Film Noir archivist Marc Dolezal presents :  
Danger & Despair's  
Thursday Night
on 16mm Film
  11 Fast and Furious Lost Films from Hollywood's Forgotten Poverty Row Studios!

Programmed by Paul Meienberg and Dark Marc.

April  17th   Saturday  7:30 pm

w/ Special guest   ARTHUR LYONS

     Two stories from author Cornell Woolrich

Don Castle asks, 'WHY ME?  in 'I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes' 

  We kick off our most ambitious series yet with two films taken from the work of one of the most intriguing writers in American literature, Cornell Woolrich. Best remembered for the stories behind Phantom Lady, Black Angel, Rear Window and others.  Woolrich-mania is on the rise and we are thrilled to run two rare Poverty Row examples of his writing in film.
  THE GUILTY       (1947)    from Monogram Studios  /  71 mins
  Directed by John Reinhardt  /  Photo’ed:  Henry Sharp
  w/ Don Castle, Bonita Granville, Regis Toomey, Wally Cassell  
  'The Guilty'  stars Don Castle and Regis Toomey as the wrongly accused protagonist and the cop who chases him. This time Castle and roommate Wally Cassell are dating a couple of hot twins both played by Poverty Row mainstay Bonita Granville. It’s the classic story of the “Good Girl / Bad Girl Twins” much like Robert Siodmak's The Dark Mirror. Comparing the two movies, film critic Bill MacVicar says "Of  the two, ‘The Guilty’ is the creepier, more haunting movie, taking a place of dubious honor amid the nether reaches of film noir.”   “Monogram's sub-basement adaptation of a Cornell Woolrich story.”  Don’t be GUILTY of missing this super rare film from the noir nether reaches!  

I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES       (1948)    Monogram Studios  /  71 mins


w/  Regis Toomey, Don Castle, Elyse Knox


Look out for the signpost ahead noir-heads, you are about to experience one of the rarest B films to be found anywhere in Dark City. This movie is so rare, that there are simply no copies available of it on VHS or DVD anywhere including our library! Another truly “lost noir” rarity is brought back to life through the efforts of the Thursday Night Screenings. 




author of ‘DEATH ON THE CHEAP: The Lost B Movies of Film Noir’

Nobody knows the Poverty Row Studios better than author Arthur Lyons, whose paperback on the subject has become something of a sensation. Art will be on hand, SATURDAY April 17, to answer questions and shed light on the conditions in Hollywood during the “Row” era and how we ended up with so many of these still to be discovered atmospheric thrillers. Lyons is the author of 19 books including 12 detective novels; his best known work, the Jacob Ashe series.

He is the director of the annual Palm Springs Film Noir Festival  -  June 3rd – 6th 2004.

  Website: .  
  Copies of ‘DEATH ON THE CHEAP’ will be available for sale for $15.00 (cash or check), with a signing by the author.  

THURSDAY  April 22nd     8:00 pm


VOICE IN THE WIND     (1944)    from Ripley/Monter Productions  / 85 mins.


Directed & Written:  Arthur Ripley  /  Photo’ed:  Richard Fryer


w/  Francis Lederer. Sigrie Gurie, J. Carroll Nash,  J. Edward Bromberg

  An emotional and moody story told in flashback about Jan Volny, a popular classical composer in Prague during the Nazi Invasion of Czechoslovakia. Volney, played by Francis Lederer, plans to perform a banned concerto in protest of the occupation, then to escape with his fiancé to Paris and on to the Caribbean island of Guadalupe. As can be expected in film noir, things don’t turn out as planned and the lovers get split up. Dark sets and shadowy photography set a sober tone as we follow Jan Volney in his search for his true love played by Sigrid Gurie known as “The Norwegian Garbo”. Although produced at PRC, distribution was done through United Artists which spent a considerable sum to upgrade the musical recording of a marvelous Bedrich Smetana symphony. ‘A Voice in the Wind’ received an Academy Award Nomination for ‘Best Musical Score’. Don’t miss this rare chance to see an underrated and unrecognized noir classic.  
  Series Programmer & Film Historian Paul Meienberg will introduce the film  
  THURSDAY  April 29th    8:00 pm
  THURSDAY  April 29th    8:00 pm

LIGHTHOUSE    (1947)    from Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC)  / 62 mins.

  Directed : Frank Wisbar  / Photo’ed: Walter Strenge  

w/  Don Castle, June Lang, John Litel & Marian Martin

  ATTENTION: Adults at Play!!! ‘Lighthouse’ is a story of a cabin-fevered love triangle left to smolder at Land’s End. Tensions mount as bad girl June Lang pits one man against the other in the claustrophobic confines of an isolated Lighthouse.  Jealously and obsession hold their ground as the menacing surf pounds away in another hot cheapie, this time from PRC.  Is there a beacon of hope here? Come and find out.  

