Technicolor Dreams at MoMA This Summer

For two solid months from June 5 to August 5, the Museum of Modern Art will be running a film retrospective titled “Glorious Technicolor: From George Eastman House and Beyond,” showcasing Technicolor movies made between the early 1920s and the mid-50s. Here is a sample of 30 of the feature films, both live-action and animation, that you can see this summer. (Times are subject to change.)

The Toll of the Sea (1922) – dir. Chester M. Franklin – starring Anna May Wong, Kenneth Harlan, Beatrice Bentley – Sunday, June 7 at 2:00 pm and Friday, June 12 at 4:30 pm

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) – dir. Michael Curtiz – starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell – Wednesday, July 1 at 7:00 pm and Wednesday, July 8 at 4:30 pm

The Garden of Allah (1936) – dir. Richard Boleslawski – starring Marlene Dietrich, Charles Boyer, Basil Rathbone – Friday, June 5 at 4:30 pm and Tuesday, July 21 at 1:30 pm

Nothing Sacred (1937) – dir. William A. Wellman – starring Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Charles Winninger – Tuesday, July 21 at 6:45 pm and Sunday, July 26 at 3:30 pm

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) – dirs. Michael Curtiz and William Keighley – starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone – Sunday, June 7 at 6:00 pm and Monday, June 22 at 4:30 pm

Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) – dir. John Ford – starring Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver – Monday, July 6 at 4:30 pm and Tuesday, July 7 at 7:15 pm

Gone with the Wind (1939) – dir. Victor Fleming (with others) – starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland – Saturday, July 4 at 6:30 pm and Saturday, July 11 at 1:00 pm

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) – dir. Michael Curtiz – starring Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland – Monday, June 22 at 7:00 pm and Wednesday, July 1 at 1:30 pm

The Wizard of Oz (1939) – dir. Victor Fleming (with others) – starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Margaret Hamilton – Friday, June 5 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, June 14 at 2:00 pm

Down Argentine Way (1940) – dir. Irving Cummings – starring Don Ameche, Betty Grable, Carmen Miranda – Friday, June 26 at 4:30 pm and Sunday, June 28 at 4:15 pm

Blood and Sand (1941) – dir. Rouben Mamoulian – starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth – Friday, July 3 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, July 5 at 6:00 pm

Lassie Come Home (1943) – dir. Fred M. Wilcox – starring Roddy McDowall, Donald Crisp, Elizabeth Taylor – Sunday, July 19 at 3:15 pm and Monday, July 20 at 4:30 pm

Cobra Woman (1944) – dir. Robert Siodmak – starring Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Sabu – Wednesday, July 8 at 1:30 pm and Sunday, July 12 at 3:45 pm

Yolanda and the Thief (1945) – dir. Vincente Minnelli – starring Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer, Leon Ames – Saturday, June 13 at 2:00 pm and Tuesday, June 23 at 4:30 pm

The Yearling (1946) – dir. Clarence Brown – starring Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman, Claude Jarman Jr. – Wednesday, June 17 at 6:45 pm and Sunday, June 21 at 7:00 pm

Easter Parade (1948) – dir. Charles Walters – starring Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller – Sunday, July 12 at 1:00 pm and Monday, July 13 at 4:00 pm

The Pirate (1948) – dir. Vincente Minnelli – starring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Walter Slezak – Saturday, June 13 at 4:45 pm and Tuesday, June 16 at 7:15 pm

Little Women (1949) – dir. Mervyn LeRoy – starring June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Elizabeth Taylor – Sunday, June 14 at 4:30 pm and Sunday, June 21 at 4:15 pm

Neptune’s Daughter (1949) – dir. Edward Buzzell – starring Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Ricardo Montalban – Thursday, July 9 at 7:00 pm and Friday, July 10 at 1:30 pm

Samson and Delilah (1949) – dir. Cecil B. DeMille – starring Hedy Lamarr, Victor Mature, Angela Lansbury – Saturday, July 11 at 8:30 pm and Thursday, July 16 at 7:15 pm

