Live introductions by Eddie Muller of TCM and the Film Noir Foundation
Odds Against Tomorrow. 1959, United Artists. 96 minutes. Director Robert Wise
The only non-1948 film this weekend is this hard-hitting crime film from 1959, worthy of screening any time but here in tribute to the great Harry Belafonte, who died earlier this year. He plays a gambling addict jazz man who joins ex-cop Dave Burke (Ed Begley) and hot-headed redneck war veteran Earle Slater (Robert Ryan) in a “piece-of-cake” bank robbery in upstate New York. Robert Wise’s direction is as fresh and expressive as anything being done by the French New Wave of the period, and the score by John Lewis’ Modern Jazz Quartet is innovative and exhilarating. Digital presentation.
They Live By Night. 1948, RKO. 95 minutes. Director Nicholas Ray.
Back to 1948 and one of Hollywood’s great directorial debuts. Nicholas Ray helmed this deeply-felt, richly detailed adaptation of Edward Anderson’s classic depression-era novel about lovers on the run (Farley Granger and Cathy O’Donnell), film noir’s version of Romeo and Juliet. You’d be forgiven for assuming Ray was a seasoned pro based on the inventiveness of his camerawork and the naturalness he manages to wring from each performer, including menacing supporting players Howard Da Silva, Jay C. Flippen, and Helen Craig. First released overseas, the film didn’t get a wide release in the U.S. until late 1948. It’s now considered one the finest noir films ever made. 35mm film print.
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