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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Film Noir

University of York Lifelong Learning Centre Course "Film Noir"

I had forgotten how much I like film noir until I attended this course. The last four Saturday mornings I have gone to the Cityscreen cinema in York and seen four of the best films noir.

In the early/mid seventies, on Saturday afternoons, the BBC TV would show two or three old films such as these, or Astaire/Rogers, or the big films from the fifties starring Charlton Heston or Stephen Boyd, or the westerns of John Wayne or Gary Cooper.  Really this is how I discovered a love of film.

Lifelong Learning usually run a four film course in the Spring. Last year it was Ingmar Bergman.  Previously, French film of the thirties (loved it), Akira Kurosawa (loved it), French New Wave (avoided this course). These courses are great opportunities to see the best of cinema as it should be seen, on a big screen, a good sound system, sitting in the dark, popcorn verboten.

The course was presented by a PhD film student. He also led the end of film discussion. One of the films, "Gun Crazy", had been withdrawn very soon after it was released, only one person on the course had seen it previously. If you like film noir and you get the chance, I recommend you see this film.

On Sunday, as B was out all day at a dressage competition (which did not go well, the horse was not in the mood), I watched two more.

A classic, "Double Indemnity"

Cool - sunglasses in the supermarket

and a film from 2004, "Collateral", a film that has many of the tropes of film noir, City setting, night, good guy (Jamie Foxx) bad guy (Tom Cruise), murders and gun crime, a damsel to be rescued. No femme fatale but everything else.

Yesterday (Monday) I watched "French Connection" - Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, a very grubby, down at heel New York. OK - maybe not film noir but it had many of the elements.

Today, perhaps I should go out for a walk for a few hours - maybe not, it's just started raining and the postman has just delivered another film noir "The Postman Always Rings Twice".

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