Film Noir and Neo Noir on TCM: December 2015

*All times are PST. Please check the Turner Classics Movie website to confirm dates and times or additional programming information.

Wednesday, December 2, 2:30PM

MADELINE (1950): Madeleine Smith (Ann Todd), a beautiful Glasgow socialite stood trial in 1857 for the murder of her lover, Emile L'Angelier who had attempted to blackmail her into marriage. Her trial was much publicized in the newspapers of the day and was labeled "the trial of the century." Dir. David Lean

Thursday, December 3, 5:00 PM

LURED (1947): In this period noir, Scotland Yard enlists the help of brassy American dancer Sandra (Lucille Ball) to find and trap the serial killer responsible for her friend's murder. The victim was quitting the dance hall because she was going off with a man she met through a personal advertisement. Through the personals, Sandra meets an eccentric artist (Boris Karloff) and a charming playboy (George Sanders). Is one of them the killer? Dir. Douglas Sirk

Friday, December 4, 12:00 AM

MAN HUNT (1941): In this suspenseful noir based on Geoffrey Household's novel Rogue Male, the Gestapo hunts down a sportsman (Walter Pidgeon) after he accidentally stumbles across Hitler's secret residence. He finds an unlikely ally in a lovely Cockney girl (Joan Bennett). Dir. Fritz Lang

Saturday, December 5, 5:00 PM

SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950): Film Noir meets Hollywood Gothic meets biting satire in this piece of perfection. A failed, and drowned, screenwriter, William Holden, tells us how he fell into a mercenary romance with a faded silent-film star, Gloria Swanson, who probably would have told us a rather different story. Admirable support provided Erich von Stroheim as Max, her devoted butler and chauffer. Dir. Billy Wilder

Saturday, December 5, 9:00 PM

IN A LONELY PLACE (1950): This heartbreaking noir revolves around an alcoholic screenwriter (Humphrey Bogart) and the woman who loves him but fears he may be a murder (Gloria Grahame). This film is both a bitter commentary on Hollywood and on the impossibility of romance. Very loosely based on Dorothy B. Hughes's novel—an intense thriller and examination of post-WWII misogyny. Dir. Nicholas Ray

Tuesday, December 8, 1:30 PM

THE CRIMSON KIMONO Two cops, and former war buddies (Glenn Corbett and James Shigeta), investigate the shooting of a stripper in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo. Conflict arises between the two when they both fall for the same girl (Victoria Shaw), a key witness in the case. Dir. Sam Fuller

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 7:30 PM—11:45 PM

Screenwriter Ernest Lehman Noir Double Bill

7:30 PM

SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957): A desperate press agent (Tony Curtis) stoops to new depths to help an egotistical columnist (Burt Lancaster) in an emotionally repugnant, but brilliant, performance, break up his sister's romance. Suitably noirish cinematography by James Wong Howe and an acidic script by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman combine with an excellent cast to deliver a remarkable film. Dir. Alexander Mackendrick

9:15 PM

NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959): Foreign agents mistake suave and swinging advertising man Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) for a spy. He takes it on the lam and encounters a beautiful blonde (Eva Marie Saint) who may or may not be trusted. This film earned 3 Oscar nominations: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color; Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen; and Best Film Editing Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 3:30 AM—5:00 PM

TCM Salutes Birthday Boy Kirk Douglas

Here are the noirs...

3:30 AM

THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS (1946): Years after a murder drove them apart, an heiress (Barbara Stanwyck) tries to win back her lost love, Sam Masterson (Van Heflin). Her scion husband (Kirk Douglas), a four-star sot, objects. Lizbeth Scott plays the down on her luck girl that falls for Sam and further complicates things. Dir. Lewis Milestone

5:30 AM

OUT OF THE PAST 1947): In this quintessential film noir, small town gas station owner Jeff Bailey's (Robert Mitchum) past catches up with him when a stranger passing through town recognizes him. He tells his girlfriend Ann Miller (Virginia Huston) about his previous via flashback, of course. Jeff was a private eye falls for the gangster's moll (Jane Greer) that he's supposed to find for her lover Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas). She's allegedly stolen $40,000 from Whit and he wants her and the dough back. As in all good noirs, nothing is really as it seems. Watch for future noir siren Rhonda Fleming as a duplicitous secretary. Based on Geoffrey Homes' excellent pulp novel Build My Gallows High and shot by legendary cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca. Dir. Jacques Tourneur