An American in Paris (1951) – dir. Vincente Minnelli – starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant – Saturday, June 20 at 8:00 pm and Tuesday, June 23 at 7:00 pm

The River (1951) – dir. Jean Renoir – starring Nora Swinburne, Esmond Knight, Adrienne Corri – Wednesday, July 8 at 7:00 pm and Friday, July 10 at 4:30 pm

Scaramouche (1952) – dir. George Sidney – starring Stewart Granger, Eleanor Parker, Janet Leigh – Saturday, June 27 at 2:00 pm and Monday, June 29 at 7:00 pm

Singin’ in the Rain (1952) – dirs. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly – starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds – Saturday, June 20 at 5:00 pm and Thursday, June 25 at 4:30 pm

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953) – dir. Roy Rowland – starring Peter Lind Hayes, Hans Conried, Tommy Rettig – Sunday, June 14 at 7:15 pm and Wednesday, June 24 at 4:30 pm

Mogambo (1953) – dir. John Ford – starring Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly – Thursday, July 2 at 1:30 pm and Saturday, July 4 at 3:45 pm

Niagara (1953) – dir. Henry Hathaway – starring Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters – Sunday, June 7 at 3:45 pm and Tuesday, June 9 at 7:00 pm

Magnificent Obsession (1954) – dir. Douglas Sirk – starring Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Otto Kruger – Wednesday, June 10 at 6:45 pm and Friday, June 19 at 4:30 pm

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) – dir. Richard Fleischer – starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Peter Lorre – Monday, July 27 at 7:00 pm

The Trouble with Harry (1955) – dir. Alfred Hitchcock – starring Edmund Gwenn, John Forsythe, Shirley MacLaine – Sunday, July 26 at 5:45 pm and Tuesday, July 28 at 4:30 pm

Indelible Film Images (Summer Edition): Smiles of a Summer Night

Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) – dir. Ingmar Bergman

Starring: Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson, Margit Carlqvist, Gunnar Björnstrand, Jarl Kulle, Åke Fridell, Björn Bjelfvenstam, Naima Wifstrand, Jullan Kindahl

Cinematography: Gunnar Fischer

Programming Note: Vacation 2014

Hi, everyone. I’ll be on vacation until August 2, so there may not be any posts here until then. If circumstances permit I will make posts, but that may not happen. My goal is to enjoy the sun and relaxation of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Being not far from Canada, I expect that temperatures will be much lower than they are in Brooklyn.

In the meantime, please enjoy this Morphine song, “Early to Bed” (from Like Swimming, 1997), which I forgot to put in my recent post about Mark Sandman. The music video was nominated for a Grammy in 1998.

“Early to bed and early to rise / Makes a man or woman / Miss out on the nightlife.” There won’t be much nightlife when I’m on vacation, but I think it’s fine to get away from the noisy city for a little while. And then when I return, ah, that will be great too.

Viva Buñuel!: A Film Retrospective at BAM

The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAM Rose Cinemas is hosting a retrospective of 32 of Spanish auteur Luis Buñuel’s films made between 1929 and 1977. Although I missed the film that opened the festival, Los Olvidados (1950), I got the chance to see Buñuel’s macabre comedy The Criminal Life of Archibaldo De La Cruz (1955), which was great. It combines themes that recurred throughout Buñuel’s career: sex, violence and hidden desires (and on occasion, lacy undergarments). Here are a few of the other movies that will be playing at BAM’s festival, which continues for the next month until August 14.

Un Chien Andalou (1929) – Tuesday, July 15 – One of the most infamous edits in film history involving this eyeball and this razor can be seen in this Surrealist short film, a landmark in international cinema which was made in collaboration with artist Salvador Dalí.

Susana (1951) – Thursday, July 17 – This melodrama of a young woman’s sexual awakening, starring Rosita Quintana in the lead role, is a forerunner of the title women in Buñuel’s Viridiana and Belle de Jour.

