Friday, January 29, 2010

Noir City no. 1: Opening Night

"If she's your sister then I'm a boa constrictor in heels."
Shelley Winters, Larceny (1948)

I could compose this post purely of quotes from Larceny, the second feature to kick off Noir City 8, and not only would it be completely, satisfyingly entertaining, but better than any review I could come up with. Sadly, I was too caught up in the savvy screenwriting to grab a pen and paper, and, even more sadly, this film is not available on DVD to hear those brilliant wisecracks again. You will just have to take my word for it, and base my fervent proclomation that this is one of the funnest smack talking noirs I've ever seen on the quote above. (And the fact that Shelley Winters plays said smack-talking dame.)

Now that the festival has officially ended I can safely say this double bill was one of my favorites. I'm not saying these were superbly made films, or on par with classics like Pickup on South Street (1953) or The Big Heat (1953) [what a fabulous year], but they were fun, intriguing, typically noirish in some ways and unconventionally noirish in others, and they were an excellent pairing. Kudos to the programmer on this one.

I admit I was a bit suspicious of Lizabeth Scott playing the good girl for a change (she's just too good in Dead Reckoning (1947). But I was both mistaken and surprised by her convincing subtlety. She and Powell had wonderful chemistry, and Jane Wyatt and Raymond Burr (in an appropriately creepy early role) were strong supporting characters. I'm anxious to discover more Andre de Toth films as his handling of noirish and adulterous themes was both refreshing and well thought out. This is a film that has aged incredibly well; you could tell by the lack of giggles and titters from the audience.

Larceny, on the other hand, was so full of corner-of-the-mouth dialogue you couldn't help but completely let go and enjoy yourself. This was a great pairing, and a fantastic opening night.

1 comment:

Diana said...

I would have LOVED seeing Larceny, just for the treat of Shelley Winters' fabulous wisecracks! She is perfection as a smacking-talking dame!