9:00 AM

YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN (1950): In this noir musical, Smoke Willoughby (Hoagy Carmichael) reminisces about his friend Rick Martin (Kirk Douglas). Aspiring jazz trumpeter Rick is torn between an honest singer (Doris Day) and a narcissistic, and possibly lesbian, heiress played by Lauren Bacall in an unusually unsympathetic role. Fame, fortune, grief and madness follow. Script writers Carl Foreman and Edmund H. North adapted Dorothy Baker's book which in turn was inspired by Jazz legend's Bix Beiderbecke's musical life. Harry James supplied Douglas' trumpet solos. Dir. Michael Curtiz

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 10:45 PM—4:30 AM

Frank Sinatra Dark
Triple Bill

10:45 PM

THE DETECTIVE (1968): Based on the Roderick Thorp novel, a New York cop (Frank Sinatra) uncovers a world of sex, drugs and corruption as he investigates the murder of the gay man, the son of a politically connected department store magnate. Dir. Gordon Douglas

1:00 AM

THE FIRST DEADLY SIN (1980): New York police sergeant Edward Delaney (Frank Sinatra) tries to catch a serial killer while dealing with the worsening health of his wife (Faye Dunaway). Sinatra won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Delaney. Based on the novel by Lawrence Sanders. Dir. Brian G. Hutton

3:00 AM

SUDDENLY (1954): A gun hating war widow (Nancy Gates) finds her family and herself at the mercy or a ruthless hit man (Frank Sinatra). It seems that her house would be the perfect spot for his current job, assassinating the U. S. president who will be passing through her small town. Can the town's sheriff, and her ex-boyfriend, (Sterling Hayden) save them? Dir. Lewis Allen

Saturday, December 12, 3:15 PM

SUSPICION (1941): A handsome gambler Johnny Aysgarth (Cary Grant) pursues the shy and wealthy Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine). He courts and marries her. After the honeymoon she discovers unsettling things about his character. She becomes increasingly suspicious of him when Johnny's friend and business partner, Beaky (Nigel Bruce) dies mysteriously. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

Sunday, Dec. 13, 5:00 PM—10:00 PM

Christmas Mysteries
Triple Feature

5:00 PM

LADY ON A TRAIN (1945): Nikki Collins (Deanna Durbin) witnesses a murder while waiting for a train, but can't get the police to believe her when no body is discovered. While they dismiss her as daft, she enlists the help of a mystery writer to sleuth out the culprits on her own. Based on a story by veteran mystery writer Leslie Charteris (The Saint), this is a wildly entertaining mix of comedy, musical, and suspense, rendered in evocative noir style by cameraman Woody Bredell (Phantom Lady, Christmas Holiday, The Killers), and featuring a superb cast of sinister and suspicious supporting players swirling ominously around "America's Sweetheart, including noir stalwart Dan Duryea. Dir. Charles David

6:45 PM

ALIAS BOSTON BLACKIE (1942): In Boston Blackie's third big screen adventure for Columbia, the reformed safe-cracker (Richard Dix) persuades a musical troupe to perform a special Christmas show at his former residence, the state penitentiary. An opportunistic convict takes advantage of the performers' arrival to escape. Dir. Lew Landers

8:00 PM

LADY IN THE LAKE (1947): A lady editor (Audrey Totter) hires Phillip Marlowe to investigate the disappearance of her boss' wife. First time director Robert Montgomery, who also starred as Marlowe, chose to shoot the entire film from Marlowe's POV using a subjective camera in order to replicate visually Raymond Chandler's first person narrative from the novel. Dir. Robert Montgomery

Wednesday, Dec.16, 9:30 PM—5 PM

Courtroom Noir
Triple Feature

9:30 AM

WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1958): A British lawyer (Charles Laughton) gets caught up in a couple's tangled marital affairs when he defends the husband for murder. Laughton's wife Elsa Lanchester plays the nurse trying to keep him on his diet and off the cigars and brandy. This first rate film features both one of Tyrone Power's and one of Marlene Dietrich's best performances Based on the play written by Agatha Christie, adapted from her own short story. Dir. Billy Wilder

11:45 AM

I WANT TO LIVE (1958): Susan Hayward deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar for her bravura performance as Barbara Grahame, a former prostitute and drug addict, executed for murder. Hayward perfectly captures a possibly innocent woman convicted more for her lifestyle than evidence. Dir. Robert Wise

