Come to Noir City

Eddie Muller, prime mover of Noir City 6, his annual mid-winter saturnalia of film noir, says, “I’m astounded at what people applaud and enjoy.” But the San Francisco-native novelist-film historian-showman is probably just being coy. He’s got a better idea than just about anyone what noir fans crave.

That’s how he came to be the reigning nabob of noir — author of three books on film noir plus two atmospheric San Francisco crime-and-boxing novels, co-founder and host of San Francisco’s Noir City festival and similar fests, and the go-to guy for tales of jinxed wise guys and tilted dames with nowhere to run.

Right about now, they’re running to the Castro Theatre, where Noir City is setting up its knuckles-and-bourbon act for a 10-day run beginning Friday with a double feature of “Repeat Performance” and “The Hard Way” — both starring Joan Leslie, who appears in person.

It’s perfect programming for the darkest, dankest time of year by the Bay.

This year’s festival boasts a distinctly literary sheen. On Jan. 26, New Yorker MeganAbbott presents her short story collection, “A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Film Noir,” at a reception honoring the writers.

Later that evening, “Demon Dog” crime author James Ellroy returns to Noir City to introduce one of his favorite movies, Joseph Losey’s “The Prowler.”

On Jan. 30, Los Angeles author Alan Rode signs copies of his book, “Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy,” alongside a twin bill of hardboiled McGraw features, “Reign of Terror” and “Border Incident” — both directed by Anthony Mann.

Muller also mixes it up as a filmmaker. His new movie “The Grand Inquisitor,” a 20-minute short starring original noir heroine Marsha Hunt (“Raw Deal”) receives its world premiere Jan. 26, with Hunt in attendance.

Muller’s father, also named Eddie Muller, was The Examiner’s daily boxing columnist during the sport’s Bay Area heyday from the 1940s through the ’70s, so he knows his right cross from his left uppercut. For him, noir is more than entertainment.

“I don’t see noir the way some people do — as museum pieces from another era,” he says from his Alameda office. “I see the films from the classic era as the high water mark of a particular kind of dark storytelling.”

He’s especially proud of his festival’s role in rescuing neglected films, whether or not they fit the strict definition of “noir.”

“I’ll gladly admit that the increased interest in noir, due to festivals and DVDs, has led to the resurrection of many films that might never have resurfaced if they didn’t fit into a broad definition of the genre.”

IF YOU GO

Noir City 6

Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco

When: Friday through Feb. 3

Tickets: $12

Contact: (415) 621-6120 or www.noircity.com

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City College union deal staves off layoffs, class cuts

One year agreement allows community college time to improve its finances

A Homeless Outreach Team member speaks with homeless people along Jones Street in the Tenderloin on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Breed proposes another street outreach team to divert calls away from police

San Francisco would launch a new street outreach team to respond to… Continue reading

Chelsea Hung, who owns Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown with her mother, said the restaurant is only making about 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown’s slow recovery has business owners fearing for the future

Lack of outside visitors threatens to push neighborhood into ‘downward spiral’

A worker sets up irrigation lines to water almond tree rootstocks along Road 36 in Tulare, Calif. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Gov. Gavin Newsom extends drought emergency to 41 California counties

Faith E. Pinho Los Angeles Times In a stark indication of California’s… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stimulus plan on Monday. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner file photo)
More Californians would get new $600 stimulus checks from the state under Newsom plan

Sophia Bollag The Sacramento Bee Two-thirds of Californians would get an extra… Continue reading

Most Read