Viridiana (1961) – Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19 – Surrealism swirls through this drama of religion, incest, the music of Bach, Handel and Mozart and an extended dinner scene reminiscent of The Last Supper.

El Bruto (aka The Brute) (1953) – Thursday, July 24 – Pedro Armendáriz and Katy Jurado, two Mexican actors who found success in Hollywood, star in a drama that could be viewed as an update of the Frankenstein story.

Robinson Crusoe (aka The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe) (1954) – Tuesday, July 29 – Buñuel’s only foray into Hollywood filmmaking tells Daniel Defoe’s seafaring adventure tale. The film received an Oscar nomination for Dan O’Herlihy’s lead performance, the first time that any of Buñuel’s films was recognized by the Academy.

The Young One (1960) – Thursday, July 31 – This production, filmed in Mexico but with dialogue in English, stars American actors Zachary Scott (best known for the 1940s films The Southerner, Mildred Pierce, Cass Timberlane and Flamingo Road), Bernie Hamilton and Crahan Denton in a story of a black jazz musician on the lam.

Belle de Jour (1967) – Friday, August 1 through Sunday, August 3 – Buñuel’s masterpiece (in my opinion) stars Catherine Deneuve as a housewife in a stagnant marriage who unlocks her inner passion and a kind of autonomy when she secretly begins work as an upscale call girl. Deneuve’s beauty, Sacha Vierny’s lush cinematography and Yves Saint Laurent’s très chic clothes are all exquisite.

Wuthering Heights (1954) – Tuesday, August 5 – This retelling of Emily Brontë’s classic Victorian novel transplants the story to Mexico in the 1800s. The film’s Spanish-language title, Abismos de pasión, translates to The Abyss of Passion.

That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) – Friday, August 8 – Buñuel’s final film stars French actress Carole Bouquet and Spanish actress Ángela Molina as the same character, Conchita, a maid who is coveted by her employer (Fernando Rey). Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière adapted the screenplay from a book by Pierre Louÿs.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) – Saturday, August 9 – Winner of the 1973 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (France) as well as a nominee for Best Original Screenplay (another Buñuel-Carrière collaboration), this famously surreal and dreamlike film features many of the most recognizable faces in world cinema, including Fernando Rey, Paul Frankeur, Delphine Seyrig, Bulle Ogier, Stéphane Audran, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Piéplu and Michel Piccoli.

Essential Summer Viewing: Eight Great Action Movies from the 90s

Action films are staples of summer entertainment for moviegoers of all ages. To make the season all the more enjoyable, here are eight of the best action films from one of the most excellent decades for that genre, the 1990s:

Point Break (1991, dir. Kathryn Bigelow) – Proof positive that a woman can direct an action film that’s every bit as awesome as anything directed by a man, this ripsnorter bears the tagline “100% Pure Adrenaline” for good reason. Wicked (to borrow some 90s jargon) surfing scenes, exciting bank-robbing scenes (with one of the most epic on-foot chases ever) and some of the coolest skydiving moments possible combine to make this California-set film a classic. It hardly even matters that Keanu Reeves’ character has the ridiculous name “Johnny Utah” (never mind the fact that he’s also a rookie FBI agent) and Patrick Swayze is the mystical “Bodhi.” Somehow it all makes sense.

Jurassic Park (1993, dir. Steven Spielberg) – I’m pretty sure that this movie is the ultimate 90s summer movie experience. It stands up so well to repeated viewings and the first dinosaur-attack scene (pictured above) is still as thrilling as it was two decades ago. Besides, Jeff Goldblum’s discomforting laugh will always be a true cinematic high point.

The River Wild (1994, dir. Curtis Hanson) – There’s not much more you could want from a movie other than Meryl Streep fighting for her life on a raft. Terrorized by psycho Kevin Bacon and eventually helped out by her slightly nerdy husband, David Strathairn, Streep acquits herself well on the rapids. There’s also Joseph Mazzello, aka the little boy from Jurassic Park, playing Streep and Strathairn’s son, and John C. Reilly as Bacon’s partner in crime.

