March 25, 2018
The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 W. 129 St.,
New York, NY 10027
1944 / 85 min / b/w
Dir. Robert Siodmak / Scr. Bertram Millhauser, Arthur T. Horman
Cast: Charles Laughton, Ella Raines, Rosalind Ivan
Paris release: Aug. 21, 1946
Adapted from: This Way Out (1939) by James Ronald
35mm print courtesy of Universal Pictures
This screening is part of The Inaugural Dr. Saul and Dorothy Kit Film Noir Festival
The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: Paris 1946 and American Film Noir
Programmed by Rob King, Film and Media Studies
"The interesting early titles from Robert Siodmak’s American career would have to be related to the noir period style. In Europe, the skillful touch of this German director had long been known. To him we owed a number of realist films (Autour d’une enquête in 1931 and Tumultes in 1932), various comedies, one of the first films of implicit psychoanalysis (Pièges, in 1939), and, above all, a psychological drama of great acuity (Mollenard, in 1938). With their customary contempt for European directors, Hollywood producers first of all bestowed on Siodmak subjects that were unworthy of him. He signed that awesome potboiler, Cobra Woman. Another early film, Phantom Lady (1944), was a brilliant thriller with clever lighting. It bore the acid charm of its heroine, Ella Raines, and contained five earsplitting minutes of jazz. Nevertheless, it’s the noirified period style that helped Siodmak make a name for himself, first with The Suspect (1944), the story of a double crime, again with a London atmosphere, haunted here by a murderer, played by Charles Laughton, with a good-natured way to him. [Then] a year later, The Spiral Staircase made the most of a story about criminal madness in a period setting. […] Siodmak’s reputation was henceforth secure."
– Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton, Panorama du film noir américain, 1941-1953
About the Dr. Saul and Dorothy Kit Film Noir Festival
Paris 1946. The war is over and American films are once again in Parisian theaters. The French immediately notice a shift in the sensibility of Hollywood’s crime films. They call it noir.
This festival—the first in a ten-year series devoted to the legacy of film noir—returns us to that pivotal moment in film history some seven decades ago. For its inaugural year, the Kit Film Noir Festival will present eight of the films that screened in France that season and inspired the label film noir. Most films will be shown in 35mm.
This festival is funded by a generous gift from alumnus Gordon Kit (Columbia College ’76), in honor of his parents.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org