Film noir this August includes classic Detour and films by French master Jean-Pierre Melville

A scene from the noir classic Detour.

Who’s thinking about crime in August? Fans of film noir, that’s who.

Each summer, Vancouver’s premiere arthouse The Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.) presents its annual Film Noir series. This year’s runs from Aug. 1-22 and features the first major restoration of Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1945 classic Detour, a new restoration of Robert Siodmak’s The Killers (1946), and two pictures, both also newly restored, by Ida Lupino. The actress/filmmaker was the only woman to direct noir in the classic period.

Along with the series, the arthouse theatre is featuring a special retrospective of films by French noir master Jean-Pierre Melville. See below for more highlights.

The films in the noir series include:

Detour (1945)—Often cited as the greatest B-movie ever made, Edgar G. Ulmer’s legendary no-budget noir is presented in a new and meticulous restoration.

The Killers (1946)—Robert Siodmak’s The Killers is a master class in the criminality, corruption, and cynicism of the noir universe. New restoration.

This Gun for Hire (1942)—Based on Graham Greene’s novel and set in San Francisco, this wartime thriller is one of the foundational films noir. 35mm print.

Scarlet Street (1945)— Originally banned in several U.S. jurisdictions as indecent and immoral, the Fritz Lang film stars Edward G. Robinson as an unhappily married hobby painter who becomes infatuated with seductive bad girl Kitty March (Joan Bennett).

The Hitch-Hiker (1953)—One of two films in the series directed by actress Ida Lupino, The Hitch-Hiker is about two fishing buddies who pick up a mysterious hitch-hiker. New restoration.

A scene from The Hitch-Hiker.

The Bigamist (1953)—Lupino’s follow-up to The High-Hiker is a hybrid of noir and melodrama. New restoration.

Mildred Pierce (1945)—Joan Crawford gives an iconic performance in this mix of moody film noir and glossy “woman’s picture” based on a novel by James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice). New restoration.

Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce.

The Big Heat (1953)—Another Lang film, this one features Gloria Grahame and is credited with raising screen violence to new heights.

Woman on the Run (1950)—According to the, “More than one film noir expert has hailed this almost-forgotten B-movie as a gem deserving of more attention and love.” New restoration.

Too Late for Tears (aka Killer Bait) (1949)—Noir fixture Lizabeth Scott plays a femme-fatale housewife in this long-unseen thriller that has been called a “black-hearted homage to James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler … [with] one of the juiciest female villains in Hollywood history” ( New restoration.

The half-dozen Melville films include four that fit within the noir genre, including Le Samouraï, Bob le flambeur (Bob the Gambler), Le doulos (The Finger Man), and Le cercle rouge (The Red Circle). The other two—Léon Morin, Priest (1961) and Army of Shadows (1969)—are set in Nazi-occupied France.

With the exception of Le Samouraï, screening from an imported 35mm print, all films will be presented in digital restorations created for Melville’s centenary in 2017.

The joint Film Noir and Melville Opening Night will feature complimentary wine and cheese generously provided by the Consulate General of France in Vancouver, and music by Vancouver-based DJ Niña Mendoza. The Melville retrospective is presented in partnership with Institut français.

The joint opening night of the noir and Melville series takes place Thursday Aug. 1, and features Vancouver-based DJ Niña Mendoza.

Film Noir + Jean-Pierre Melville: Master of French Noir
Thursday, August 1
6 p.m. – Reception + Music by Niña Mendoza
7 p.m. – Detour (Film Noir)
8:40 p.m. – Le Samouraï (Jean-Pierre Melville)

For ticket and screening info visit

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