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A Hat, A Coat and A Gun: Philip Marlowe, Film Noir’s Private Detective


Saturdays in March at 8:00 PM

A Hat, A Coat and A Gun: Philip Marlowe, Film Noir’s Private Detective

“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”—Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

No one could adorn metaphors in urban neon like Raymond Chandler. The improbable Chicagoan was a former oil company executive who, despite his relentless drinking, wielded a pen that dripped brilliant prose. Chandler’s writing consecrated Los Angeles as a city of sun-drenched streets and political corruption, a place where the angels and the devils became indistinguishable from one another. Philip Marlowe didn’t make his literary debut until Chandler’s first novel, The Big Sleep in 1939. Marlowe exemplified toughness without malevolence; he had street cool that was erudition with brass knuckles. The Philip Marlowe persona evolved into standard issue for cinematic detectives in an era before anyone heard of film noir. Hosted and programmed by Alan Rode.

March 1st - 1:00 PM

Murder My Sweet

Dick Powell’s scintillating performance as Philip Marlowe in this adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely, reinvented his screen persona and helped usher in an era of dark-shaded film noirs at RKO Studios. The mysterious search for Moose Mulloy’s (Mike Mazurki) girlfriend becomes a Cook’s tour of L.A’s underbelly as Marlowe cracks wise while alternately being schmoozed, suckered and sapped. The great Claire Trevor matches Powell with a template femme fatale turn along with Anne Shirley, Otto Kruger, and Miles Mander. Brilliantly helmed by Edward Dmytryk and lensed by Harry J. Wild, this is the one that set the standard for all other Marlowe films.
Dir. Edward Dmytryk, 1944, 35mm, 95 min.
Tickets - $10

March 8th - 8:00 PM

The Big Sleep

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Nuff said, but there is much more. This convoluted tale is held together by the most tortuous plot ever. Contacted by WB while on holiday, Raymond Chandler couldn’t remember who the murderer was! With the star power of the two leads, the bare-knuckled palaver by William Faulkner and Leigh Brackett and magnificent staging by director Howard Hawks, this may be the most definitive version of Chandler’s work on screen. With the perversely sexy Martha Vickers, eternal noir schlemiel Elisha Cook Jr., and the vicious Bob Steele. Don’t miss this enduring classic on the big screen!
Dir. Howard Hawks, 1946, 35mm, 116 min.
Tickets - $10

March 15th - 8:00 PM

Lady in the Lake

Robert Montgomery offers his definition of Philip Marlowe from an unusual first-person camera perspective via Steve Fisher’s screen adaptation of Chandler’s novel of the same title. While star-director Montgomery more than holds his own as a dyspeptic Philip Marlowe, the principal attributes of this Metro production are extraordinary work by delectable Audrey Totter--she gave a thumb’s down to Mark Hellinger’s The Killers in order to work in this film--and one of the most authentic coppers of cinematic law enforcement, the great Lloyd Nolan. This underrated send-up is enthralling, superbly crafted entertainment.
Dir. Robert Montgomery, 1947, 35mm, 105 min.
Tickets - $10

March 29th - 8:00 PM

The Brasher Doubloon

This is a beautifully mounted adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel The High Window. George Montgomery is Philip Marlowe with Gene Tierney look-alike Nancy Guild as the damsel-in distress. The theft of a rare coin lures Marlowe through the underbelly of Los Angeles into a tangled web of blackmail and murder. The film offers dark, atmospheric photography by John Brahm with an ace supporting cast of Conrad Janis, Florence Bates, Marvin Miller and Roy Roberts. This movie, the rarest cinematic version of Chandler’s work, is not on DVD and almost never screened theatrically. See it only at the Silent Movie Theatre!
Dir. Robert Brahm, 1947, 35mm, 72 min.
Tickets - $10



Film Noir