It was night-time in Hollywood

Classics of the American Noir

Event promoted by

Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia - Cineteca Nazionale, La Farfalla sul Mirino

Projections in 35 mm film


One of the best-loved genres from the golden age of Hollywood, the "noir" has forged the collective imagination of countless generations with its dark urban atmospheres, its moral ambiguity, its cynical detectives who stop at nothing to get what they want, and its breathtakingly beautiful femmes fatales.  It is more of a universe than a genre, in which the American studio system frequently teams up with European malaise to concoct an explosive mixture.  The retrospective, entitled It Was Night-Time in Hollywood, pays tribute to this extraordinarily rich universe and to its leading players, including such legendary film directors as Lang, Siodmak, Wilder, Preminger, Welles and Sternberg, such unique and charismatic stars as Bogart, Mitchum and Lancaster, and actresses of the calibre of Barbara Stanwyck, Gene Tierney and Lauren Bacall who were to become fully-fledged icons in their own right.  This is an extraordinary opportunity to allow yourself to fall once again under the spell of the dark side of Hollywood.



Palazzo delle Esposizioni - Sala Cinema

Admission via steps in via Milano 9a, Rome


Reservations may be made by membership card holders only

Dal: 20/11/2013
Al: 14/12/2013

20/11/2013 21:00
Double Indemnity - Cinema
admission free

106 min., USA  1944, original version with Italian subtitles, directed by Billy Wilder, with Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson
An insurance salesman and his lover, a client's wife, decide together to kill her husband and cash in his insurance policy, but their plan goes awry when it encounters a fatal hurdle.  A benchmark movie for the whole of the noir genre, this masterpiece of suspence and atmosphere features an unforgettable performance by Barbara Stanwyck as the dark lady of the piece.


21/11/2013 21:00
Deadline U.S.A. - Cinema
admission free

87 min., USA 1952, Italian version, directed by Richard Brooks, with Humphrey Bogart, Kim Hunter and Ethel Barrymore
When his publisher dies, an editor-in-chief opposes his newspaper's sale so that he can continue to pursue his campaign against a gang of hoodlums.  A paean to freedom of the press, this is the film in which a Humphrey Bogart on top form delivers his famous line:  "That's the press, baby, the press, and there's nothing you can do about it".


22/11/2013 21:00
Laura - Cinema
admission free

85 min., USA 1944, Italian version, directed by Otto Preminger, with Gene Tierney, Vincent Price, Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb
Laura Hunt's badly mauled body is discovered in her apartment.  The police officer investigating the case becomes obsessed by the whole thing, until one day the woman simply reappears.  Sophisticated, decadent and perverse, this film, a milestone in the genre, is dominated by Gene Tierney's almost unearthly beauty.


23/11/2013 21:00
Touch of Evil - Cinema
admission free

112 min., USA 1958, original version with Italian subtitles, directed by Orson Welles, with Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietrich
A murder on the border pits a Mexican official against an unscrupulous American police officer, both of whom are trying to track down the murderer.  Welles's absolute masterpiece, this movie is a triumph of visual and narrative invention, with pride of place going to the most famous piano sequence in the history of the cinema.


24/11/2013 21:00
The Racket - Cinema
admission free

88 min., USA 1951, Italian version, directed by John Cromwell, with Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan and Lizabeth Scott
An unscrupulous gangster is adept at manoeuvering corrupt politicians and judges, until one day his path is crossed by a police officer prepared to go to any lengths to nab him.  Rich in atmosphere and coups de théâtre, this film, one of John Cromwell's few excursions into noir, rests on the charisma of Robert Mitchum and on a splendid performance from "bad guy" Robert Ryan.


27/11/2013 21:00
The Blue Gardenia - Cinema
admission free

90 min., USA 1953, Italian version, directed by Fritz Lang, with Anne Baxter, Raymond Burr, Richard Conte and Ann Sothern
A young switchboard girl believes she has killed a man who attempted to take advantage of her while she was drunk.  In deep shock, she seeks the aid of a journalist to shed light on what really happened. Long inactive on account of McCarthyism, Lang returned to the set on top form with this tense and atmospheric jewel of a film.


28/11/2013 21:00
A Blueprint for Murder - Cinema
ingresso libero

76 min., USA 1953, Italian version, directed by Andrew L. Stone, with Joseph Cotten and Jean Peters
When his brother dies in suspicious circumstances, Fred Kent begins to suspect his sister-in-law, who has her eye on his brother's conspicuous inheritance.  When his niece is killed too, his suspicion becomes a certainty.  Underrated when it first came out, this patchy thriller is rich in gripping moments, with a memorable performance from Joseph Cotten.


29/11/2013 21:00
Whirlpool - Cinema
admission free

98 min., USA 1949, Italian version, directed by Otto Preminger, with Gene Tierney, José Ferrer and Richard Conte
A women suffering from kleptomania turns to a hypnotist, but instead of curing her, the man takes advantage of her to commit a crime and place the blame on her.  With Ben Hecht's superb script, Otto Preminger drags his audience into a deeply psychological thriller which was innovative at the time and is still disturbing today.


