Friday, October 2, 2020 - 6:00pm
CinemaLit Popcorn Pop-Up Salon: October-- Women of Noir
Hello Film Lovers,
Welcome back to CinemaLit! We have missed our Friday night gatherings. Laura, Pam, and I are excited to launch this new format for CinemaLit as we Shelter at Home. We will be viewing films on Kanopy and gathering online for a Popcorn Pop-Up Salon!
All you will need is either a Mechanics' Institute library card, or a San Francisco Public Library card, which will give you access to Kanopy and its treasure trove of movies. Make a reservation as usual via Eventbrite and watch the film on Kanopy at your leisure. You will receive a link to the Friday night CinemaLit salon on Zoom two days in advance. On the night of the salon click the Zoom link and join us.
If you do not receive a Zoom Link by the day of the event, contact Pam Troy at [email protected]
Mechanics’ Institute members can now sign up for FREE access to Kanopy, a wonderful film streaming service. To sign up:
1. Click on THIS LINK.
2. Click on the large orange login button that reads, “Log in to milibrary.”
3. Enter the 14-digit bar code from your MI Library card
4. Set up your account following Kanopy’s instructions, including your email and a password.
5. Kanopy will send verification to your email address.
You’ll be able to choose from a wonderful selection of films, including classics, pre-code, foreign films, and documentaries, including the films we’ve scheduled this month for CinemaLit.
If you are not a Mechanics’ Institute member, consider membership and click HERE to join online:
Or, you can check with your public library to see if they are Kanopy members. If so, you may use your public library card to set up a Kanopy account.
Matthew Kennedy, curator and host
CinemaLit Film Series
October 2020: Women of Noir
For October, we return to a longtime CinemaLit favorite – film noir. Our focus is on women in noir, in front of and behind the camera. Three films feature women as the dominant story-driving character – Woman on the Run (1950) starring Ann Sheridan, Sudden Fear (1952) starring a well-served Joan Crawford, and The Naked Kiss (1964) starring a way over-the-top Constance Towers. As an added bonus, two films this month, Woman on the Run and Sudden Fear, offer dazzling footage of their mid-century San Francisco locations. Two other films feature Ida Lupino directing. Lupino was a brilliant actress, as well as one of the very few women who had directorial responsibilities in American films of the 1950s. In The Hitch-Hiker (1953), Lupino artfully locates film noir in a remote desert setting more redolent of Westerns. In The Bigamist (1953), Lupino both directs and stars. Joan Fontaine and Edmond O'Brien are the two other points of what the title accurately suggests is a love triangle. For The Naked Kiss, we are delighted to welcome back CinemaLit emeritus curator and host Michael Fox as emcee.
October 2 - Woman on the Run (1950) starring Ann Sheridan
Late one dark night in San Francisco. The streets are nearly empty. A lone man walks his dog. He hears screeching tires, a man pleading for his life, and gunshots. The car speeds away, leaving a fresh corpse on the street. The police and an inspector arrive at the scene and question the witness, who manages to flee into the night. They then question his wife, who seems indifferent to whether her husband lives or dies.
That's merely the first seven minutes of this crackling good low-budgeted 78-minute crime noir from Universal Studios. Wherever you think it may go, it will go somewhere else. Woman on the Run holds together and works so well because of star Ann Sheridan. She had fantastic camera presence, her smoky voice and heavily-lidded eyes going warm and cold on demand. Sheridan chooses subtlety over histrionics, yet is never less than thoroughly commanding. We want to find her husband, but we are just as committed to finding out who this mysterious and compelling woman is at the center of the action. With calibrated precision, she slowly reveals herself to us all the way to Woman on the Run's shattering finale.
The film is practically a bus tour of San Francisco. The search for the missing husband takes us into one neighborhood after another, and anyone who knows the City will enjoy identifying landmarks. In that way, Woman on the Run foreshadows Scottie following Judy in Vertigo eight years later. In the spirit of Sheridan's acting, nothing is overplayed or gratuitous. Director Norman Foster and cinematographer Hal Mohr create the ideal ambiance for this striking drama to unveil its secrets.
Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies.
“I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."
“Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”
Register with Eventbrite below.
If the green TICKET button is not immediately visible, scroll down on the right in the Eventbrite window until it appears
Future CinemaLit Films
Sep 25 - 6:00pm