Good news for LA-based film noirs fans: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will kick off a summer screening series, “Oscar Noir: 1940s Writing Nominees from Hollywood's Dark Side,” on Monday, May 10, with a big-screen presentation of John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Sydney Greenstreet.
The 15-film series, which will run through Aug. 30, will showcase 1940s noir classics that received Oscar nominations in the writing categories. Among them are The Blue Dahlia, with the great Alan Ladd-Veronica Lake duo; The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, with Barbara Stanwyck and the underrated Lizabeth Scott; and White Heat, which offers what's probably the best performance of James Cagney's career and one of the creepiest Movie Moms of them all, Margaret Wycherly.
Each film will be introduced by a contemporary screenwriter “whose own work reflects the film noir style,” as per the Academy's press release.
All screenings will be held on Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. I particularly excited by the inclusion of The Dark Mirror, which isn't all that easy to find. I've seen it before, but a long time ago. Olivia de Havilland plays twin sisters: one good, one wacko.
The complete schedule, including confirmed speakers, for “Oscar Noir” is as follows:
The Maltese Falcon, introduced by Lawrence Kasdan.
Shadow of a Doubt.
Laura, introduced by Scott Frank.
Double Indemnity, introduced by Nicholas Meyer.
Mildred Pierce, introduced by Callie Khouri.
The Killers, introduced by Billy Ray.
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, introduced by Robin Swicord.
The Dark Mirror, introduced by John August.
The Blue Dahlia, introduced by Wesley Strick.
Body and Soul.
Crossfire, introduced by Brian Helgeland.
A Double Life.
Kiss of Death.
There will be no screenings May 31 or July 5. An updated list of speakers will be available on the Academy's website.
All features will be preceded at 7 p.m. by a specially selected noir cartoon short and, starting May 24, a chapter of the 1941 serial Adventures of Captain Marvel starring Tom Tyler, Frank Coghlan Jr., William Benedict and Louise Currie. Considered by many to be one of the best serials of all time, Captain Marvel will be presented in new 35mm prints.
Series passes for “Oscar Noir: 1940s Writing Nominees from Hollywood's Dark Side” are on sale now. Passes are $30 for the general public and $25 for Academy members and students with valid ID.
Tickets to individual evenings, if still available, will go on sale Monday, April 12. Tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with valid ID. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit the Academy's website
The Blue Dahlia poster image: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library