30/11/2013 21:00
The Woman in the Window - Cinema
admission free

99 min., USA  1944, original version with Italian subtitles, directed by Fritz Lang, with Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea
A mature criminologist meets a mysterious woman by chance and falls in love with her, but she involves him in the murder of her lover.  Marking the peak of Lang's Hollywood career, the film addresses his favourite theme of guilt in a style which François Truffaut was to call simply "inexorable."


01/12/2013 21:00
Crossfire - Cinema
admission free

86 min., USA 1947, Italian version, directed by Edward Dmytryk, with Robert Mitchum, Gloria Grahame and Robert Ryan
Three soldiers, demobbed at the end of the war, are involved in the death of a Jewish trooper.  A detective investigates the crime without imagining that racism could be the motive. This rare example of a socially committed noir, which was to win an award at Cannes, is based on a novel by future movie director Richard Brooks.


03/12/2013 21:00
Dark Passage - Cinema
admission free

106 min., USA 1947, original version with Italian subtitles, directed by Delmer Daves, with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Agnes Moorehead
Unfairly sentenced on a count of murder, Vincent Parry escapes from jail, bent on discovering the true culprit. He is helped in his search by a young woman and by a surgeon prepared to alter his facial features. This, the third film to pair Humphrer Bogart with Lauren Bacall, is famous for its innovative use of the subjective shot.


04/12/2013 21:00
The Big Heat - Cinema
admission free

90 min., USA 1953, Italian version, directed by Fritz Lang, with Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin
Sergeant Bannion is probing the death of a friend, whom he discovers was affiliated with the criminal underworld.  When his wife dies in an attack intended to target him, the clash turns nasty.  This is one of the greatest noir movies of all time, in which Lang eliminates the boundaries between good and evil, setting a trend with the character of his vengeful police officer.


05/12/2013 21:00
Night Without Sleep - Cinema
admission free

77 min., USA 1952, Italian version, directed by Roy Ward Baker, with Linda Darnell, Gary Merrill and Hildegarde Knef
A booze-sodden writer wakes to find he can't recall what happened the night before, he just has this feeling that he killed a woman.  The reality, however, turns out to be even more shocking.  This B-movie, which is still extremely enjoyable, was directed by Roy Ward Baker, an English film director whose work is relatively unknown in Italy.


06/12/2013 21:00
Macao - Cinema
admission free

81 min., USA 1952, Italian version, directed by Josef Von Sternberg, with Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell
A gangster rules the roost in Macao and so the US police force sends an agent over to put a stop to that rule.  When the agent is killed, however, an adventurer called Nick inherits his dangerous mission.  The power of seduction of Sternberg's visionary cinema is boostsed by the sparks of eroticism that fill the air when Robert Mitchum meets Jane Russell.


08/12/2013 21:00
Nightmare Alley - Cinema
admission free

112 min., USA 1947, original version with Italian subtitles, directed by Edmund Goulding, with Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell and Coleen Gray
A fairground hawker joins up with a psychologist, using his patients' disclosures to offer his powers as a fortune teller.  Exposed, he ends up in disgrace.  This highly original and totally unclassifiable film merges noir with grotesque and social critique with fantasy.  Impossible to find in Italy, it is definitely worth rediscovering.


11/12/2013 21:00
Criss Cross - Cinema
admission free

87 min., USA 1949, Italian version, directed by Robert Siodmak, with Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo and Dan Duryea
To win back his ex-wife, who in the meantime has become a gangster's moll, Steve Thompson is forced to become an outlaw himself, to the bitter end.  Siodmak is one of the great masters of noir and his art, which goes hand-in-glove with German Expressionism, is showcased to perfection in this film.


12/12/2013 21:00
The Dark Corner
admission free

99 min., USA 1946, original version with Italian subtitles, directed by Henry Hathaway, with Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb and Mark Stevens
Having served a sentence for a crime he never committed, a private detective moves away, only to discover that a new trap has been laid for him.  This dark, tense noir is surprisingly realistic, like so many of Hathaway's postwar films.  It also contains an astonishing performance from Lucille Ball whom we tend to associate with far lighter roles.


13/12/2013 21:00
Out of the Past - Cinema
admission free

88 min., USA 1947, Italian version, directed by Jacques Tourneur, with Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas and Jane Greer
A private detective retires to the country to escape his past, until his former employer shows up with a new mission.  But it is a trap.  A reference model for the genre as a whole, this film enhances its bitter fatalism with a style that was to set a trend, and Robert Mitchum's performance is absolutely monumental.


14/12/2013 21:00
The Night of the Hunter - Cinema
admission free

90 min., USA  1955, original version with Italian subtitles, directed by Charles Laughton, with Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish
Harry Powell, a self-styled preacher, seduces and kills a widow to get his hands on her money, but her two children slip out of his clutches and manage to take their revenge.  The only film Charles Laughton ever directed, this is an extraordinary and deeply shocking tale of horror which, over time, has turned into a fully-fledged cult movie.

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