2:00 PM

ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959): In this drily witty courtroom drama, based on real events, a small-town lawyer (James Stewart) more interested in fishing and playing the piano then practicing law gets the case of a lifetime when he defends a soldier (Ben Gazzara) accused of murdering the man who beat and raped his flirtatious wife (Lee Remick). Eve Arden once again does a lot with a small part as his long suffering secretary. Duke Ellington composed the jazz score. Dir. Otto Preminger

Tuesday, Dec. 22, 3:00 AM—5 PM

Hitchcock Mini-Marathon

3:00 AM

MR. AND MRS. SMITH (1941): The Master of Suspense's only foray into screwball comedy concerns a contentious married couple (Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery) who find out that after three years of marital non-bliss that they aren't legally married. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

4:45 AM

UNDER CAPRICORN (1949): In this Australian set period piece, Sam Fluseky (Joseph Cotton) visits his beautiful and unhappily married cousin (Ingrid Bergman). He helps her quit drinking and in doing so unleashes a storm of jealousy and secrets. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

6:45 AM

STAGE FRIGHT (1950): Jane Wyman maybe the star of the film, but Marlene Dietrich walks away with it. Wyman plays a mousey RADA student out to clear her crush, Jonathan (Richard Todd) suspected of murdering the husband of a glamorous actress-singer (Dietrich). Things get complicated when she falls for the detective, "Ordinary" Smith (Michael Wilding) who is searching for Jonathan. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

8:45 AM

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN 1951): Childlike but charming psychopath Bruno (Robert Walker) suggests that he and Guy (Farley Granger), a tennis player with political ambitions, crisscross murders. Unfortunately, Guy realizes too late that Bruno wasn't joking. Guy's unwanted wife shows up murdered and he has no alibi. Screenplay by Raymond Chandler and Czenzi Ormonde. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

10:30 AM

DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954): A man (Ray Milland) hires a friend to murder his wealthy wife (Grace Kelly). His plan goes awry when she stabs the would-be-murderer. Then he decides he can still get rid of her, by eroding erode her self-defense claim. Her ex-lover (Robert Cummings) tries to save her. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

12:30 PM

THE WRONG MAN (1956): In this gritty documentary style noir, victims of a robbery misidentify a musician (Henry Fonda) for the culprit, destroying the lives of him and his wife (Vera Miles). This film was based on the true story of Manny Ballestro and used extensive locations shooting in New York City. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

2:30 PM

NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959): Foreign agents mistake suave and swinging advertising man Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) for a spy. He takes it on the lam and encounters a beautiful blonde (Eva Marie Saint) who may or may not be trusted. This film earned 3 Oscar nominations: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color; Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen; and Best Film Editing Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

Saturday, December 26, 5:00 AM

THE LETTER (1940): Bette Davis gives a masterful performance as a married woman claiming self-defense in the murder of a fellow Britisher on her husband's rubber plantation in Malay. This succeeds both as a film noir and an incisive look into colonialism. Herbert Marshall gives a deeply empathetic performance as the loving husband. Watch for Victor Sen Yung as a solicitous lawyer's clerk. Dir. William Wyler

Sunday, December 27, 9:00 AM

WAIT UNTIL DARK (1967): A commercial artist unknowingly brings a stash of heroin into his home. A trio of bad guys (Richard Crenna, Jack Weston and Alan Arkin) trace the dope to him. They trick him into leaving the house, but, unfortunately, his blind wife (Audrey Hepburn) is there alone. They proceed to first try to trick and then to terrorize her while she tries to figure out how to turn the tables on her unknown assailants. Hepburn earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her remarkable performance. Adapted from the Broadway hit written by Fredrick Knott and directed by Arthur Penn. Dir. Terence Young

Tuesday, December 29, 7:15 PM

TOO LATE FOR TEARS (1949): For many years, all 35mm prints of Too Late for Tears (1949) were believed lost, but through the determined efforts of the Film Noir Foundation, sufficient original material has been discovered to enable a restoration, performed under the auspices of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Based on a novel by future television titan Roy Huggins, and featuring Huggins' own brilliant screenplay, the film is a neglected masterpiece of noir, awaiting rediscovery. A suburban housewife (Lizabeth Scott) decides to keep a satchel of money accidentally tossed into her convertible, against the wishes of her husband (Van Heflin). Dan Duryea plays the intended recipient of the cash and he's not into sharing. The result? Mayhem and murder. Dir. Byron Haskin

