The French Had a Name for It 5 1/2

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First show: May 10

We call it QUADRUPLE EXPOSURE—all four decades of French noir on display in…

THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT 5½

FRENCH NOIR in the Spring, too? Incroyable! Midcentury Productions’ Don Malcolm is on a five-year mission to bring Roxie audiences 101 ultra-rare French film noirs, and FRENCH 5½ is another glorious signpost on that journey. 13 superlative films and a riveting, impossible-to-see-elsewhere short from Henri-Georges Clouzot make this edition of THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT the most eclectic and intriguing collection yet.

THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT 5½

See the dawn of film noir (1932’s NIGHT AT THE CROSSROADS) contrasted with Costa-Gavras’ mid-60s reinterpretation of the classic murder mystery (1965’s THE SLEEPING CAR MURDERS). See great stars—Jean Gabin (MAIGRET SETS A TRAP), Jeanne Moreau (THREE SINNERS), Michèle Morgan (OBSESSION), Arletty (PORTRAIT OF A MURDERER)—in films unscreened in America for more than half a century!

THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT 5½

FRENCH 5½ is more evidence that French noir is second to none in its exploration of the dark side of humanity. Join us for four days this May and see just how wide-ranging noir filmmaking can really be!

→ Find out more about the films at the MidCentury Productions site. Titles below link to the festival site.

Friday, May 10

THE SLEEPING CAR MURDERS / COMPARTIMENT TUEURS  7:15 PM

(1965, Costa-Gavras) A murder on a Paris train “goes viral” and police are baffled. With Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Jean-Louis Trintingnant, Michel Piccoli.

THE FLYING WARDROBE / L’ARMOIRE VOLANTE 9:15 PM

(1948, Carlo Rim) A missing corpse creates a surreal nightmare for a henpecked nephew. With the great French comic Fernandel cast brilliantly against type.

Saturday Matinée, May 11

JEAN’S RETURN / RETOUR DE JEAN 1:00 PM

(1949, Henri-Georges Clouzot, from RETURN TO LIFE/RETOUR À LA VIE). A Frenchman in a post-WWII convalescent home discovers an escaped German prisoner in his bedroom. With the great Louis Jouvet.

STRANGERS IN THE HOUSE / LES INCONNUS DANS LA MAISON 1:45 PM

(1942, Henri Decoin, script by Henri-Georges Clouzot) A disgraced lawyer must overcome his personal demons to defend his niece when she is accused of murder. With Raimu.

THE QUEEN OF SPADES / LA DAME DE PIQUE  3:30 PM

(1965, Leonard Keigel) An indigent countess is given a dangerous secret that confers wealth, then death on those who use it. 30s icon Dita Parlo returns triumphantly to the screen as the countess.

Saturday Evening, May 11

OBSESSION  7:00 PM

(1954, Jean Delannoy) A circus couple finds itself embroiled in the unexpected aftermath of a murder. NOTE: rare color noir! With Michèle Morgan, Raf Vallone.

THREE SINNERS / MEUTRES  9:00 PM

(1950, Richard Pottier) A mercy killing turns into an all-out family feud: can the young niece set things straight? With Jeanne Moreau, Fernandel.

Sunday Matinée, May 12

NIGHT AT THE CROSSROADS / LA NUIT DU CARREFOUR 1:00 PM

(1932, Jean Renoir) Drugs, murder, and sex: film noir begins here as Inspector Maigret meets an opium-besotted femme fatale. With Pierre Renoir, Winna Winfried.

SIROCCO / LA MAISON DU MALTAIS  2:30 PM

(1938, Pierre Chenal) Romance and blackmail coil around a beautiful prostitute’s chances for respectability and happiness. With Viviane Romance, Louis Jouvet, Marcel Dalio, Jany Holt, Fréhel.

THE DESERTER / JE T’ATTENDRAI  4:15 PM

(1939, Leonid Moguy) A soldier leaves his troop train to discover that life in his native village has become fraught with peril. With Jean-Pierre Aumont, Corinne Luchaire.

Sunday Evening, May 12

WICKED CITY / HANS LE MARIN 7:15 PM

(1949, François Villiers) A sailor, a cabaret girl, a gypsy, and a murder in Marseille: amour fou meets poetic realism. With Jean-Pierre Aumont, Maria Montez (Cobra Woman!), Lilli Palmer.

PORTRAIT OF AN KILLER / PORTRAIT D’UN ASSASSIN  9:15

(1949, Bernard-Roland) A circus daredevil is caught up in the deadly machinations of a scheming woman. With Pierre Brasseur, Maria Montez, Arletty, Erich von Stroheim.

Monday,May 13

MAIGRET SETS A TRAP / MAIGRET TEND UN PIEGE  7:00 PM

(1958, Jean Delannoy) The venerable Inspector Maigret tracks a serial killer on the streets of Paris. With Jean Gabin, Annie Girardot, Lino Ventura, Jean Desailly.

THE HEAD OF A MAN / LA TÊTE D’UN HOMME  9:20 PM

(1933, Julien Duvivier) Early noir gets a great boost from Duvivier with this spooky tale of Maigret attempting to outmaneuver a deadly killer. With Harry Baur, Valery Inkijinoff.

The French Had a Name for it 5 1/2

FRENCH 5½ is augmented by “double exposure” art created by Don as a related project, which adds its own visual energy to this special collection of films. The sample illustration above (featuring the legendary actor Raimu, starring on May 11th in Henri Decoin’s STRANGERS IN THE HOUSE) will give you a taste: it’s titled “The Path to Oblivion”—a French noir concept if there ever was one!

 

The French Had a Name for It 5 1/2: Upcoming Showtimes
May 107:15 PMBig Roxie
May 111:00 PMBig Roxie
May 117:00 PMBig Roxie
May 121:00 PMBig Roxie
May 127:15 PMBig Roxie
May 137:00 PMBig Roxie