Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Film Series Alert! "Simenon 2020" Launch Spotlights "Inspector Maigret"

Great noir news! Midcentury Productions, the brilliant and groundbreaking little company that has so far staged six terrific French film noir festivals at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater over the past several years, is about to launch a new, unique series, Simenon 2020. The program begins with a double bill this weekend, on Sunday the 23rd at the Roxie, and will run ‘til October. Here’s what it’s all about…

Georges Simenon (1903 – 1989) may not be as well known in the U.S. among crime and noir fiction fans as Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, but the prolific Belgium-born writer penned hundreds of novels, novellas, short stories and articles in his decades long career. More than 170 film and TV adaptations of his output have been produced, many of them featuring Simenon’s best-known creation, Inspector Jules Maigret.  Maigret has been portrayed by a wide array of actors, from Jean Renoir’s brother, Pierre, to Charles Laughton, to Jean Gabin, to Rowan Atkinson. Many television series based on the Maigret novels have made their way to the small screen since the 1960s most notably France’s Maigret (1991 – 2005) starring Bruno Crèmer (1929 - 2010). Crèmer’s was a most majestic portrayal of the sharp-eyed, pipe-toting, overcoat-and-hat-wearing detective, capturing the character’s professional acumen and inherent humanity with equal grace.

Jean Gabin
This Sunday two Maigret features will screen at the Roxie. First, at noon, is Cecile est Morte/Cecile is Dead from 1944, starring Albert Prejean as Inspector Maigret. In this one Maigret must find the killer of a woman he ignored when she sought his protection. The second, Signe Picpus/Signed Picpus (2003), stars the ultimate Maigret, Bruno Crèmer. This time the inspector investigates the murder of a fortune teller and discovers a complicated and far-reaching network of deception.

For tickets and more information on this Sunday's program, click here. And don't fear the subtitles!

Simenon 2020 will continue with additional double bills in March, April, June, July, August and October. In May, the series will take a break for a five-feature birthday marathon in honor of Jean Gabin that will include five films – and birthday cake!

But that’s not all...Those who attend the first six Simenon 2020 programs (February – August) will have a chance to win a festival pass to this year’s French noir fest, The French Had a Name for It 2020, coming November 5 – 8.

Click here for details…and check back at this site for more about Simenon 2020, the Gabin marathon in May, and "French 2020” in November.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Many Loves of Elizabeth Taylor

This is my entry for "The Wedding Bells Blogathon" hosted by Hometowns to Hollywood


She exchanged wedding vows for the first time at age 18 in 1950 and married for the eighth and final time in 1991 at 59. Of her apparent proclivity for collecting husbands, actor/composer/raconteur Oscar Levant would razz Elizabeth Taylor with the quip, "Always a bride, never a bridesmaid!"

Friday, January 10, 2020

Celebrating "The Shop Around the Corner" on its 80th Birthday

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the premiere of what has been called Ernst Lubitsch’s “most discreet tour de force of art concealing art,” The Shop Around the Corner (1940).


Thursday, November 21, 2019

2020 TCM Classic Film Festival Tickets On Sale


The much anticipated 11th annual Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival is now gearing up, set to happen in Hollywood April 16 - 19, 2020. The year's theme is "Grand Illusions: Fantastic Worlds on Film" and tickets are on sale now at several price points:

Spotlight $2449
Essential $999
Classic $749
Palace $349

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Joyce Compton, What a Character!

This is my entry for the fabulous What a Character! blogathon hosted annually by Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken & Freckled and Paula's Cinema Club...check these blogs for links to entries from all participating blogs.


In perhaps her best remembered scene in a classic film, Leo McCarey's screwball masterpiece The Awful Truth (1937), Joyce Compton delivered a most memorable performance as a dizzy nightclub singer with an equally dizzy act:

She would be typecast in this sort of role for much of her career, but there's more to Joyce Compton's story than her turns as scatterbrained, Southern-fried blondes.