A murder victim who is found with something such as a blanket covering their face or pulled up over their body often reflects a sense of guilt or remorse in the killer.
Albert DeSalvo’s “The Boston Strangler” seventh victim, Patricia Bissette was found lying face up on her bed, her legs together and covered by a bedspread snugly drawn up to her chin. Later DeSalvo said:
“She was different, I didn’t want to see her like that, naked and… She talked to me like a man, she treated me like a man.”
NOIR CITY: Seattle Starts Friday, July 22 at the Egyptian Theatre!
NOIR CITY returns to Seattle July 22 through 28 to a new home at the
historic SIFF Cinema Egyptian with an 18 film lineup, programmed and
hosted by FNF president Eddie Muller, a.k.a. the “Czar of Noir.” The
latest edition of NOIR CITY: Seattle is subtitled “Film Noir: A to B”
and comprises nine double bills that present a chronological excursion
through the classic noir era, with themed pairs of “A” and “B” titles playing together.
The paring includes some seemingly unlikely match-ups, for example, the homo-erotic color noir, Desert Fury and the classic thriller Sorry, Wrong Number
on July 26. What the connection? Legendary costume designer, and winner
of eight Oscars, Edith Head, created the wardrobes for both films. In
addition to the double bill, Seattle author Renee Patrick will be
signing copies of her new novel Design for Dying, in which Head
helps solve a murder in 1930s Hollywood. Here’s a little insider
knowledge, Renee Patrick is a pseudonym for the husband and wife writing
team of Rosemarie and Vince Keenan, long time NOIR CITY e-magazine contributors.
On July 27, the FNF-funded 35mm restoration of Woman on the Run
(1950), a once-lost title recently celebrated at screenings in San
Francisco, Manhattan, Paris, and Bologna, plays with Max Ophüls’
transcendent noir melodrama The Reckless Moment, an excellent adaption of Elisabeth Sanxay Holding’s novel The Blank Wall. The festival will close with another 1950 classic, Joseph H. Lewis’ extraordinary examination of l'amour fou, Gun Crazy. Muller will be on site to sign copies of his latest book, Gun Crazy: The Origin of American Outlaw Cinema, an in-depth examination of the film’s creation and influence. A FNF-funded preservation, Southside 1-1000 follows Gun Crazy.
Presented by the Seattle International Film Festival in partnership with the Film Noir Foundation. Visit SIFF’s website to see the full schedule and to purchase individual tickets and passes.
Based on Robert Sheckley’s 1953 short story the “Seventh Victim"—included in Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley,—Elio Petri's The 10th Victim is a psychedelic trip to the future where civilization’s strategy to end wars is a legalized, cathartic "Big Hunt”, where two strangers are designated “hunter” or “victim” and then have to kill or be killed. Marcello Mastroianni with bleach, cropped hair (it’s the future!) is victim and Ursula Andress with bullet-shooting bra and back-less dresses is the hunter. Need I say more? Scenes not to miss: Andress shooting someone with her bra (in fact, all the outfits); Mastroianni bringing Andress over to his ex-wife’s house, only to be interrupted by both his ex-wife and his current lover; the two of them wrestling in the Roman Forum; and the list goes on. Highly recommended, both the Sheckley book and the movie.
Based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson, this Val Lewton-produced thriller is not as much of a “horror” (or even “unsettling”) film as some of Lewton’s earlier works - Cat People (1942), The Leopard Man (1943), The Seventh Victim (1943), The Curse of the Cat People (1944) - but there are still some elements to enjoy in The Body Snatcher. Boris Karloff has one of the juiciest roles of his career, playing a psychotic cabman in 1830s Edinburgh, spending his free time procuring corpses from the local cemetery for Dr. MacFarlane (Henry Daniell - in a romantic lead, if you can believe it!) to study with his med-school students. Russell Wade plays the bland protagonist, Donald Fettes, who reluctantly works as MacFarlane’s assistant and hates the doc’s method for obtaining human dissection specimens; Edith Atwater plays MacFarlane’s wife; Rita Corday and Sharyn Moffett play a mother and daughter looking for a cure for Moffett’s paralysis; Donna Lee plays an angelic street-singer; an uncredited Mary Gordon plays the grieving mother of a man whose body is eventually stolen from the grave by Karloff. The most interesting supporting role, however, belongs to Bela Lugosi as MacFarlane’s simple-minded servant, Joseph. Lugosi contributes very little to the performance, which the DVD’s commentary suggests was because of his offscreen problems with physical pain and morphine addiction, but there is a good scene with Karloff and Lugosi, the two horror stars squaring off in a showdown in which Lugosi tries to blackmail Karloff regarding the recent grave-robbing. There aren’t too many scares to be had in The Body Snatcher, but any fan of the lead actors (Henry Daniell does a fine job, I should add) or of Val Lewton should check out this title.