Noted Film Programmer and Instructor Elliot Lavine

Dates
September 29 - November 17, 2018
September 29, 2018
I Wake Up Screaming
(1941; directed by H. Bruce Humberstone)
October 6, 2018
Phantom Lady
(1944; directed by Robert Siodmak)
October 13, 2018
Detour
(1945; directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
October 20, 2018
Scarlet Street
(1945; directed by Fritz Lang)
October 27, 2018
Out of the Past
(1947; directed by Jacques Tourneur)
November 3, 2018
Nightmare Alley
(1947; directed by Edmond Goulding)
November 10, 2018
They Live by Night
(1948; directed by Nicholas Ray)
November 17, 2018
Raw Deal
(1948; directed by Anthony Mann)
Delivery
In-Person on Saturdays
11 a.m. PST
Cinema 21 Theatre
616 NW 21st Ave
Portland, Oregon 97209
Cost
$99

FILM NOIR, as a dominant and influential cinematic style, first exploded across American movie screens sometime in 1940. And almost immediately, Hollywood studios seized upon this exciting new direction for crime films -- a dramatically startling combination of German Expressionist cinema of the 1920s and French poetic realism films of the 30s, blended into a harshly modern cocktail of chiaroscuro lighting, psychologically aberrant behavior, and the unmistakable feeling that Fate (or some other mysterious force) would inevitably play a role in the final outcome.

Bathed in luxurious shadows and menacing nuances, these visually stimulating and sometimes disreputable excursions to the lower depths, have now become essential to any discussion of film in the 20th century. From the musty shadow factories of Poverty Row to the opulent excesses of big-budget Hollywood studios, film noir in the 1940s captured the fatalistic mood of mid-century America better than anything else being released into movie theaters at that time. Gritty, honest portrayals of men and women at their worst, doing their best to cope with what a world of shadows has given them.

French writers and critics were the first to actually point out the visual splendor of these new American crime films and were the ones to coin the very term film noir -- literally, black film. Ultimately their enthusiasm would spawn a library's worth of literature and the momentum to eventually create an entire cinematic movement, still vibrant and universally appreciated today. The films selected for this eight-week class represent the cream of the 1940s crop of noir films. Directors like Fritz Lang, Anthony Mann, Jacques Tourneur, Edgar G. Ulmer, Robert Sioidmak, and Nicholas Ray unveil sights and ideas once considered unwholesome and unwelcome in the American cinema.

This highly intensive experience is designed to be a total immersion into the darkest corners of the imagination: a treasure trove of stylistically dazzling films, seen in their entirety on the BIG SCREEN at Portland's Cinema 21, and discussed with respect to their overall place in the film noir universe.

Instructor Elliot Lavine

Instructor Photo

Elliot Lavine has been a film programmer of national repute since 1990, both in the San Francisco Bay Area and now here in Portland. In 2010, he received the Marlon Riggs Award from the San Francisco Film Critics Circle for his revival of rare archival titles and his role in the renewed popularity of film noir. He has taught film studies courses for Stanford's Continuing Studies Program since 2006.

Films in this course

I Wake Up Screaming

A glib, fast-talking Broadway promoter becomes the prime suspect when the beautiful girl he's been putting over on society turns up murdered! A darkly obsessed cop is determined to put him in the electric chair! Starring Victor Mature, Betty Grable, Carole Landis, Laird Cregar, Elisha Cook, Jr. Photographed by Edward Cronjager. Directed by H. Bruce Humberstone. 82 mins. 1941.

Phantom Lady

After spending a night on the town with a mysterious nameless woman, an unhappily married man returns home to find the cops in his living room and his beautiful, unfaithful wife in the bedroom -- strangled to death! From the notorious novel by Cornell Woolrich. Starring Ella Raines. Franchot Tone. Thomas Gomez, Alan Gurtis, and Elisha Cook, Jr. Photographed by Elwood "Woody" Bredell. Directed by Robert Siodmak. 88 mins. 1944.

Detour

A down-and-out hitchhiker becomes irretrievably caught up in a fateful web of deceit and murder--leading to a climax that will leave you shaken. Filmed in only six days, this film is an object lesson in "the primacy of the visual" and a stone-cold poverty row classic. Starring Tom Neal, Ann Savage. Photographed by Ben Kline. Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. 69 mins. 1945.

Scarlet Street

A middle-aged, henpecked bank cashier falls prey to a beautiful, manipulating woman and her dangerously violent lover. Together they conspire to destroy his very soul. Based on the 1931 film La Chienne by Jean Renoir. Starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea. Photographed by Milton Krasner. Directed by Fritz Lang. 99 mins. 1945.

Out of the Past

A disgraced private detective's past catches up with him when the gangster he double-crossed drags him back into a sordid world of murder--and worse! Starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming. Photographed by Nicholas Musuraca. Directed by Jacques Tourneur. 97 mins. 1947.

Nightmare Alley

A small-time grifter dreams of making it big in the phony spiritualism racket. When he hooks up with Zeena, a world-weary circus fortune-teller, and then later with Dr. Lilith Ritter, a beautiful but sinister psychologist, his quest for ill-gotten fame and fortune takes an irrevocably nightmarish turn. Starring Tyrone Power, Coleen Grey, Joan Blondell, Helen Walker. Photographed by Lee Garmes. Directed by Edmond Goulding. 111 mins. 1947

They Live by Night

A young escaped convict tries desperately to leave the misery of his life of crime behind when he meets an innocent young girl. A richly poetic tale of doomed love. Starring Cathy O'Donnell, Farley Granger, Howard Da Silva, Jay C. Flippen. Photographed by George Diskant. Directed by Nicholas Ray. 95 mins. 1948.

Raw Deal

Joe Sullivan, who's been serving a stiff prison term for crime boss, Rick Coyle, breaks out, determined to settle his score with Coyle and get his hands on the 50 grand he's been promised. But things get complicated when two women, both in love with Joe, reappear in his life. Starring Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt, Raymond Burr. Photographed by the legendary John Alton. Directed by Anthony Mann. 80 mins. 1948.

  • Elliot Lavine

    Elliot Lavine has been a film programmer of national repute since 1990, both in the San Francisco Bay Area and now here in Portland. In 2010, he received the Marlon Riggs Award from the San Francisco Film Critics Circle for his revival of rare archival titles and his role in the renewed popularity of film noir. He has taught film studies courses for Stanford's Continuing Studies Program since 2006.