Speed (1994, dir. Jan de Bont) – It’s Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. On a bus. That’s going really fast. What more do you need? Oh, that’s right: Dennis Hopper is the villain. Perfection.

Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995, dir. John McTiernan) – I don’t think the first Die Hard movie, brilliant as it is, should count as summertime entertainment since it takes place on Christmas Eve. (Die Hard 2… let’s just pretend that one didn’t happen at all. Yikes.) The third installment in the franchise is a lot of fun, though. Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson make a great team, which is helped by the fact that there are no love interests bogging down the plot. And only Jeremy Irons, speaking in a German accent and strolling around in a tank top, could come close to the snarling-but-sexy menace of Alan Rickman’s villain from the first film.

Independence Day (1996, dir. Roland Emmerich) – Truly the only movie worth watching on July 4, this mega-blockbuster is the final word in alien invasion flicks. Will Smith’s goofy Everyman shtick is less grating than it is in other comedies, while Jeff Goldblum’s bespectacled and (how 90s!) flannel-wearing scientist character supplies all the necessary genius know-how to save the planet from extraterrestrial destruction. Sweet.

The Rock (1996, dir. Michael Bay) – Far better than Nicolas Cage’s other big summer action movie from that era, Con Air (1997), The Rock gives Nic the good fortune to be paired with one of the most beloved movie stars ever, Sean Connery. Boasting a cast that includes many other renowned actors (Ed Harris, John Spencer, David Morse, William Forsythe, Michael Biehn, John C. McGinley, Tony Todd), this action-thriller is definitely one of Bay’s finer achievements. Hey, if you can seriously buy Nic Cage as a chemist, then you can probably suspend disbelief for anything.

Twister (1996, dir. Jan de Bont) – Yes, Jan de Bont gets two titles on this list. He’s just that good. With plenty of great tornado scenes, good chemistry between leads Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton and also some striking cinematographic work by Jack N. Green (who had photographed Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven four years earlier), this natural-disaster action movie has a lot going for it. Bonus points: the film also features Cary Elwes as a nefarious storm expert and Philip Seymour Hoffman as one of Hunt’s twister-hunter colleagues. Further bonus points: Twister has my favorite MPAA rating of all time, “rated PG-13 for intense depiction of very bad weather.”

Have a Film Noir Summer: 2014 Edition

Summertime is always the best season for the film noir genre. There are so many noirs that I have not yet seen and I am particularly interested in some titles with Brooklyn-born actresses (from my hometown, you know) and also some actresses who are still around six or seven decades after having made those classics. Perhaps the exciting noir spirit is what invigorates them. Here are 25 movies I hope to check out (and maybe you will too).

This Gun for Hire (1942, dir. Frank Tuttle) – Brooklyn-born Veronica Lake, one of the major movie stars of the World War II era, cemented her stardom in this vehicle co-starring Alan Ladd, Robert Preston, Laird Cregar, Tully Marshall and Marc Lawrence.

The Fallen Sparrow (1943, dir. Richard Wallace) – This combination noir/spy film stars John Garfield, a great New York-born actor and fiery Irish actress Maureen O’Hara (b. 1920). Walter Slezak, Patricia Morison (b. 1915), Martha O’Driscoll and Hugh Beaumont (aka Ward Cleaver from TV’s “Leave It to Beaver”) are also in the cast.

Mildred Pierce (1945, dir. Michael Curtiz) – Joan Crawford’s Oscar-winning performance as the title character also stars the Oscar-nominated Ann Blyth (b. 1928) as her daughter, Veda, as well as Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Bruce Bennett and Lee Patrick.

The Chase (1946, dir. Arthur Ripley) – Michèle Morgan (b. 1920) stars alongside Robert Cummings, Steve Cochran, Peter Lorre and Jack Holt in this adaptation of Cornell Woolrich’s book The Black Path of Fear.

Born to Kill (1947, dir. Robert Wise) – Starring two notable character actors who hailed from Brooklyn, Claire Trevor and Lawrence Tierney, this noir also features Walter Slezak, Phillip Terry, Audrey Long, Elisha Cook Jr., Isabel Jewell and Esther Howard.

Dark Passage (1947, dir. Delmer Daves) – Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall (b. 1924), two native New Yorkers as well as being husband and wife, team up again here along with Bruce Bennett and Agnes Moorehead.

Dead Reckoning (1947, dir. John Cromwell) – Another Bogart one: here he stars with Lizabeth Scott (b. 1922), always a cool and collected presence on film.

Kiss of Death (1947, dir. Henry Hathaway) – Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, king of noir Richard Widmark and a young-ish Karl Malden are the male presences here, but the one credited woman is Coleen Gray (b. 1922), a beauty who also made the disturbing noirish drama Nightmare Alley the same year.

Repeat Performance (1947, dir. Alfred L. Werker) – In a noir/fantasy hybrid, Joan Leslie (b. 1925) and Louis Hayward play Broadway acting/producing icons who get caught up in murder. Also starring Tom Conway, Richard Basehart (pictured), Natalie Schafer and Benay Venuta.

House of Strangers (1949, dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz) – Perhaps this is more of a drama than a noir, but Brooklyn-born Susan Hayward (who starred in one of my all-time favorite noirs, 1946’s Deadline at Dawn) is usually worth watching. The film also stars Edward G. Robinson, Richard Conte, Luther Adler, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Debra Paget (b. 1933), Hope Emerson, Esther Minciotti (the mother, Mrs. Pilletti, in the classic Marty) and Diana Douglas (b. 1923 – former wife of Kirk Douglas and mother of Michael Douglas).

Scene of the Crime (1949, dir. Roy Rowland) – Van Johnson is the somewhat unlikely star here, playing a homicide detective. The film also has two lovely starlets, Arlene Dahl (b. 1925) and Gloria DeHaven (b. 1925, pictured), as well as Tom Drake (the Brooklyn-born boy next door from Meet Me in St. Louis), Leon Ames, Donald Woods, Norman Lloyd (b. 1914 – he’ll be 100 in November!) and Jerome Cowan (a New Yorker).

Thieves’ Highway (1949, dir. Jules Dassin) – Richard Conte, a stalwart of noir, stars with Italian actress Valentina Cortese (b. 1923) here. Lee J. Cobb (another New Yorker), Barbara Lawrence, Jack Oakie, Millard Mitchell, Morris Carnovsky, Tamara Shayne and Hope Emerson also appear.

The File on Thelma Jordon (1950, dir. Robert Siodmak) – Barbara Stanwyck, my #1 favorite actress and a daughter of Brooklyn, stars as the title character. The film also stars Wendell Corey, Paul Kelly (another Brooklynite), Joan Tetzel, Kasey Rogers (then known as “Laura Elliot”) and Theresa Harris.

Shakedown (1950, dir. Joseph Pevney) – Howard Duff, Brian Donlevy, Peggy Dow (b. 1928), Lawrence Tierney (as mentioned, a Brooklynite), Bruce Bennett, Anne Vernon (b. 1924 – she played Madame Emery in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), Rock Hudson, Peggie Castle and Pevney himself can be seen in this noir about the newspaper business.

Union Station (1950, dir. Rudolph Maté) – William Holden and Nancy Olson (b. 1928), who made Sunset Blvd. that same year, are paired up again here for this noir thriller. Also starring Barry Fitzgerald, Jan Sterling and Allene Roberts (b. 1928).

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950, dir. Otto Preminger) – 6 years after Laura, Preminger, Dana Andrews and Brooklyn-born Gene Tierney reteam for this detective story which also features Gary Merrill, Tom Tully, Karl Malden, Ruth Donnelly and Craig Stevens.

