Cinematic: Footsteps and Fog
By Jack Feuer
Published Oct 1, 2009 8:00 AM
When your new series includes a motion picture called "the most sickening exhibition of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on a cinema screen," there's no doubt you've left the well-lit paths of ordinary reality and entered the shadowy, seductive world of film noir. And although the term coined by French film scholars usually describes a particular cycle of atmospheric, dark and moody post-war American films, the UCLA Film and Television Archive is presenting a unique take on the noir style: the British version.
"Footsteps and Fog: British Film Noir" debuts October 17 at the Billy Wilder Theater in the Hammer Museum and runs through October 26. The less well-known, and with their own distinct sensibilities and variations, British filmmakers nonetheless made some classic contributions to the genre. Shot in locales from London to the Lake District and beyond, this program aims to shine a light on the darkness across the pond.
The 10-film selection includes vaunted masterworks like Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949), starring Joseph Cotton as a pulp novelist caught up in a conspiracy in bombed-out postwar Vienna involving his friend Harry Lime, played by the inimitable Orson Welles, which kicks off the series. Also on the bill are Jules Dassin's Night and the City (1950) starring Richard Widmark; a very young Terence Young in 1939's On the Night of the Fire; and the aforementioned "sickening exhibition," the rare — and notorious — No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948), a harrowing look at British Poverty Row.
Footsteps and Fog: British Film Noir. Billy Wilder Theater. Saturday, Oct. 17-Monday, Oct. 26. $9 general admission; $8 Cineclub members, students seniors and UCLA Alumni Association members (with ID); $7 Cineclub members who are students or seniors. For tickets and information, call (310) 206-FILM or www.cinema.ucla.edu/screenings.