Friday, October 13, 2017


Jean Gabin and Jeanne Moreau in Gas-Oil, screening on "Rare Gabin Saturday," Nov. 4 



San Francisco's venerable Roxie Theater will host the 4th installment of THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT, a leading-edge festival of French film noir pioneered and presented by Mid-Century Productions and its executive director/programmer, Don Malcolm. Thirteen French noirs will light up the screen over four days, from Friday, November 3 through Monday, November 6. Here's a quick look at an exciting schedule...
Eddie Constantine and Colette Dereal in This Man is Dangerous
Opening night, November 3, features two films starring Eddie Constantine, an American actor/singer who established a four decade career in Europe. In This Man is Dangerous (1953), Constantine portrays Lemmy Caution, a character he portrayed many times during his long film career and with which he became closely identified. The second feature, Lucky Jo (1964), stars Constantine as an ill-starred small-time crook.

The November 4 Saturday matinee spotlights two early films from director Claude Chabrol (Le Boucher/1970), with a double bill of The Handsome Serge (1958) and The Good-Time Girls (1960). Saturday night, however, belongs to the incomparable Jean Gabin with screenings of three of his films from the 1950s. Gas-Oil (aka/Hi-Jack Highway/1955), a policier, co-stars Jeanne Moreau, The Night Affair (1958), also features Danielle Darrieux, and Crime and Punishment (1956), "a loose, modern-day remake of Dostoyevsky's classic" also stars Robert Hossein and Lino Ventura.

Maria Casares in The Ladies of Boulogne Wood
Sunday, November 5, brings a matinee double-bill of '30s French noir. The first, Happiness (1935), stars Charles Boyer, who was still making films mostly in France at that time; Michel Simon also stars. Hatred (1938), the second matinee feature, is pre-Hollywood noir from Robert Siodmak. The Sunday evening program showcases two icons of French cinema, Maria Casares (Children of Paradise, Orpheus) and Arletty (Le jour se leve, Children of Paradise). Casares stars as a woman scorned in Robert Bresson's The Ladies of Boulogne Wood (1945); Arletty portrays a manipulative older woman in Gigolo (1951).

Jeanne Moreau in Mademoiselle
Closing night, November 6, an Homage to Jeanne Moreau, showcases the legendary actress first as a gangster's moll in a film made toward the end of her "noir apprenticeship," The Strange Mister Steve (1957).  The second film, and the last of the festival, is Mademoiselle (1966). Based on a Jean Genet story adapted by Marguerite Duras and directed by Tony Richardson, Mademoiselle has been called the final nail in the coffin of French film noir and its sub-genre, the "provincial Gothic."

With its spotlight shifting from a rediscovery of Eddie Constantine, to the early work of Claude Chabrol, to Jean Gabin rarities from the '50s, to '30s French noir, to Maria Casares and Arletty, and, finally, the tribute to Jeanne Moreau, this year's French noir series is truly a gem-packed, must-attend event.

Click here for detailed information on dates, times and tickets for THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT 4.


  1. I saw Mademoiselle when it first played in NYC. Fabulous film that I eventually found on dvd.

  2. Looking forwarding to seeing it,John, thanks for the rec.

  3. Sounds fabulous Lady Eve. How great to have the opportunity to watch these gems. There are several of my favorite actors: Michel Simon was an actor's actor, great in any role he took on; Jean Gabin of course was the John Wayne of France (in stature);Lino Ventura always played the heavy and was always great in his roles. Arletty, and the icon Jeanne Moreau are beyond words. I remember seeing Eddie Constantine in all kinds of movies on French TV in the 60s and 70s. He was good in his roles but no Jean Gabin. Thanks for your very informative post Lady Eve.

    1. I only wish, Christian, that this festival, like the Noir City festivals that Eddie Muller and his Film Noir Foundation put on, was also staged in other cities around the US. Each year the program amazes me. Wish you were here!