I HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE: A Film Noir Double Bill

YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE dir. Fritz Lang, 1937 86 mins. United States. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 – 7:30 PM SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 – 5 PM TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – 7:30 PM Fritz Lang’s 1937 YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (his third film…

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YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE
dir. Fritz Lang, 1937
86 mins. United States.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 – 5 PM
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – 7:30 PM

Fritz Lang’s 1937 YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (his third film after fleeing Nazi Germany, and just his second American movie) is a complex social melodrama, tightly disguised as a bleak noir about star-crossed lovers on the run. Henry Fonda stars as Eddie Taylor, a jailbird who’s just been released from prison (for the third time) with desperate hopes to finally turn his life around. Unfortunately for Taylor, Lang’s fatalistic noir unravels as a thorough critique of an American judicial system that consistently sets its subjects up for failure. In a country that imprisons more people per capita than any other in the world, Lang’s social protest film is as poignant today as it was when James Baldwin praised it in 1976. With expressive black & white cinematography and a harrowing performance from Sylvia Sidney, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE is a remarkable career achievement and as James Baldwin reminds us, Lang “never succeeded quite so brilliantly.”

NIGHTFALL
dir. Jacques Tourneur, 1957
79 mins. United States.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – 10 PM

Working with classic film noir genre tropes (a suitcase filled with money, an innocent man being accused, a snowy day in Wyoming?), Tourneur’s late-period noir is a poetic thriller that becomes increasingly difficult to pin down with its suspenseful flashback structure and vividly set sun-filled exteriors. Released nine years after his noir masterpiece OUT OF THE PAST and photographed by film noir legend Burnett Guffey (IN A LONELY PLACE, THE RECKLESS MOMENT), NIGHTFALL tells the story of an artist (Aldo Ray) who desperately tries to prove his innocence for a murder and robbery he didn’t commit. The slow-burning thriller culminates in an epic final scene, worth noting due to its striking resemblance to a Coen Brothers movie whose location is just north of Tourneur’s Teton County exterior (oh geez).

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