The Art of Film Noir II

27 January – 25 May, 2016

Now recognized as one of the most sharply defined of all popular cinematic styles, Film Noir’s reach moved past its Southern California origins to influence filmmakers around the world. In this second series of Noirs presented by the Dalhousie Art Gallery, that global reach is represented by films from England, France, and Japan, with a concentration on films by American directors who were ultimately blacklisted in Hollywood, including Abraham Polonsky, Frank Tuttle, Dalton Trumbo, Edward Dmytryk, Cy Endfield, Jules Dassin, and Joseph Losey.

Curated by Ron Foley Macdonald


27 January - This Gun For Hire

Frank Tuttle, USA, 1942, 80 minutes. A lone hitman gets double-crossed in this early film noir adapted from Graham Greene’s novel.

3 February – Laura

Otto Preminger, USA, 1944, 88 minutes. The famous title song isn’t the only thing that haunts Preminger’s legendary detective tale about a now-you-see-her-now-don’t beauty allegedly murdered under mysterious circumstances.

10 February - Ministry of Fear

Fritz Lang, USA, 1944, 86 minutes. Graham Greene’s taut wartime betrayal story becomes a visual feast under the great German expat’s direction.

17 February - Out of the Past

Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1947, 97 minutes. Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas duel it out over a deadly femme fatale in this renowned Noir celebrated for its razor-sharp dialogue.

24 February – The Woman on the Beach

Jean Renoir, USA, 1947, 71 minutes. Renoir’s American exile produced some remarkable films drenched in atmosphere and dread. The Woman on the Beach sees Noir fave Robert Ryan unravelling a seaside mystery about a blind painter and his ambiguous wife.

2 March - Force of Evil

Abraham Polonsky, USA, 1948, 78 minutes. John Garfield stars as a Wall Street lawyer mixed up with racketeers and the mob in this landmark film about the line between loyalty and corruption.

16 March - Stray Dog

Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1949, 122 minutes. An impossibly young Toshirô Mifune plays a detective in post-war Tokyo who must recover his own stolen gun in this extraordinary example of how Film Noir became a truly international style.

23 March - The Third Man

Carol Reed, UK/Austria, 1949, 104 minutes. Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton star in this luminous Graham Greene adaptation that explores the black market in a divided, post WWII Vienna where morality has drifted very far from its pre-war settings.

30 March – The Underworld Story

Cy Endfield, USA, 1950, 91 minutes. A small town newspaper gets into the big time when renegade reporter Dan Duryea sniffs out a scandal in this ferocious critique of the media by soon-to-be-blacklisted director Cy Endfield (Zulu, The Mysterious Island).

6 April - Gun Crazy

Joseph H. Lewis, USA, 1950, 86 minutes. Blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo wrote this classic Noir about a bullet-happy love couple on the run after a bank robbery, directed in high style by Joseph H. Lewis.

13 April - The Prowler

Joseph Losey, USA, 1951, 92 minutes. Another script by Trumbo, directed by the soon-to-be blacklisted Losey, this time about an obsessed cop, a repressed housewife, and her husband, who might just get knocked off in firm Film Noir style.

4 May - The Sniper

Edward Dmytryk, USA, 1952, 88 minutes. This San Francisco-set Noir classic by the blacklisted Dymtryk sees a young man unable to stop himself from shooting and the police action set in place to stop him. 

11 May - Rififi

Jules Dassin, France, 1955, 122 minutes. From Director Dassin, who, like Losey, had fled to Europe due to the blacklist, comes one of the greatest heist films ever with a set piece burglary sequence that takes place in total silence.

18 May - The Night of the Hunter

Charles Laughton, USA, 1955, 92 minutes. One of the most eerie and unique of all Noirs, The Night of the Hunter sees Robert Mitchum chasing down his stepchildren in search of a cache of cash. James Agee scripted; Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish also star.

25 May - Kiss Me Deadly

Robert Aldrich, USA, 1955, 106 minutes. Mickey Spillane’s delirious detective story takes Noir towards its stylistic endgame in this luridly directed classic by Robert Aldrich. The story is simple: a mystery box has been stolen....what’s in the box? Don’t open the box!