It’s the holiday season, which means BBC2 will try and make the extra effort to make you spend these dark and allegedly fun-filled days as superb as possible. Personally, I have the fondest memories of the years they showed 50’s sci-fi movies and film noirs. There’s just nothing like watching Terror from the year 5000 or From Hell It Came at 3am. This year the Beeb will go back to this old and much loved tradition and will shown a series of noir movies during the Christmas nights.
The series kicks off tonight at 1.25am (British time) with the hour long documentary The Rules of Noir, followed by Max Ophuls‘s classic noir The Reckless Moment. And from then on, it’s one noir a night, which – in my humble opinion – will chase the doctor away as well as an apple does. Here’s the schedule:
24/12 – 01.25: The rules of noir
Bogey, Bacall and Mitchum play it tough as Matthew Sweet celebrates film noir.
24/12 – 02.25: The Reckless Moment
Classic film noir. A man blackmails a woman whose daughter accidentally killed her lover.
25/12 – 02.10: Gilda
A drifter travelling through South America embarks on a risky affair with a married woman. Charles Vidor directs Rita Hayworth in the role of her life.
27/12 – 01.50: Build My Gallows High
Classic 1940s American film noir by Jacques Tourneur which tells a grim, complex tale of love and betrayal. Private detective Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) falls for Kathie Moffett (Jane Greer), the mistress of mobster Whit Sterling, when the mobster hires him to track her down in Mexico after she shot Sterling and stole 40,000 pounds from him. When she double-crosses Bailey and returns to the gangster, the detective changes his identity and drops out of sight as a garage owner. Sterling still wants his money back, however, and he and the duplicitous Kathie plot to lure the Bailey into a vengeful scenario. This unmissable noir is also known as Out of the Past.
28/12 – 01.50: Farewell My Lovely
Film noir classic adapted from Raymond Chandler’s novel of the same name. Private eye Philip Marlowe is hired by ex-con Moose Malloy to find his girlfriend, embroiling the hard-boiled gumshoe in a plot which involves blackmail, murder, drugs and double cross. Edward Dmytryk directs.
29/12 – 01.40: Dead Reckoning
John Cromwell directs Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott in this mystery thriller about an ex-paratrooper who travels with his army buddy to Washington to be decorated for valour during World War II. His friend disappears from the train and the paratrooper, trying to find him, becomes caught in a tale of duplicity, intrigue and murder.
30/12 – 01.10: The Big Combo
Stylish film noir by Joseph H. Lewis about a police lieutenant, Leonard Diamond, who comes under pressure from a gang headed by a vicious thug. He is helped by the gangster’s wife, jealous at her husband’s affair with another woman, who supplies him with information to help him close the net on his foe. (Bonus: the torture scene was considered so graphic for 1955 standards the film was almost censored.)
31/12 – 00.55: On Dangerous Ground
Nicholas Ray‘s film noir about a tough cop sent to a small town, where he meets an affecting blind woman.
01/01 – 03.25: They Live By Night
Thriller by Nicholas Ray in which a naive young criminal (Farley Granger) falls in love with the woman who nurses him back to health after he is injured in a bank raid.
02/01 – 01.40: Crossfire
Edward Dmytryk‘s stark, claustrophobic thriller about racial intolerance. A detective lays a trap for an anti-Semitic soldier who murdered a Jewish war veteran. Robert Mitchum, Robert Young and Gloria Grahame star.
P.S. More of an Orson Welles fan? Then switch over to BBC Four, for lots of films and documentaries about the famous director.