JEALOUSY     (1945)    from  Republic Studios  /  71 mins.

  Directed: Gustav Machaty      /  Photo’ed: Henry Sharp  

Story:  Dalton Trumbo


w/ Jane Rudolph, John Loder, Karen Morley, Nils Asther & Hugo Haas

  From the ‘The Cadillac of the Poverty Row Studios”: Republic Pictures, comes this rarely seen thriller starring Jane Rudolph as Janet Urban, the wife of an alcoholic writer who takes a job as a taxi driver to make ends meet. When her husband ends up murdered, Janet and one of her fares become the chief suspects. Don’t miss an interesting story line from blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo.  
  THURSDAY  May 6th          8:00 pm  

THE FLAME           (1947)    from Republic Studios     /   97 mins.

  Directed: John Auer    (City That Never Sleeps, Hell’s Half Acre)  
  Photo’ed: Reggie Lanning  /    Story:  Lawrence Kimbal  
  w/ Vera Ralston, John Carroll, Robert Paige & Broderick Crawford  

Not all is well in Camelot where upper crust and aristocratic George McAllister (John Carroll) and Carlotta Duval (Vera Ralston) plot to kill McAllister’s wealthy brother Barry (Robert Paige) and inherit his fortune.  A good example of a device used in film noir, presenting the wealthy as deadly and dysfunctional.  At first it looks like the vicious duo’s plan may work, but things began to fall apart when “The Laws of the Jungle” come into play. ‘The Flame’ is loaded with German Expressionist styling and that unique soft focus photography for which Republic Pictures was famous for.  Highly Recommended.

  Marc Kagan will present notes on John Auer and the Actors in 'The Flame'.  
  THURSDAY  May  13th     8:00 pm  

Desperation Takes a Holiday -  2 San Francisco Noirs.


THE TREASURE OF MONTE CHRISTO   (1949)   from Lippert Pictures  /  76 mins.

  Directed: William Berke     (Dark Mountain, Betrayal From the East, Dick Tracy)  

Photo’ed: Benjamin H. Kline


w/ Glenn Langan, Adele Jergens, Steve Brodie & Bobby Jordan

  Paul Meienberg writes in the IMDb,  …  
  “One does not expect a whole lot from a Lippert feature but since noir enthusiasts are sifting through poverty row features to find new titles, they should check this one out. William Berke directed and Benjamin Kline lensed this competent, engaging crime actioner. Shot totally on location in San Francisco with plenty of night street scenes, the chase covers the Marina, the Filbert Street stairs on Telegraph Hill, the Embarcadero, downtown business area, the Tenderloin and Twin Peaks. Most Lippert films were produced in as little a five days, and rarely in over two weeks, This venture took eleven days but does not particularly look like a rush job. The stars Adele Jergens and Glenn Langan , a very handsome couple indeed, allegedly met and married about the time of filming. Steve Brodie fans will love his portrayal of a sleazy lawyer…..”  

NO ESCAPE   - a.k.a.  ‘CITY ON A HUNT’   (1953)   from United Artists  / 76 mins

  Directed & Written: Charles Bennett    (Sign of the Ram, Ivy, Where Danger Lives  
  Photo’ed: Benjamin H. Kline  
  w/ Lew Ayers, Marjorie Steele, Sonny Tufts & Miss Gertrude Michael  
  A police detective discovers that the evidence in an open homicide case points to his girlfriend. Hoping to save her from the gas chamber, he finds a loser piano player to frame for the crime. Only problem, the girl knows the target is innocent and sets out to help him prove it. Fantastic San Francisco location photography turns this super cheapie into an interesting film. No Escape was written and directed by Hitchcock scenarist Charles Bennett. There are remnants of a Hitchcockian chase diluted by plenty of dialog. Musical score, an interesting cast and oppressive atmosphere help to make this quite watchable. Not to be missed if you are looking for more SF Noir  
  THURSDAY  May 20th     8:00 pm  
  SUSPENSE      (1946)     from Monogram Pictures   /   101 min  
  Directed: Frank Tuttle      /  Photo’ed: Karl Struss  
  Story & Script:  Philip Yordan
  w/ Belita, Barry Sullivan, Albert Dekker, Bonita Granville  

Were there no boundaries to film noir in the 1940’s?  Maybe not as this ‘Ice Staking Noir’ so strangely illustrates. Starring Poverty Row’s answer to Sonja Henie, skater Maria Belita Gladys Lyne Jepson-Turner; simply known as “Belita”.

  Albert Dekker plays the impresario of an ‘On Ice’ review starring his stunning wife (Belita). When a lowly peanut vendor (Barry Sullivan) suggests a few good improvements for the show, he gets promoted to manager. It isn’t long before the sharp new manager and the lovely skating star become involved and we enter into,… drum roll please… Da-Da!  “The Noir Zone”!  Crosses, double-crosses and an unexpected resurrection make this unique ‘B’ film worth seeing. With some terrific skating scenes, fantastic lighting and eerie costumes. This was the biggest budget film ever for Monogram which later became Allied Artists.  
  David Robson  a Bay Area programmer and film historian will talk about the film.  


