Monday, September 13, 2021

A New Edition of the Seminal Noir Classic, Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir


Eddie Muller's Original Noir Bible in an Updated and Expanded Edition

Eddie Muller
Before he was film noir's czar and long before he was a TCM host, Eddie Muller made a decision to take a leap and, as mythologist Joseph Campbell would've put it, follow his bliss. Muller had been a writer with a 16-year run as a print journalist. Now he would become a "wordslinger," peppering the page with gritty prose on a subject about which he was passionate, film noir. The first edition of Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir was published in softcover on May 15, 1998, and quickly sparked interest. The American Cinematheque invited Muller to program a noir festival based on the book at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre. He did, in March 1999, and the festival went on to become an annual event. In 2003, at the invitation of San Francisco's Castro Theatre, Muller presented the first Noir City film festival in his hometown. This, too, was a huge success that became an annual fĂȘte. In 2005, realizing that "a non-profit could get access to [film] archives that were off-limits to most for-profit theaters," Muller founded the Film Noir Foundation. The foundation flourished, finding, preserving and restoring more than thirty films noir over the years. The FNF's annual Noir City festival circuit grew to include several more major US cities, towns like Austin, Boston, Chicago, DC, Detroit and Seattle. Muller became widely hailed as "the czar of noir," an authority on the genre, or sub-genre, or style that is film noir. He would also continue to write fiction and non-fiction as well as write and direct a short film, The Grand Inquisitor (2008). In March 2017, he began hosting a weekly film noir screening, Noir Alley, on TCM; the program was soon established as a Saturday night/Sunday morning staple. Today Eddie Muller continues as one of TCM's regular hosts and film noir is more popular than ever. What a perfect time to update and upgrade the book that started it all, Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir, with a newly revised, expanded and beautifully turned out hardcover edition.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Old Hollywood Haunts: The Hollywood Canteen, 1942 - 1945

Clockwise from top: Bette Davis and John Garfield; Rita Hayworth; Hedy Lamarr and Bob Hope; GIs at the Canteen

 A Very Special "Old Hollywood Haunt"

In her 1987 memoir, This 'n That, Bette Davis remembered a day not long after World War II began when fellow Warner Bros. star John Garfield sat down next to her in the studio commissary. He told her he'd been thinking about all the GIs who were then streaming through the area and said he thought Hollywood ought to do something about welcoming and entertaining them while they were in town. "I agreed," she wrote, "and then and there the idea for the Hollywood Canteen was born."  Bette approached her friend and agent, Jules Stein, president and co-founder of MCA, with their plan to create a nightclub for servicemen and women and invited him to head its financial committee.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Summer's Here and the Time is Right for ... SUMMER MOVIES

Just in time for summer, TCM and Running Press offer John Malahy's delectably readable Summer Movies: 30 Sun-Drenched Classics. Featuring summertime-set films dating from the '20s (Lonesome/1928) to the present day (Call Me by Your Name/2017), it's a wide-ranging collection, detailed, photo-packed and filled with tantalizing backstory.

Friday, May 21, 2021

I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), a Black & White Jewel from Powell & Pressburger

Rich, vivid Technicolor is one of the hallmarks of the most well-known and celebrated of the gorgeous, masterful films from the production team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, The Archers. From the mid-1940s into the early '50s, almost all of their films were shot in striking 3-strip Technicolor, often by cinematographer Jack Cardiff. Cardiff had been a camera operator for Denham Studios when the American Technicolor Company recruited him as their first technician in Great Britain. He would shoot England's first color film and initially work with Powell and Pressburger as a second unit camera operator on their first Technicolor film, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943). He would graduate to cinematographer on their second color outing, A Matter of Life and Death/Stairway to Heaven (1946). But there would be a lengthy delay in the production of the second film because of a limited availability of Technicolor cameras and film stock in England at that time.