Indulge in some crime-themed cinema this September with the Film Noir season of Vintage Sundays at Picturehouse Cinemas!
Each Sunday, Cinema City brings classic films back on the big screen where they belong. Starting on 8 September, you can dive into the dark heart of Hollywood with five classics from the likes of Orson Welles and Billy Wilder.
Billy Wilder’s paradigmatic film set the template for the genre when first released in 1944. Insurance man Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) schemes the perfect murder with the beautiful wife of one of his clients (Barbara Stanwyck): kill her husband and make off with the insurance money. But Walter’s colleague (Edward G. Robinson) – a shrewd insurance investigator – has a feeling that not all is as it seems with the widow’s claim.
Humphrey Bogart delivers one of his best performances in Nicholas Ray’s hard-boiled, LA-set thriller. Dixon Steele (Bogart), a moody, volatile Hollywood screenwriter who’s had his heyday, is accused of murdering a coat check girl from a showbiz restaurant. Laurel (Gloria Grahame), an actress who lives in Dixon’s apartment complex, provides an alibi for her neighbour when questioned by the police, and the pair start a relationship. But the chief of police is unconvinced of Dixon’s innocence and, after learning of his violent past, Laurel begins to question if she is putting herself in danger by staying with him.
Director Robert Siodmak brings Ernest Hemingway’s gripping short story of robbery and betrayal to the big screen. Two hit men walk into a diner asking for a man called “the Swede” (Burt Lancaster). When the killers find the Swede, he’s expecting them and doesn’t put up a fight. Since the Swede had a life insurance policy, an investigator (Edmond O’Brien), on a hunch, decides to look into the murder. As the Swede’s past is laid bare, it comes to light that he was in love with a beautiful woman (Ava Gardner) who may have lured him into pulling off a bank robbery overseen by another man (Albert Dekker).
Beginning with perhaps the most celebrated tracking shot in history, Orson Welles’s bravura film noir is a shadowy tale of murder, malevolence and police corruption. When a car bomb explodes on the US-Mexican border, Mike Vargas (Heston), a Mexican official investigating drug trafficking, is drawn into the case. Vargas is convinced that American cop Hank Quinlan (Welles) is planting evidence to incriminate the prime suspect, and he becomes obsessed with exposing Quinlan as a rotten apple. Quinlan then seeks revenge by conspiring with gangsters, who terrorise Vargas’s wife Susan (Leigh). Welles gives a stunning performance as a man increasingly depleted of humanity, and his deliriously daring thriller with a dark emotional core is one of the greatest of its genre.
Celebrate September as Norwich’s ‘month of crime’ and the impending launch of Noirwich Crime Writing Festival with this exclusive event.
James Ellroy, aka the ‘Demon Dog of American Literature’, is best-known for books such as The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential and American Tabloid. His new novel, This Storm, is set in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbour and is a ‘frenetic mix of intrigue, corruption and racism, featuring a cast of communists, rogue cops and, of course, murder’ (The Guardian). We are thrilled to welcome him to Norwich for the first time to discuss his latest book, and his fascination with the criminal underbelly of mid-20 century Los Angeles.
Noirwich Season Pass holders: this event is not part of your Noirwich 2019 season pass. Please book separately. All season pass holders are entitled to a Season pass concessionary rate of £8 (applied at checkout).
‘Undeniably one of the most influential crime writers of our time.’ – The Times
‘Ellroy offers a grandiose, Wagnerian vision of wartime LA’ – Sunday Times
James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the acclaimed L.A. Quartet: The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential and White Jazz. His novel Blood’s A Rover completes the magisterial Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy – the first two volumes of which (American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand) were both Sunday Times bestsellers. His most recent novel, This Storm, is the next instalment in the Second L.A. Quartet.
Image (c) Marion Ettlinger
The Noirwich Crime Writing Festival returns this September with a new line-up of renowned crime writers. A limited number of Season Passes are now available, with individual event tickets to go on sale in June.
Headliners for 2019 include George Alagiah, Louise Doughty and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, each making their first appearance at Noirwich.
George Alagiah is best known as a journalist and broadcaster, easily recognisable from BBC News. This year he makes his crime fiction debut with The Burning Land, set in South Africa, with The Independent noting that “without rhetoric or rancour, his eloquent book places issues in their true context, and frames some of the major moral questions of our time.”
Louise Doughty is the award-winning author of nine novels, including the soon-to-be-published Platform Seven, and has written non-fiction and five plays for radio. Her book Apple Tree Yard was adapted for television in 2017.
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is an Icelandic writer of crime and children’s fiction. Her crime novels have been translated into English by Bernard Scudder, Philip Roughton and Victoria Cribb. We’re excited to be joined by Yrsa in Norwich for this year’s festival.
The Noirwich Crime Writing Festival takes places over four days in September. The full programme will be announced in June, with highlights to include James Runcie, Denise Mina, Lisa Jewell, Sarah Hilary, Martin Walker, Erin Kelly, Leye Adenle, Simone Buchholz, Laura Shepherd-Robinson and more.
Season passes are now available, providing you with access to all author events. Click here to secure your season pass!
Tickets for individual events will be available in June.
Arts Council England
Norwich City Council
Norfolk county council
Dead Good Books
Icelandic Literature Centre