Film noir: a movie genre categorized by crime dramas in black and white cinematography that reflect American culture in the ’40s and ’50s. Typically, film noir movies can only be found on obscure TV stations or from shady sites online. But last Saturday, fans of the genre could of headed to the Alex Theatre for a film noir double feature. The two films – “Gun Crazy” and “The Lineup” – were shown back-to-back to an eager audience seated in the historic theatre.
Alan K. Rode, the director of the Film Noir Foundation, hosted the event that was presented by the Alex Film Society. Before the first movie of the night, “Gun Crazy,” Rode gave the audience the history and some fun facts about the film, like how a car chase was filmed in Montrose. “Gun Crazy” was released in 1950. It’s about a man named Barte Tare who has loved guns all his life. He’s an honest man whose fate is forever changed when he meets a markswoman, Annie Laurie Starr, and falls in love. But Starr has higher aspirations than just being a simple housewife with a simple husband, and convinces Tare to use his love of guns to go on a string of robberies throughout the countryside.
Rode hailed the movie saying, “It created a whole new movie genre of film.”
The second movie, “The Lineup,” wasn’t filmed locally, but in San Francisco, and released in1958. Part of the fun of watching that movie was pointing out all the major landmarks in the film while charting the course of the two detectives, Lt. Ben Guthrie and Inspector Al Quine, as they tried to find and catch two notorious, psychopathic drug smugglers.
Rode shared with the audience an amusing story about the director, Don Siegel, who did a famous chase scene in “The Lineup” on the then-incomplete Embarcadero Freeway. He said that local officials had to keep “a close eye” on everything to make sure no disasters happened.
The audience was enamored by both movies. People would often cheer for their favorite actors and actresses as their name=s appeared in the opening credits. One attendee, Nina Williams from La Crescenta, thought the movies stood the test of time.
“They were rad,” she said. “I thought ‘Gun Crazy’ had some great lines . . . and ‘The Lineup’ had a really interesting plot.”
To see what other upcoming events the Alex is hosting, visit www.alextheatre.org/events.