Tuesday, December 29, 11:00 PM

KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952): Ex-con and floral delivery man Joe Rolfe (John Payne), journeys to Mexico to hunt down the gang of thieves that framed him for robbery and murder. The trio of baddies is superb: Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam. Dir. Phil Karlson

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thin Man Marathon

Ring in the New Year with Nick and Nora

5:00 PM

THE THIN MAN (1934): Dashiell Hammett's urbane but fun loving sleuths Nick and Nora Charles, along with their pup Asta, investigate the disappearance of an inventor in this classic blend of laughs and suspense. Shot in just two weeks by director Woody "One-Shot'' Van Dyke and cinematographer James Wong Howe, this gem set the gold standard for the sophisticated comedy—inspiring five sequels as well as countless inferior imitations. Van Dyke previously directed Myrna Loy and William Powell in Manhattan Melodrama and spotted the terrific chemistry of their off screen banter between takes. He insisted on casting the pair as Hammett's hard-drinking super-couple and the glamorous pair became one of the movies' great romantic teams. Dir. Woody Van Dyke

6:45 PM

AFTER THE THIN MAN (1936): In this delightful follow up to The Thin Man, Nick (William Powell) and Nora (Myrna Loy) return to their home in San Francisco determined to rest up from their previous New York adventures, but Nora's snooty family unintentionally embroils them in a murder mystery. Joseph Calleia, Sam Levene, George Zucco and a young Jimmy Stewart add to the fun. Dir. W. S. Van Dyke

8:45 PM

ANOTHER THIN MAN (1939): Another fun outing with hard drinking husband and wife team Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) and their faithful companion Asta. This time their son Nicky, Jr. is along for the ride. In this third installment of the series, Nick and Nora venture out to Long Island to aid Nora's former business manager Colonel MacFay (C. Aubrey Smith). An old enemy of the Colonel's, the mysterious Mr. Church (Sheldon Leonard), claims that he's seen MacFay die in a dream and has come to watch his premonition come true. It does and the police quickly suspect him of McFey's murder. However, the Charleses soon find McFey was surrounded by quite a few people who benefited from his death. Based loosely on one of Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op stories, "The Farewell Murder". Dir. W S Van Dyke II.

10:45 PM

SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN (1941): Dashiell Hammett's hard drinking power couple Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) return for their fourth outing in MGM's sophisticated and witty whodunit series. This time, the pair investigates a murder at a racetrack with the help of their son Nick, Jr. and faithful wirehaired terrier Asta. Dir. W. S. Van Dyke II

12:30 AM

THE THIN MAN GOES HOME (1945): Nick Charles (William Powell) takes Nora (Myrna Loy) and Asta to his hometown of Sycamore Springs to visit his parents and celebrate his birthday. A murder and espionage soon disrupt their holiday and Nora's plans to buy Nick the perfect gift. Dir. Richard Thorpe

2:15 AM

SONG OF THE THIN MAN (1947): This was the last outing for Nick (William Powell), Nora (Myrna Loy) and Asta Charles, they investigate the shooting of a band leader in New York. Gloria Grahame plays a sultry jazz singer whose romantic missteps lead to death, another foreshadowing of her career in noir. Dir. Edward Buzzell

Anne Todd stars in David Lean's Madeline on December 2;

Lucille Ball meets up with Boris Karloff in Lured on December 3;

Joan Bennett and Walter Pidgeon in Fritz Lang's Man Hunt on December 4;

Gloria Swanson in the performance of a lifetime in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard on December 5;

Humphrey Bogart in Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place on December 5;

James Shigeta and Victoria Shaw break tabus in The Crimson Kimono on December 8;

Tony Curtis + James Wong Howe's spectacular cinematography in The Sweet Smell of Success on December 8;

Van Heflin, Barbara Stanwyck, and Kirk Douglas in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers on December 9;

Frank Sinatra and Faye Dunaway in The First Deadly Sin on December 9;

Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine in Hitchcock's Suspicion on December 12;

Noir-favorite Dan Duryea and Deanna Durbin together in Lady on a Train on December 13;

Lee Remick in Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder on December 16;

Farley Granger and Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train as part of a Hitchcock marathon on December 22;

Gale Sondergaard and Bette Davis in The Letter on December 26;

Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin in Wait Until Dark on December 27;

Lizbeth Scott and Dan Duryea in the FNF-restored Too Late for Tears on December 29;

John Payne vis-à-vis Jack Elam in Kansas City Confidential on December 29;

Nick & Nora in a Thin Man marathon on New Year's Eve.

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