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Podcast Episode 134: TCM’s Eddie Muller On All Things Noir

TCM Noir Alley host talks about femme fatales, hardboiled fiction, and Noir City Festival

Photo caption:

Photo credit: TCM

Eddie Muller is the host of TCM's Noir Alley and author of numerous books on film noir. His Noir City Film Festival kicks off Jan. 26 at the Castro Theater in San Francisco.

Episode 134: TCM's Eddie Muller On All Things Noir

Eddie Muller, host of TCM's Noir Alley and founder/president of the Film Noir Foundation talks about his Noir City Festival that's coming up, the literary roots of noir, and femme fatales versus female agency. And find out what really defines film noir.

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Noirchaelogist, Czar of noir, host of TCM's Noir Alley, founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation... whatever title you want to refer to him by, Eddie Muller is simply the man to go to when you want to know anything about film noir.

This year as one of the programmers for Film Geeks SD I am co-presenting Noir on the Boulevard at Digital Gym Cinema. This will be a 19-film program of classic and neo-noir with an emphasis on films based on books. So, what better way to kick off the New Year and the new year-long film series than by talking to Eddie Muller about all things noir?

As host of TCM’s Noir Alley, he presents classic noir every Sunday morning, like church services for cinephiles. He is also author of numerous books including the seminal "Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir," "The Art of Noir: The Posters and Graphics from the Classic Era of Film Noir," "Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir," and "Gun Crazy: The Origin of Outlaw Cinema."

In addition he is founder and president of The Film Noir Foundation and oversees/hosts Noir City, a film festival enjoying its 16th year and kicking off Jan. 26 at The Castro Theater in San Francisco.

He describes the festival as "Film noir A to B, 1941 to 1953. A dozen double bills, classy As and trashy Bs."

Film noir, a label conceived by French film critics (it literally translates as "black film"), addressed a style of filmmaking that developed during and after World War II. It had its roots in the hardboiled crime fiction of writers such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain. It was unafraid to address dark themes and even the darker motives of characters inhabiting America's underbelly.

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Photo credit: Warner Brothers

Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Humphrey Bogart are all interested in finding "the black bird" in the 1941 film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon."

"The Maltese Falcon" (1941) is often cited as the film that set the trend in motion. Actors like Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum and John Garfield typified the anti-heroes at the center of many of these stories while Barbara Stanwyck, Jane Greer and Rita Hayworth were often the femme fatales that brought the men down.

For this podcast Muller discusses the rare gems that will screen at his Noir City later this month, gives a primer on what noir is, and talks about the writers who helped define noir. Muller will be coming down to San Diego to host one of the Noir on the Boulevard screenings (tentatively "This Gun for Hire" on March 11).

So get out from behind the 8 ball, refuse that Chicago overcoat (and a wooden kimono for that matter), throw back some eel juice, and find yourself a butter and egg man before settling in to listen to this podcast. (For a translation of what I just wrote, check out this Glossary of Hard-Boiled Slang).

Also look for more information about the Film Geeks SD Noir Book of the Month Club.


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Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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