CineSavant Column

Tuesday January 22, 2019


The Noir City Film Festival is cranking up to start unspooling classic noir gold this year; the festival kicks off in San Francisco on January 25 with the Film Noir Foundation’s rescue’n’restoration of Richard Fleischer’s Trapped starring Lloyd Bridges and Barbara Payton. A killer double bill three days into February pairs two pictures that are entirely different experiences on a big screen, Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Hey, I want a Festival poster, which this year riffs on an iconic image from Kiss Me Deadly.

This Friday at Trailers from Hell, producer Jon Davison will be commenting on the trailer of Joe Dante’s Piranha, the wildly overachieving ‘Jaws’ ripoff that got his career into gear. I just saw it again for the first time a few weeks ago and was duly impressed, so will be interested in hearing what Mr. Davison has to say at this remove. Up today to represent TFH’s ‘Monsters from the Ocean Floor’ trailer theme is a trailer for Deep Rising; Wednesday’s coming attraction will be for the deliriously exploitative Humanoids from the Deep.

And a shout out to my Topeka, Kansas based alter ego and co-conspirator in Sergio Leone research, Bill Shaffer. Bill runs film festivals for kids (I attended a Godzilla festival in 2010) and for serious silent movie fans, which is where I think he began a long friendship with the recently-passed actor James Karen.

Just last week Bill came West for the first time to attend Mr. Karen’s memorial gathering; I happily jumped up to give him the six-bit tour of Hollywood and environs, which included a stop at the early Buster Keaton studio, still standing on Eleanor Street. They put up some plaques and a sign commemorating the spot, albeit on the wrong building, but we took advantage for a photo. I hope Bill (Kansas) can return soon.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson