It's crime and grime as film noir festival returns

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Peoria’s sixth annual Film Noir Festival this month features 10 movies on six nights at three locations.

The fest starts at the Peoria Public Library’s Downtown Auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 14 with a free showing of 1930’s early talkie “M,” starring Peter Lorre in a breakthrough role.

The local festival celebrating film noir (“dark movies,” a term for the distinctive cinema style marked by stark lighting, brooding plots, grimy settings and world-weary characters) then moves to the nonprofit Apollo Theater for four nights of crime-drama double features, each with a guest speaker commenting on the motion pictures–

* Wednesday, Oct. 15: “I Am A Fugitive from a Chain Gang” (1932), starring Paul Muni in a gritty Depression-era tale, and “Asphalt Jungle” (1950), starring Sterling Hayden in a post-World War II caper movie. Journalist and Western Illinois University professor Bill Knight comments;

* Thursday, Oct. 16: Alfred Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943), starring Joseph Cotton, and “His Kind of Woman” (1951), with Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell in a story of betrayal. Journalist and radio host Steve Tarter comments.

* Friday, Oct. 17: “The Lady from Shanghai” (1947), written and directed by Orson Welles, who co-stars with Rita Hayworth, and “The Damned Don’t Cry” (1950), starring Joan Crawford. Historian and author Norm Kelly comments.

* Saturday, Oct. 18: “Kiss of Death” (1947), starring Victor Mature and Richard Widmark in a bleak yarn of murder and double crossing, and “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), Billy Wilder’s sinister cinema starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson in a “backstage melodrama” about Hollywood. Illinois Central College professor Craig Shurtleff comments.

On Friday, Oct. 24, the fest moves to Illinois Central College North, where the film society Reel to Real will screen 1958’s “Touch of Evil,” starring Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietrich in a plot about kidnapping and corruption south of the border.

The suggested donation at both the Apollo and Reel to Real’s ICC-North show is $5 and $4 for kids, students and seniors. For details call (309) 673-4343.