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

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF moves into purple tier, triggering curfew and business shutdowns

San Francisco moved into the state’s purple COVID-19 tier Saturday, requiring The… Continue reading

San Francisco lacks housing data that would let it track rental vacancies and prices. New legislation is seeking to change that.<ins> (Photo by Joel Angel Jurez/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Landlords blast proposal to require annual report on rentals as invasion of privacy

Housing inventory could give city better data on housing vacancies, affordability

University of San Francisco head coach Todd Golden coaches his team on defense during a 2019 gameat War Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of the University of San Francisco. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Stunner in Bubbleville: USF upsets fourth-ranked Virginia

Less than 48 hours removed from a loss to a feeble UMass… Continue reading

Health care workers would be the first group in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
Hope on the way: Here’s what to know about California’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

The first batch of doses could hit the state as soon as early December

The Big Game was played Friday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. (Shutterstock)
Stanford blocks extra point to stun Cal, win 123rd Big Game 24-23

The 123rd edition of the Big Game featured a number of firsts.… Continue reading

Most Read