Film noir is traditionally dedicated to the trials of hard-bitten, hungover grown-ups, but children are people too, and served as the doomed protagonists for a number of classic titles from the Golden Age of the genre. It might seem counterintuitive at first, but it makes perfect sense — after all, who’s more impetuous, hapless, and susceptible to the whims of fate than a kid?
This August, we’ll be taking a four-film shortcut through this unique alleyway, where winning a game of jacks or scoring a date for the prom isn’t half as scary as witnessing a murder… and no one ever gets home before dark. In the canonical nailbiter The Window, 9-year-old wolf crier Bobby Driscoll has a Jimmy Stewart moment on the family fire escape, while the source of young Danny Hawkins’s existential torment in Frank Borzage’s masterpiece Moonrise comes from within — his father was accused of murder and sentenced to death. Joseph Losey’s The Big Night, is a dark and disturbing post-pubertal odyssey in which awkward teen John Drew Barrymore stalks the streets in a frustrated attempt at revenge. And the program wraps up with the greatest of noir cinematographers, John Alton, contributing his skills to the exceedingly rare and visually stunning Talk about a Stranger.
Tuesday, August 7, 8 p.m.
(Frank Borzage, US 1948, 90 min.)
Tuesday, August 14, 8 p.m.
(Ted Tetzlaff, US 1949, 73 min.)
Tuesday, August 21, 8 p.m.
The Big Night
(Joseph Losey, US 1951, 75 min.)
Tuesday, August 28, 8 p.m.
Talk About a Stranger
(David Bradley, US 1952, 65 min., 16mm)