CHEAP, MEAN, & DEADLY: NOIR FROM POVERTY ROW

These rinky-dink studios had names like Eagle-Lion, Republic, and PRC, names meant to impress, but which were as thin as a $10 suit. They were Hollywood's Poverty Row, a slur the major studios draped on their poor cousins who pumped out the short features from Los Angeles' Gower Street, B-movies to kill time before the big-budget pictures. But when it came to crime films, Poverty Row's fatalistic noirs were as vicious as a shiv, with efficient plots full of nasty twists of fate, their weary actors embodying characters with more grit and despair than Bogart could ever hope to achieve in a thousand lifetimes. Don't miss this series of six extremely rare films from Hollywood's Poverty Row.

DETOUR

Jan. 30, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

DIGITAL CINEMA PRESENTATION

Arguably the greatest of Poverty Row's many crime films, Detour is one of the most efficient, nasty, and damnably fatalistic noirs ever. Piano player Al Roberts (Tom Neal) hitchhikes from New York to Los Angeles to follow his sweetheart, but ends up in the car of a dead man. Trying to escape his fate, he picks up femme fatale, the blistering Vera (Ann Savage), as crass and vengeful a human being as has every hit the silver screen. Detour's ending is the stuff of nightmares, and Ulmer's direction, coupled with Neal's blunt delivery and Savage's grating charm, makes this one a classic. Originally released by Producers Releasing Corporation.

Presented by The Heights Theater and the Trylon Cinema

DCP courtesy Janus Films.


MOONRISE

Feb. 6, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

35MM PRESENTATION

Danny Hawkins has a chip on his shoulder. His father was a murderer who hung for his crimes, and for his son's whole life he has had to try and prove he's not a bad apple, ignoring the taunts and side-glances that are bringing him to a slow boil. And when the town bully is mysteriously killed, everyone knows who to blame... and like his father, Danny is now a hunted man. Featuring an almost unbearably tense performance by Dane Clark as Danny, and brilliantly moody direction from the underrated Frank Borzage, Moonrise finds tiny shards of hope in its bleak hellscape. Originally released by Republic Pictures.

Presented by The Heights Theater and the Trylon Cinema

35mm print courtesy The UCLA Film & Television Archive and Paramount Pictures.


STRANGE ILLUSION

Feb. 13, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

35MM PRESENTATION

A young man dreams of his father's death, and of a psychopath come to woo his widowed mother... and it all comes true! Weaving in and out of mansions and sanitoriums, Strange Illusion is noir crossed with the supernatural, Shakespeare boxing Dashiell Hammett with the winner taking on Sigmund Freud, so much plot in its 80 minutes it's almost daring the big studios to outdo it (or you to ever forget it.) Poverty Row through-and-through, this one's a doozy. Originally released by Producers Releasing Corporation.

Presented by The Heights Theater and the Trylon Cinema

35mm print courtesy The UCLA Film & Television Archive.


HOLLOW TRIUMPH

Feb. 20, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

35MM PRESENTATION

When a casino heist goes sour, mastermind John Muller (Paul Henreid) has to get out of town quick, as the crime boss who owns the place wants torturous revenge. While in hiding our man discovers an unwitting dentist who looks just like him, so Mr. Muller kills one Dr. Bartok... only to discover the tooth grinder wasn't exactly a model citizen. Henreid, most famous for Casablanca, played against type in this complex and disturbing noir where no one is innocent, and past secrets have a way of turning deadly. Originally released by Eagle-Lion Films.

Presented by The Heights Theater and the Trylon Cinema

35mm print courtesy The UCLA Film & Television Archive.


T-MEN

Feb. 27, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

35MM PRESENTATION

Considered one of the finest of the "docu-noirs" that captured Hollywood's imagination in the 40s,T-Men is the ostensibly true story of a pair of Treasury agents who race from Detroit to Los Angeles to stop a murderous counterfeiting ring. Featuring two of Poverty Row's bluntest actors in Dennis O'Keefe and Alfred Ryder (who are perfect as the cops whose dogged pursuit of the bad guys veers ever so close to brutality), the real star of the film is cinematographer John Alton, whose work in noir is unparalleled. Originally released by Eagle-Lion Films

Presented by The Heights Theater and the Trylon Cinema

35mm print courtesy The Library of Congress.


RAW DEAL

March 5, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

35MM PRESENTATION

Gangland boss Rick Coyle (a seething Raymond Burr) tries to get career criminal Joe Sullivan (Danny O'Keefe) busted out of prison, hoping the jailbird will be killed in the process (to avoiding paying him the $50,000 he's owed.) But if you're going to double-cross Joe Sullivan, you better make sure he's dead, because there's no force in nature that'll stop him from his bloody payback. What should've been a typical revenge noir is also a stunning love triangle between Joe, his girlfriend, Pat, and his case worker (!), Ann, not to mention a superbly entertaining crime drama. Originally released by Eagle-Lion Films.

Presented by The Heights Theater and the Trylon Cinema

35mm print courtesy The Library of Congress.