Edited by Don Malcolm on 11/16/2017, 12:18 am
Here, of course, some of us enjoy the speculation and (at least one of us!) has a (sometimes tiresome) habit of posting ideas and opinions about the programming possibilities and choices made by "Fast" Eddie (aka "Not My Czar of Noir"--sorry, couldn't resist!).
As we know, the announcements thus far about the NC 16 lineup are only as follows:
--The festival will focus on the years 1941-53.
--They will screen a restored copy of THE MAN WHO CHEATED HIMSELF, the 1950 noir with Lee J. Cobb, Jane Wyatt and John Dall.
And that, fight fans, is it. We are on our own in terms of trying to fill in the gaps of what is likely to be a 24-26 film lineup.
What are the possibilities? How might this be structured? Here are some categories:
--Year by year double features. There are 13 years involved, and that could fit into the 10-day festival schedule.
--Domestic or foreign? We would bet on domestic, since the word is that there was blowback from attendees who found #14 too overwrought and #15 too far afield from the classic era (just one-fourth of the films were in the 1941-53 time frame).
It would be great if Eddie were to delve into the recesses of French noir, but he's likelier to pick films that are "approved" by those folks who've dictated what are the so-called "masterpieces," which will not leave him much to choose from in the 1941-53 time frame. He might try to put in one double bill, using a film such as... (heh, heh--no, probably best to let him do his own research, n'est-ce pas?)
More likely a British double bill in the time frame, as there are still some good titles to show. He might even drop in ODD MAN OUT, even though we screened it at the Roxie last May. It probably won't matter to his audience, as only a portion of it overlaps to those more adventurous shows.
But there is also a good chance that this will be a grand return to American noir, at a time when we need domestic noir to, well, make America great again. Even though we're screening FORCE OF EVIL in our AGITPROP! series at the Roxie in December, I hope Eddie screens it, along with CROSSFIRE and THE LAWLESS and NO WAY OUT and THE UNDERWORLD STORY (and several other "socially conscious" noirs that he's never shown at NC), but I don't think any of us should hold our breaths for that.
--Highlights by star, director, or other "favored category." This would provide a lot more programming flexibility, and the results would produce more natural fits in terms of double bills.
--Reprising classics or showing films that haven't been shown? NC has already had a good bit of repeat performances (heck, that even applies to REPEAT PERFORMANCE!). It's not egregious in nature, save for screening CRACK-UP three times (?); a look at the NC screening list indicates that there are ~50 top-notch noirs screened over the first six years that have yet to be repeated.
Eddie's on record of late saying that it makes sense to reprise the classics, because he's been at it for twenty years and there's new blood out there who haven't seen those films on the big screen He specifically referenced OUT OF THE PAST, which hasn't been in the NC lineup since #4 in 2006. Is it time?
There will probably be a balance between reprised films and first-time screenings. I wouldn't expect to see two previously screened films in the same double bill (though I'm still rooting for a reprise of DESERT FURY/LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, one of the most legendary evenings in NC history).
OK, with all that, here's a first cut at a version of NC 16 using the year-by-year model. This produces a schedule with 21 new films and just five re-runs (sans OOTP, BTW). As you can see, there are some big-name films on this list (and a goodly number that Elliot Lavine pioneered at the Roxie at various points during his illustrious career there):
1941: A Woman’s Face/I Wake Up Screaming
1942: This Gun For Hire/Crossroads
1943: The Fallen Sparrow/The Seventh Victim
1944: When Strangers Marry/Strangers in the Night
1946: The Big Sleep/Black Angel
1947: Johnny O’Clock/T-Men
1948: Call Northside 777/The Street With No Name
1949: The Crooked Way/Act of Violence
1950: Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye/The Man Who Cheated Himself
1951: Storm Warning/Under the Gun
1952: The Turning Point/The Narrow Margin
1953: The Glass Wall/The Blue Gardenia
--Underlined films are the ones that have been screened previously at NC.
I think we can see that this schedule has the problem of being a bit soft in terms of weekend "hooks" for the audience (though, really, who knows if that's even necessary at this point for NC?). You might have to present these out of chronological order to create strong weekend nights.
Interesting to note that THE BIG SLEEP has never screened at NC. Could be because it's been shown a lot (though not as often as VERTIGO, which the Bitter One rightly pointed out as being a permanent impediment to it making the NC lineup).
At any rate, we'll keep this list handy, as it has a lot of not-yet-showns, and we'll see how many of them make the cut when the schedule is announced.
All of you out there in the dark are encouraged to chime in with your own ideas...let's use the next month to kick this around--just for fun!