Film

The Black Book (Reign of Terror) + The Big Clock

 
 
Wed, Aug 10, 2016
  • 4:30PM
  • 8:30PM
 
 
LOCATION:
 
RUN TIME: 199min total with intermission
GENERAL ADMISSION: $14
MEMBERS: $7 (free for Level 4 and above)
 
 
 
 
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Wednesday August 10, 2016
Performances no longer available.
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The Black Book (Reign of Terror)

Directed by Anthony Mann
With Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, Arlene Dahl.
1949, 89min, 35mm

 

Almost certainly the finest French Revolution-set film noir, Anthony Mann’s pulp-historical thriller follows a secret agent (Cummings) as he races through Paris in an attempt to bring down sadistic dictator-in-the-making Robespierre (Basehart). The Black Book (Reign of Terror) may not be historically accurate, but it’s a visual triumph thanks to the expressionistic shadowplay of the great cinematographer John Alton.

“Who says film noir has to be confined to metropolitan streets? Anthony Mann, William Cameron Menzies, and John Alton team up for one of the most entertaining Hollywood French Revolution movies ever to be (ingeniously) made for $1.98. Clever, suspenseful, and strikingly designed, the quest for the black book of names due for execution by the tyrant Robespierre is stylish fun all the way. Arnold Moss steals the show as the slimy Fouchot and Richard Basehart is an unforgettable Robespierre (‘Don’t call me Max!’).” —Joe Dante

 
The Big Clock

Directed by John Farrow
With Ray Milland, Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Sullivan
1948, 95min, 35mm

 

One of the finest thrillers of the 1940s stars Ray Millland as a crime magazine editor being systematically framed for murder by his fat cat boss (a marvelously menacing, mustachioed Laughton). This ingeniously plotted twist on the wrong-man mystery boasts a striking noir visual design that turns a sleek Manhattan office building into a labyrinth of paranoia.

“Ray Milland is the fall guy in Charles Laughton and George Macready’s murder coverup. Told in the back-to-front flashback style unique to film noir, this ingenious, criminally undervalued mystery thriller sometimes skirts the edge of screwball comedy. The underrated John Farrow directs with fluid polish—check out those smooth camera moves between doorless rooms.’ —Joe Dante 

 
 
 
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