Affair in Trinidad (1952, dir. Vincent Sherman) – After their successes in the dramedy The Lady in Question (1940), the noir Gilda (1946) and the musical drama The Loves of Carmen (1948), Brooklyn-born Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford reteam for this torrid nightclub story set in an exotic locale.

The Narrow Margin (1952, dir. Richard Fleischer) – Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor and Jacqueline White (b. 1922) headline this noir.

A Blueprint for Murder (1953, dir. Andrew L. Stone) – Jean Peters, the great star of Pickup on South Street (1953), is the leading lady of Joseph Cotten, supported by Gary Merrill and Jack Kruschen.

The Hitch-Hiker (1953, dir. Ida Lupino) – Lupino was the major female director in Hollywood in the 50s, so this noir (starring Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy and William Talman) is worth watching just for that fact.

Inferno (1953, dir. Roy Ward Baker) – I’m not sure if you can ever really have a film noir in Technicolor (although the photo is B&W), but this one is. Robert Ryan, as adept at noir villainy as heroism, plays alongside flame-haired bombshell Rhonda Fleming (b. 1923).

A Life at Stake (1954, dir. Paul Guilfoyle) – Everyone’s favorite sleuth or grandma, Angela Lansbury (b. 1925), is the beautiful young femme fatale in this noir co-starring Keith Andes, Douglass Dumbrille, Claudia Barrett (b. 1929) and Jane Darwell.

Pushover (1954, dir. Richard Quine) – Kim Novak (b. 1933) and Dorothy Malone (b. 1925) are the gorgeous girls in this Fred MacMurray-starring noir.

House of Bamboo (1955, dir. Samuel Fuller) – Another color noir, this time shot by noir master Sam Fuller, the Tokyo-set action stars Robert Ryan, Robert Stack, Shirley Yamaguchi (b. 1920), Cameron Mitchell, Brad Dexter and the legendary Sessue Hayakawa. Harry Carey Jr. and DeForest Kelley appear in uncredited roles.

Shack Out on 101 (1955, dir. Edward Dein) – Terry Moore (b. 1929) plays that most noirish of noir careers, a waitress, along with well-known cinematic faces like Frank Lovejoy, Keenan Wynn, Lee Marvin, Whit Bissell and Len Lesser (forty years later Lesser would be Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo).

Have a Film Noir Summer

My strongest memories of watching classic film noir are always connected to summer. There’s something about watching noir on a hot night, even if you have air conditioning on, that’s so much more effective than if you were watching during a milder or colder season. Here are five films which are essential to understanding the genre and which would be lots of fun on a summer night.

The Maltese Falcon (1941, dir. John Huston) – starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Lee Patrick, Sydney Greenstreet; Elisha Cook, Jr.

This is the movie that got the category of “film noir” started. Bogie established his stardom as tough detective Sam Spade.

Double Indemnity (1944, dir. Billy Wilder) – starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson

Wilder mastered many genres, but this foray into noir is as much of a masterpiece as Sunset Blvd. and Some Like It Hot. Stanwyck received a much-deserved Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of an ice-cold femme fatale.

The Big Sleep (1946, dir. Howard Hawks) – starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Martha Vickers, Dorothy Malone, Regis Toomey; Elisha Cook, Jr.

This is the best collaboration between Bogart and Bacall, based on Raymond Chandler’s excellent novel of the same name. The novel is certainly worth reading but the film is necessary for any lover of great cinema.

Key Largo (1948, dir. John Huston) – starring Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore, Claire Trevor

This one feels especially appropriate now because New York City is experiencing the tail end of a tropical storm. Set in the claustrophobic trappings of a Florida hotel during a hurricane, Claire Trevor won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as gangster Edward G. Robinson’s alcoholic girlfriend.

Pickup on South Street (1953, dir. Samuel Fuller) – starring Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter

Perhaps the ultimate sweaty summer noir, this taut little drama (1 hour and 20 minutes long) takes place over only 48 hours, making every punchy line count. Anyone who has taken the train in NYC during rush hour and/or during the summer will appreciate the film’s opening scene in the subway.