Noir in France and Hollywood

The film noir is unique amongst genres in that it was basically a retrospective label – no-one in Hollywood would have consciously made a film noir in the way that they made musicals, Westerns or horror films. The label came from French critics who, starved of Hollywood product during the Second World War, noticed a distinctive group style and made comparisons with the Poetic Realist films of the late 1930s.

In this season we present three French noirs and their Hollywood remakes.

Le jour se lève / Daybreak

Marcel Carné | France | 1939 | 93 minutes

After committing a murder, a man locks himself in his apartment and recollects the events the led him to the killing.

Sunday 17th February 2013 7:00 PM

The Long Night

Anatole Litvak | USA | 1947 | 101 minutes

Police surround the apartment of apparent murderer Joe Adams, who refuses to surrender although escape appears impossible. During the siege, Joe reflects on the circumstances that led him to this situation.

Sunday 24th February 2013 7:00 PM

Le Dernier Tournante

Pierre Chenal | France | 1939 | 90 minutes

The first adaptation of James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Sunday 3rd March 2013 7:00 PM

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Tay Garnett | USA | 1946 | 113 minutes

A married woman and a drifter fall in love, then plot to murder her husband… but even once the deed is done, they must live with the consequences of their actions.

The third adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice, following Luchino Visconti’s Ossessione in 1942.

Sunday 10th March 2013 7:00 PM


Robert Siodmak | France | 1939 | 106 minutes

This was Siodmak’s last European film before he went to the USA, having fled Nazi Germany. It was also one of his best and most atmospheric works – the story of a serial killer who places newspaper advertisements for a companion then murders the women who reply (hence the title Lured, given to Douglas Sirk’s 1946 remake). The Paris police get a dance hostess to act as a decoy when her friend becomes a victim.

Sunday 17th March 2013 7:00 PM

Lured / Personal Column

Douglas Sirk | USA | 1947 | 102 minutes

A serial killer in London is murdering young women whom he meets through the personal columns of newspapers; he announces each of his murders to the police by sending them a cryptic poem. After a dancer disappears, the police enlist an American friend of hers, Sandra Carpenter, to answer advertisements in the personal columns and so lure the killer.

Sunday 24th March 2013 7:00 PM