Updated: Mar 25, 2020
So many rare pleasures have been colliding these last few days.
The first was to be in San Francisco again, for the civilities, courtesies and kindnesses of San Franciscans themselves, just as much as for the glories of the bay. And the early morning misty shot above has to be one of my all-time best, hotel-window views.
And then of course, was what I'd arrived for - the annual Noir City Festival of films noirs, that takes place over ten days and nights in January at the splendid Castro theater. It’s a spectacular, one-screen, 1400-seater picture palace from the 1920s, where you can sit close and believe you could get up and step inside the frame. And by the way, if you’re anywhere near, buy your tickets now, even the cavernous Castro sells out for this.
It took a while to find them in such a crowd but eventually I had the pleasure of being welcomed so warmly and putting faces, voices and smiles to both Daryl Sparks, the festival’s Associate Producer, and Bill Selby its Graphic Designer, who until this week I've known only through email and Facebook.
And to cap it all off, I spent some time chatting with Eddie Muller - who, of course, is everyone’s star of noir.
At the turn of the twenty-first century, a magnificent heritage of films noirs was quite literally being lost to sight. Their last remaining prints were fast becoming unserviceable. Enter Eddie Muller, his Noir City Festival (now in its eighteenth year) and the Film Noir Foundation born just a couple or so years later. The quite wonderful achievement of both has been to start rescuing, restoring and bringing back to the big screen those disappearing noir classics, for the entertainment and better understanding of generations that unavoidably missed them first time around. More on the movies themselves as the week progresses.
For now, let me speak for the crowds currently flocking to the Castro and, later in the year, to seven more satellite festivals across the country. Not forgetting, while we’re about it, the audience tuning weekly to TCM’s late-nite Noir Alley slot, hosted by ... yes, you guessed. We’re all deeply indebted to everyone who helps create this adorable, eye-opening, annual extravaganza, which is where it all started. Here’s a standing ovation.
NOIR CITY: Seattle: Feb 14-20, 2020 NOIR CITY: Hollywood: Mar 6-15, 2020 NOIR CITY: Austin: May 15-17, 2020 NOIR CITY: Boston: Jun 12-14, 2020 NOIR CITY: Chicago: dates TBD NOIR CITY: Detroit: Sep 18-20, 2020 NOIR CITY: D.C.: dates TBD