Noir City: The Big Knockover - Heists, Holdups, and Schemes Gone Awry

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | February 16 - 22, 2017
SIFF and the Film Noir Foundation present the return of Noir City - once again, at the glorious Egyptian! This year's festival, dubbed "The Big Knockover - Heists, Holdups, and Schemes Gone Awry", features an astounding collection of classic and contemporary heist films. All of the films will, of course, be introduced by our guest Eddie Muller, the incomparable Czar of Noir and impresario of Noir City!

Tickets
Festival Passes: $150 | $100 Members

Start off the New Year with an unforgettable cinematic journey led by the amazing Eddie Muller!

 

Charley Varrick

February 19, 2017

USA | 1973 | 111 Minutes | Don Siegel

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!
Meet Charley Varrick (Walter Matthau), Last of the Independents—at one point, the movie's title. Charley's a smart, methodical criminal, so when a robbery at a tiny New Mexico bank nets him way more money than it should, he knows he's in deep. Soon, he's got to outthink the Mafia, outwit his partner, and outrun the cops. This whip-smart underdog story is Don Siegel at his best and includes many members of his colorful stock company: Andy Robinson (Dirty Harry), Sheree North, John Vernon—plus Joe Don Baker memorably playing a hit man named Molly.

Rififi

February 20

France | 1955 | 122 Minutes | Jules Dassin

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
The only word for it: magnifique. So influential the title became international shorthand for heist films. Blacklisted American filmmaker Jules Dassin went to France and, with the encouragement of fellow director Jean-Pierre Melville, a tiny budget, and a novel he didn't even like, crafted a crime drama par excellence. The bravura break-in sequence, running thirty minutes without dialogue or music but with cunning use of ballet slippers and an umbrella, remains a landmark of suspense. Is it the greatest heist film of all-time? Judge for yourself.

Classe Tous Risques

February 20

France | 1960 | 110 Minutes | Claude Sautet

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Abel Davos (the gloriously hangdog Lino Ventura) is a wanted French gangster ready to end his exile in Italy. He sends his family ahead, planning one last job to cover expenses. Only his old cronies aren't thrilled to see him, and his sole ally is an untested kid played by Jean-Paul Belmondo (Breathless). The title means "Consider All Risks," but you're taking no chances with the movie the New York Times called "a missing piece of film history ... a link between the great postwar policiers and the brooding 1960s gangster dramas of Jean-Pierre Melville."

Blue Collar

February 20

USA | 1978 | 114 Minutes | Paul Schrader

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!
Schrader's directorial debut is one of the most politically savvy films of the 1970s—if not ever. Three Detroit autoworkers—Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, and Yaphet Kotto—are so fed up with their jobs they decide to rip off the safe in their own union office. When the robbery doesn't go quite as planned, solidarity is only the first casualty. Pryor is, of course, funny as hell—but he also gives his finest dramatic performance in this seething film that remains as timely and relevant as ever.

Straight Time

February 20

USA | 1978 | 114 Minutes | Ulu Grosbard

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman) starts his parole with small dreams: get a job, maybe meet a woman, but those dreams are destined to be crushed by the system and his own nature, forcing him back into a life of crime. Based on a novel written by Eddie Bunker (Reservoir Dogs) while he was in stir, the tale demonstrates how difficult it can be to leave prison behind, even in the outside world. Hoffman's gritty turn is supported by an amazing cast, including Theresa Russell, M. Emmet Walsh, Harry Dean Stanton, Gary Busey, and Kathy Bates.

Sexy Beast

February 21

United Kingdom | 2000 | 89 Minutes | Jonathan Glazer

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!
The movie that taught the world Ben Kingsley—the man who played Gandhi—could scare the pants off us. Ace safecracker Gal Dove (Ray Winstone) is living the criminal's dream, retired in Spain with his ill-gotten gain and an ex-porn-star wife. Things go dreadfully wrong when his old psychotic pal Don Logan (Kingsley) turns up demanding Gal's assistance in one more job. Celebrated music video director Glazer made a striking feature debut with this stylishly nasty piece of work.

The Aura

February 21

Argentina | 2005 | 134 Minutes | Fabián Bielinsky

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!
The charismatic Ricardo Darín (Nine Queens, The Secret in Their Eyes) plays an epileptic taxidermist who amuses himself by plotting perfect crimes. On a hunting trip, he accidentally kills a man who has set a casino robbery into motion—then steps into the dead man's shoes to live out his fantasy. Reality concocts plot twists even his fevered imagination can't see coming. Argentine director Fabián Bielinsky made only two movies before his death, the exquisite caper Nine Queens and this masterful neo-noir, perhaps the best of the 21st century.

Cash on Demand

February 22

United Kingdom | 1961 | 84 Minutes | Quentin Lawrence

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!
In this stunningly suspenseful noir take on "A Christmas Carol," Peter Cushing (in perhaps the finest performance of his long career) plays a Scrooge-like bank manager caught in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a charming and merciless thief (an equally great André Morell) who's devised a devious plan for a holiday heist. Known mainly for its horror films, this is one of the greatest movies ever produced by Britain's legendary Hammer Films.

Victoria

February 22

Closing Night Film!

Germany | 2015 | 140 Minutes | Sebastian Schipper

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Noir City brings down the curtain for 2017's festival with an audacious thriller filmed on the streets of Berlin in a single epic take. Spanish immigrant Victoria (Laia Costa, in an extraordinary performance) is only looking for a good time when she falls in with four young Germans in the wee hours. Little does she suspect she is about to be dragged into a drug-fueled bank robbery orchestrated by an unforgiving gangster. Armed only with a digital camera and a twelve-page script, director Schipper, camera operator Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, and a driven cast give the audience a night they will never forget.

The Asphalt Jungle

February 16, 2017

Opening Night Film!

USA | 1950 | 112 minutes | John Huston

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Musician Casey MacGill will be doing a special Opening Night show prior to the screening. What better way to kick off Noir City's salute to heist films than with the gold standard of the genre? Wily Doc Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe) gets sprung from the joint and immediately plans a jewelry store job with a can't-miss crew of professionals. There's no perfect crime -- and no perfect criminals -- because each man carries the seeds of his own destruction. Boasting perhaps the greatest ensemble cast ever-Sterling Hayden, Jean Hagen, Louis Calhern, Anthony Caruso, Brad Dexter, Marc Lawrence-and a tempestuous turn that put Marilyn Monroe on the map.

Criss Cross

February 16, 2017

USA | 1949 | 88 Minutes | Robert Siodmak

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!
How bad does Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) have it for his old flame Anna (Yvonne De Carlo)? Bad enough to concoct an armored car robbery as an excuse to keep seeing her. Bad enough to cut a deal with her gangster husband, the always slippery Dan Duryea. Bad enough to see his scheme through to the bitter, bitter end. Siodmak, pound for pound the greatest director of film noir, delivers the pure, uncut stuff here, infusing this classic crime caper with an intoxicating aura of doomed romanticism. Film noir's ultimate expression of amour fou.

Kansas City Confidential

February 17, 2017

USA | 1952 | 99 Minutes | Phil Karlson

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!
Pity poor ex-con Joe Rolfe (John Payne). Trying to walk the straight and narrow, he winds up playing the patsy in a devilishly conceived million-dollar bank robbery. Desperate, he trails the thieves south of the border. There, he tangles with tough guys Neville Brand and Lee Van Cleef, who are as deep in the dark as he is, and falls for good girl Coleen Gray—under the suspicious eye of her cop father (Preston Foster). The first pairing of noir dream team Payne and director Phil Karlson (99 River Street) remains one of the great capers of the 1950s.

Violent Saturday

February 17, 2017

USA | 1955 | 90 Minutes | Richard Fleischer

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
A trio of bandits (Lee Marvin, Stephen McNally, J. Carrol Naish) holes up in an Arizona mining burg, scheming to knock over the bank as the town's oblivious residents go about lives filled with bad habits, bad reputations, and bad romances. Every plotline converges in this one-of-a-kind fusion of pulp fiction and Douglas Sirk-style melodrama, effortlessly balanced by director Fleischer and shot in gorgeously lush Cinemascope. Don't miss your chance to see this small-town powder keg explode on the big screen.

The Ladykillers

February 18, 2017

United Kingdom | 1955 | 91 minutes | Alexander Mackendrick

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Leave it to England's fabled Ealing Studios to produce the greatest comic caper ever made. Criminal mastermind Alec Guinness has the perfect plan for a daring robbery. He's assembled the right team, among them Peter Sellers. He's devised the ideal cover -- he and the lads masquerading as a string quintet. What he can't possibly prepare for is the righteous meddling of their host, Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson). William Rose claimed his script came to him in a dream; under the direction of Mackendrick (Sweet Smell of Success), it plays like one, too. 

The League of Gentlemen

February 18, 2017

United Kingdom | 1960 | 116 Minutes | Basil Dearden

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Time for a proper British heist, what? We meet Lieutenant Colonel Hyde climbing out of a sewer in a tuxedo. Chapped at being cashiered from the service, he's decided to rob a bank using a pulp novel as his manual and a band of stiff-upper-lip miscreants adrift after World War II as his crew. A who's who of beloved U.K. character actors, including Jack Hawkins, Roger Livesey, Richard Attenborough, (and screenwriter Forbes in an acting role), take their marching orders from Ealing Studios veteran Basil Dearden, for whom this was a career high point.

The Killing

February 18, 2017

USA | 1956 | 85 Minutes | Stanley Kubrick

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Ms. Noir City, Greer Sinclair, will be doing a special performance prior to the screening. You'll think you've died and gone to hardboiled heaven. Or is it hell? Kubrick was only 28 when he unleashed this twisty and twisted masterpiece, studded with diamond-hard dialogue courtesy of pulp master Jim Thompson. Sterling Hayden arranges a clockwork racetrack robbery only to learn the hard way what happens to best-laid plans. Kubrick proved his noir bona fides by casting genre stalwarts Elisha Cook Jr., Marie Windsor, Coleen Gray, Ted de Corsia, Jay C. Flippen—and unforgettable wild man Timothy Carey.

Cruel Gun Story

February 18, 2017

Japan | 1964 | 87 Minutes | Takumi Furukawa

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Jô Shishido, the chubby-cheeked superstar of Japanese noir, toplines the crown jewel from Nikkatsu, the studio responsible for the country's best crime films. Smart-mouthed Togawa (Shishido), contentedly doing time for taking vengeance on the man who paralyzed his sister, is sprung from jail by a gangster who wants him to boost 120-million yen from an armored car following the Japan Derby. Only his benefactor isn't telling Togawa everything. The title doesn't lie: there's cruelty and guns galore and a finish that's almost apocalyptic.

Brink's Job, The

February 19, 2017

USA | 1978 | 104 Minutes | William Friedkin

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!
Boston's legendary 1950 Brinks' robbery, in which a gang of thieves made off with more than $2 million, was heralded as "The Crime of the Century"—especially after it went unsolved for years. It inspired several filmic adaptations, none better than Friedkin's playful hybrid of comedy and suspense. As the mastermind, Peter Falk leads an extraordinary cast of characters, including Gena Rowlands, Paul Sorvino, Warren Oates, Peter Boyle, and Allen Garfield. A poignant and beautifully realized period piece, this is one of the director's best—if most neglected—films.

The Sicilian Clan

February 19, 2017

France | 1969 | 122 Minutes | Henri Verneuil

SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Double down on Delon, as the sexy star portrays an escaped fugitive taken in by a Sicilian crime boss (the great Jean Gabin). Delon offers the gang a plan he learned in prison for a daring diamond heist, which they set in motion despite the relentless pursuit of a dogged detective (Lino Ventura). The real pitfall, however, is Delon's play for the boss' sexy daughter-in-law. Gallic testosterone runs amok in this high-flying thriller, enhanced in no small measure by Ennio Morricone's evocative score.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

February 19, 2017

USA | 1974 | 104 Minutes | Joseph Sargent

SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!
The most New York movie ever made, a time capsule of the Big Apple's hellish Fun City days. A quartet of desperadoes led by Robert Shaw's icy soldier of fortune hijacks a subway train loaded with passengers—and only an unlikely duo of transit cops, Walter Matthau and Jerry Stiller, can foil their ingenious ransom scheme. Fierce, funny, and full of fetid atmosphere that hits you like a gust from a passing Lexington Avenue Express. Powered by David Shire's propulsive score and culminating in one of the all-time great closing shots.