  THURSDAY  May 27th          8:00 pm  
  2 from the lens of John Alton   "It's not what you light - it's what you DON'T light."  
  Many fans of Film Noir consider Cinematographer John Alton the greatest cameraman of all time. His association with director Anthony Mann certainly produced many of the essential titles including ‘Raw Deal’, ‘T-Men, ‘Border Incident’, 'He Walked by Night’ and ‘Devil’s Doorway’. Other well known Alton noirs include; ‘The Spiritualist’, ‘Hollow Triumph’ and ‘The Black Book’. Two of Alton’s lesser known works are presented here. Both were shot before the Anthony Mann films.  
  BURY ME DEAD    (1947)      Eagle–Lion Films   /  68 mins  
  Directed: Bernard Vorhaus      /  Photo’ed: John Alton  
  Story & Script:  Dwight Babcock & Karen DeWolf  

w/ Cathy O’Donnell, Hugh Beaumont, June Lockhart. Mark Daniels


Barbara Carlin (June Lockhart) survives a deadly fire and suspects that her two-timing husband may have tried to kill her. Thought to have perished in the flames, she hides out in secret to trap her husband. When Barbara learns of her funeral, she attends the service in disguise.  But who’s in the casket?  Don’t miss one of the true jewels to come out of Poverty Row, with a terrific story line and of course the wonderful camera work of John Alton.

  THE MADONNA’S SECRET   (1946)    Republic Pictures   /   76  mins  

Directed: William Thiele      /  Photo’ed: John Alton

  Story & Script:  William Thiele & Bradbury Foote  
  w/ Francis Lederer, Gail Patrick, Ann Ruthford. Edward Ashley & Linda Stirling  

Paul Meienberg write this about Madonna’s Secret:

  Francis Lederer in one of his finest performances stars as a haunted artist who believes he might be responsible for the deaths of several of his models. While this film may have been inspired by Edgar Ulmer's  BLUEBEARD, the story goes down a different road and builds up to an entirely different and  shocking conclusion  

Plenty of female pulchritude in the cast : Ann Rutherford, Linda Stirling And the elegant Gail Patrick are all menaced by an unknown assailant. This must be emigre German director William Thiele's best American film, a moody and suspenseful work, rather unlike the light musical comedies he was best known for during the early 1930s in Germany. This film could easily pass as an "A" film from a major studio where he had been consigned to a dreadful series of programmers for the previous ten years. John Alton's low-key lensing aptly fits the brooding, macabre, moody nature of the film.

  Film Notes by Dark Marc & Paul Meienberg  

Paul Meienberg’s film reviews can be found at: 


He is a regular contributor to Films of the Golden Age, a quarterly publication devoted to classic films.  His latest article on film comedienne Alison Skipworth will be published in the 2004 Summer issue.

  Paul, a respected film collector, was a contributing programmer for the Roxie Theatre in San Francisco for many years. He has recently published a web site devoted to stage & film legend Olga Baclanova:  and is an authority on Pre-Code & Noir cult star Gertrude Michael.  
  Stay in touch with The Thursday Night Screenings at:  
  Location for this event to be announced soon.  Email for a seat reservation:  
  Free Admission by reservation:     
or call  415 552-1533  for a seat reservation    
Downtown San Francisco
  Come early for a drink - Enjoy Our No Host Bar
  Start your weekend countdown on Thursday night!
  Saturday April 17th
  Doors open 6:30 pm - Film at 7:30 pm
  All other films
  Doors open at 7:00 pm  -  Films at 8:00 pm
  The series is programmed & hosted by :   
Paul Meienberg  &  Dark Marc
Series Directors: 
Abby Staeble & Daniela Powers
Couldn't do it without: 
Roma Dolezal, Ilene Shapiro, Allen Petrich,  Lance Carnes                                   
  Eddie Sudol, Edward Dickey, Marc Kagan, Ted Whipple & Ron Rich
Sponsored by the Danger & Despair Knitting Circle  -

We recommend The Umbria Restaurant, location on the ground floor of the building. Umbria features authentic dishes from the central Italian district for which it is named. An excellent choice for dinner at a reasonable price and featuring terrific homemade pasta, outstanding individual pizzas and Umbria has a full liquor bar. Make a reservation for 6:00 pm to catch the movie at 8:00 pm.  
  198 2nd Street - Corner of 2nd & Howard Streets. Tel: (415) 546-6985  
  Home Page Site Directory   Screenings Home Page Film Noir Library The Big Chat  
        Sponsered by: