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Noir City Returns to the Music Box in Chicago | Festivals & Awards

Tuesday, Aug. 29

“Chicago Deadline” (35mm), 7 p.m.: On the trail of a murderer, a reporter (Alan Ladd) falls in love with the dead victim (Donna Reed). Rode picked this film, which he notes, “everyone compares to ‘Laura,’” referring to Otto Preminger’s 1944 noir with a similar premise. “As a tough reporter, Alan Ladd was never better cast than he was in this movie,” Rode said. The novel One Woman, by Freeport, Illinois, native Tiffany Thayer, inspired the movie, and two decades later, the made-for-TV movie and subsequent series “(Fame Is) The Name of the Game.” “Larceny” (35mm), 9 p.m.: The grifters Silky and Rick (Dan Duryea and John Payne) try to shake down a war widow (Joan Caulfield). Shelley Winters, in her second credited screen role as Tory, Silky’s moll, is along for the ride. “Tory’s like a high-tension wire,” Silky admits. “Once you grab on, you can’t let go.” Much like the lady herself. As Rode insists, “Who could resist a noir with Shelley Winters and Dan Duryea?”

Wednesday, Aug. 30

“Blood on the Moon” (35mm), 7 p.m.: Robert Mitchum trades his fedora for a Stetson in this tale about a homesteading dispute, directed by Robert Wise in what he called his “first big feature.” Shot by virtuoso noir cinematographer Nicholas Musaraca, “Blood on the Moon” “makes a case for the noir Western,” said Rode, who just wrote a book about the movie for the Reel West series published by the University of New Mexico. “It was Robert Wise’s first A-movie, and it explores the same netherworld of corruption found in many noirs but only moved to the West. It set the pace for Westerns like Anthony Mann’s and Budd Boetticher’s and changed how Westerns evolved in the ’50s. It’s much darker and more ambiguous.”

“Moonrise” (35mm), 9 p.m.: The sins of the father are visited upon the son (Dane Clark) in “Moonrise,” regarded as the last important film by Frank Borzage, winner of the first Best Director Oscar (for 1927’s “Seventh Heaven”). “It’s an extraordinary film. Borzage, who’s known for his relentless optimism, is the last director you’d think of for a noir,” Muller said. “But it has that sense of true romanticism that marked his silent-era masterpieces.”

Thursday, Aug. 31

“Cry of the City” (35mm), 7 p.m.: Two childhood friends from New York’s Little Italy find themselves on opposite sides of the law as crook (Richard Conte) and cop (Victor Mature). Muller and Rode regard director Robert Siodmak as one of their favorite noir auteurs. This film is “the most perfectly realized, thematically and stylistically, of all his noirs,” Rode said. It was shot entirely on location with a stellar supporting cast of Fred Clark, Betty Garde, Berry Kroeger, Shelley Winters, and the indomitable Hope Emerson (in her film debut).

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