Midcentury Madness ’22
First show: March 12
MIDCENTURY MADNESS ’22
Part 2 of 18 • Saturday & Sunday: A mini-festival of rarely seen film noir from America and Europe featuring TWO American premieres!
Not content to simply keep breaking ground with his FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT series, Midcentury Productions head honcho Don Malcolm will present 36 ultra-rare films from around the world in 18 double features—an ongoing event unlike anything else in the world.
Call it “vehicular noir”—a heretofore-undiscovered subtype in a venerable but still-elastic genre…
In PLUNDER ROAD (1957, USA, 72 min), the film’s central heist is performed by a gang wielding big rigs, and the film’s ironic conclusion centers around a hidden-in-plain-sight escape via truck masterminded by soulfully grizzled Gene Raymond. Cannily directed by the mercurial Hubert Cornfield, and brilliantly photographed by veteran noir lensman Ernie Haller, PLUNDER ROAD is hands-down the best B-noir of the 1950s, but hasn’t been screened in eons.
H-8… (1958, Yugoslavia, 101 min) is an entirely different beast. Early on in the film, a terrible accident between a bus and, yes, a large truck creates a tragic catastrophe. Director Nikola Tanhofer then goes back in time to watch the human events on the bus as it begins its fatal, fateful journey—and we become helpess voyeurs watching to see who will die and who will live.
The two least-seen German noirs of the 1950s are the two of Germany’s greatest…
EPILOG (1950, Germany, 91 min) reveals Helmut Kautner as Orson Welles’ only rival for the title “most audacious director in Europe” as the 1950s began. A fever-dream of multiple realities, ultra-dynamic camera angles and editing, EPILOG is the tale of the doomed luxury yacht Orplid and the cover-up concerning the details of what happened on that fateful night. Intrepid, obsessed journalist Peter Zabel (Horst Caspar) breathlessly recounts his reconstruction of events, including his discovery of the only survivor of the yacht’s sinking, the mysterious, mute artist Leata (Bettina Moissi). Will Zabel find a way to bring the sordid truth of the events on the Orplid to the public, or are forces at work to prevent it from ever seeing the light of day?
MANY PASSED BY / VIELE KAMAN VORBEI (1956, Germany, 85 min) is the crowning achievement of forgotten director Peter Pewas, known today mostly for his 1944 film THE ENCHANTED DAY (which was banned by the Nazis). The harrowing, atmospheric tale takes us into the dark nighttime forests adjacent to the German autobahn, where a serial killer who preys on young girls is loose. Meanwhile, the headstrong Sabine defies her parents and begins a hitchhiking journey on the autobahn to meet up with the boyfriend she’s been forbidden to see… Pewas uses several intersecting narrative points-of-view and an ominous, omnsicent voiceover to triangulate the nocturnal action into a coiled collision.
EPILOG will make its American premiere on March 13, while MANY PASSED BY will receive only its second screeing in the US. Don’t miss these two incredible rediscoveries!
Midcentury Madness '22: Upcoming Showtimes