It was when I first watched the Maltese Falcon (1941) that I understood why Humphrey Bogart was a Hollywood legend. His sarcastic poise, dry delivery and sharp wit as private detective Sam Spade made clear his talent and, in hindsight, his influence in Hollywood. Bogart’s fame was not all because of his acting, but in the way he shined in the shadows of urban landscapes and smoldered with sexual tension with gorgeous dames and femme fatales—all attributes of Film Noir, a phrase coined by French film critic Nino Frank. Literally meaning “black film,” the darkness was both literal and metaphorical, as the genre explored the demimonde and the shadowiest aspects of human nature. It’s a style that continues to be influential and makes certain stars shine all the brighter within the gloom.
The mutual influence of Hollywood and French film-making in the Film Noir genre will be beautifully showcased in the Classic French Film Noir Series at the Seattle Art Museum, starting tonight, March 26, and continuing until May 21. Each week, the SAM offers a special screening of one film for a limited audience.
From the SAM website:
Series tickets may be purchased online, at the Ticketing Desk at the Seattle Art Museum or the Asian Art Museum, or over the phone with a credit card by calling the SAM Customer Service Center at 206.654.3210. A limited number of single-film tickets may be available on a first-come, first-served basis the day of the show, at 7:25 pm, at the auditorium entrance for $8 (cash/check only).
Classic French Film Noir Series at the Seattle Art Museum
March 26: Casque D’Or/Golden Marie
April 2: Touchez Pas Au Grisbi/Honor Among Thieves
April 9: Bob Le Flambeur/Bob the Gambler
April 16: Elevator to the Gallows
April 23: Le Doulos/The Finger Man
April 30: Army of Shadows
May 7: Le Cercle Rouge
May 14: One Deadly Summer
May 21: Confidentially Yours