak to a contemporary sensibility in that they are a little bit jaded and cynical,” explains Cinematheque director John Ewing.

 Wade Williams Films
Ewing focused on choosing acclaimed, underplayed films Cinematheque has never shown.

“One of my ongoing crusades is to keep all of film history from being reduced to just a handful of over-shown and over-familiar titles,” Ewing says.

Although he is “looking forward to all of them,” Ewing’s been wanting to see Lady in the Lake for decades.

The movie follows writer-turned-detective Philip Marlowe, played by famed Robert Montgomery, as he searches for an alleged murderer. Because the film is shot from the point of view of Marlowe, viewers only glimpse Montgomery a few times, as a reflection in a mirror.

“Could you imagine casting Brad Pitt or George Clooney in some big film, and then you only see them two or three times in the whole movie?” Ewing muses of the film that will be shown Feb. 9 and 10.

Ewing confesses he’ll be watching some of the films for the first time with the audience.

“I figure if I haven’t seen it, a lot of other people probably haven’t, either,” he says.

The films will be screened every Saturday and some Sundays through Feb. 23. For the full schedule, visit


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