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Crowds Flock to Harvard Film Archive’s 'Noir All Night' Movie Marathon

Overnight marathon highlights Harvard Film Archive’s collection.

Lily Tran and Generoso Fierro

September 3, 2013—Armed with coffee and energy bars, Lily Tran and Generoso Fierro were still energized after the first two movies in the Harvard Film Archive’s “Noir All Night” movie marathon on August 30-31. “I love film noir, and I’m trying to learn more about it,” Tran said. “I am definitely in it for the long haul." Seven noir films from the Archive's collection were featured in the 12-hour run. HFA director Haden Guest and programmer David Pendleton worked collaboratively to organize the event.

“The genre was Haden’s idea; he’s a huge film noir fan,” said Pendleton, who has worked for the HFA for seven years. “We thought it was a good idea because these movies can take a serious look at postwar corruption, while also being zippy and easy enough to follow.” He also noted that the variation in plots—from heists to murders to political corruption—make them engaging even when several are watched consecutively.

Guest drew up a tentative list of titles for the marathon, and Pendleton arranged the order. “I wanted to start with one that was better known, then show four rarer films and end with two very popular titles,” he said. “Many of these films have not been screened very often.”

Ira Blackman, an HFA regular, commented that the event had drawn a “great audience” and that Pendleton had done “a great job putting together the lineup.”

Pendleton hopes to organize more of these all-night marathons. “It’s something that used to be popular,” he said. “Besides, I really enjoy staying up all night and watching movies.”

Films shown were:

The Big Combo
Directed by Joseph H. Lewis. With Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Brian Donlevy
US 1955, 35mm, b/w, 86 min

Force of Evil
Directed by Abraham Polonsky. With John Garfield, Thomas Gomez, Marie Windsor
US 1948, 35mm, b/w, 78 min

The Scarf
Directed by E. A. Dupont. With John Ireland, Mercedes McCambridge, Emlyn Williams
US 1951, 35mm, b/w, 82 min

Sudden Fear
Directed by David Miller. With Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame
US 1952, 35mm, b/w, 110 min

The Naked City
Directed by Jules Dassin. With Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart
US 1948, 35mm, b/w, 96 min

Split Second
Directed by Dick Powell. With Stephen McNally, Alexis Smith, Jan Sterling
US 1953, 16mm, b/w, 85 min

Dark Passage
Directed by Delmer Daves. With Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett
US 1947, 35mm, b/w, 106 min

The HFA is one of the largest and most significant university-based motion picture collections in the United States. It also presents an ongoing series of public screenings of classic and contemporary cinema. The HFA is a division of Harvard's Fine Arts Library.