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BBC Four does film noir


Lovers of film noir will be spoiled for choice this weekend as BBC Four serves up six classic films and a new documentary The Rules of Film Noir (Saturday 22nd, 9pm. Repeated 12.50am and Sunday 23rd, 10.35pm).

Matthew Sweet presents a celebration of the hard-boiled world of noir movie, exploring this classic genre from its earliest days around 1940, through its heyday in the bleak, cynical postwar era, to the dying days of the 1950s, when American audiences wanted a bit more certainty with their entertainment. Writers and academics such as Paul (Taxi Driver) Schrader and The Wire's George Pelecanos outline the rules to which film noir adhered, with clips aplenty from every noir you know (and a few you might not). Want to know about the movies? See over the turn.

Film: Farewell My Lovely (1944) - BBC 4. 7.30pm - 9.00pm
Classic film noir starring Dick Powell and Claire Trevor. Raymond Chandler's famous creation, private eye Philip Marlowe, faces one of his toughest cases when he is hired by an ex-convict to find his former girlfriend.

Film: The Lady From Shanghai (1948) - BBC 4. 10.00pm - 11.25pm
Crime drama starring Rita Hayworth, produced, written and  directed by Orson Welles, who also co-stars. When Michael O'Hara is hired by a mysterious couple to work on their yacht, he is persuaded to become involved in a bizarre plan they have devised, and as a result he finds himself accused of murder.

Film: The Big Combo (1955) - BBC 4. 11.25pm - 12.50am
Film Noir starring Cornel Wilde and Richard Conte. Police Lieutenant Diamond is determined to break up a gang, headed by the vicious Brown. Help appears from an unexpected source - Brown's shunned wife.

Film: Force of Evil (1948) - BBC 4. 1.50am - 3.05am
Film Noir with John Garfield. Dark, brooding and cerebral drama from writer/director Abraham Polonsky about two brothers caught up in crime and corruption. An ambitious lawyer in search of materialistic gain begins work for a New York criminal mastermind, who plans to take over New York’s illegal lottery.

Film: Build My Gallows High (1947) - BBC 4. 9.00pm - 10.35pm
Classic Film Noir starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. Former private detective Jeff Bailey finds his violent past catching up with him when he's recognised by a customer at his gas station. The meeting reminds Bailey of the time he was hired to find the girlfriend of a gambler who disappeared with $40,000.

Film: Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) - BBC 4. 11.30pm - 12.35am
Thriller starring Peter Lorre. At a murder trial, testimony by a newspaperman, added to circumstantial evidence, convicts a young man. The reporter then becomes increasingly convinced of the man's innocence, but owing to a bizarre set of circumstances, he too finds himself in the dock.

BBC Four website


john keeman

I've just watched the Film Noir documentary on BBC i Player. As they say in Glasgow "Pure dead brilliunt!"

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